Our Furtive Foxy Friend

“A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.”
Ruth Brown

 

The Fox

The North American Red Fox aka the Vulpes vulpes

Around dusk this past evening, I was on my walk and saw what appeared to be a fox. We have lots of coyotes roaming the city, but a fox? I must have been mistaken.

It piqued my curiosity, so I did a little research about the fox. I found out some interesting facts about foxes on a California website.

The fox, the smallest member of the dog family, is a highly adaptable species that inhabits mostly forest, chaparral, and desert regions, but can be found in nearly all habitats. There are three types of fox common to Southern California, including the Gray Fox, Red Fox, and Island Fox. The Southern California Kit Fox, a subspecies of Kit Fox, died out in Southern California in 1903.

Foxes are more solitary in their habits than are others in the dog family. They are territorial and can be aggressive, especially during the breeding season. Their once-a-year breeding season corresponds with the availability of food.

Despite the fact that urban foxes use human buildings for shelter and human refuse for food, their contact with humans is quite limited. Most people who live in an urban area have never seen a fox in the city. Foxes keep a nocturnal schedule, and in the nighttime are often mistaken for dogs when they are seen.

Red Foxes, the most commonly recognized fox, are known for their cleverness and have the largest range in North America. Although they are close relatives of the Gray Fox, they are considerably larger, normally ranging in size from ten to fifteen pounds. Their coats may be reddish or gray or even black, but their legs and feet are always black. The tail is tipped with white.

In California there are two populations of Red Fox- the native Sierra Nevada Red Fox, a threatened species found only in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, and the more common, non-native Red Fox. Non-native Red Foxes were introduced decades ago for fox hunting and fur farming. Over time, these foxes escaped or were released. Their populations have grown and gradually spread. Currently, they have been spotted throughout the lowland areas of California including the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, San Francisco Bay-Delta area, the Southern California Coast Range and Coastal Plain and in most major urban areas.

Socially, the fox communicates with body language and a variety of vocalizations. Its vocal range is quite large and its noises vary from a distinctive three-yip “lost call” to a shriek reminiscent of a human scream. It also communicates with scent, marking food and territorial boundary lines with urine and feces.

Now after reading about the fox, I’m positive it was a fox that I saw. I know it wasn’t a dog, because it had all the mannerisms of a fox.  Plus, when the fox saw me, it gave me that look that only can be given by our furtive foxy friend.

Shine On

Respect For One Another

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Respect For One Another

Animals unlike man, kill not from hatred or pleasure, but for their survival. Man has always believed that there are certain animals that are enemies by nature.

However, when I saw this photo of a one year old cheetah with her canine friend, it touched my heart. How did these two unlikely animals become inseparable?

Their story began last year when eight cheetah cubs were born in captivity at the Leo Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Connecticut. Unfortunately, three of the cubs were cast out by their mother because she was unable to nurse eight cubs. Two of the male cubs bonded which left the female all alone. It was up to the staff at the center to nurse the outcast cub back to health.

It was important for the survival of the female cub to bond with another cub or animal. So, the center searched for an animal.  When they introduced Adaeze the cheetah cub to Odie, a 7-year-old dog, the two animals bonded instantly.

Whatever the reason for this bonding of two enemies of the animal kingdom, it just goes to show us humans that even our enemies can become our allies. All it takes is for us to learn to have a mutual respect for one another.

Shine On

Peek-A-Boo

You cannot share your life with a dog, or a cat, and
not know perfectly well that animals
have personalities and minds and feelings.”

Jane Goodall

Peek A Boo

When a two-year old child plays peek-a-boo for the first time, it’s usually the first game they learn from their parents. But who would ever believe that a two-year old child could teach and play this children’s game with a baby gorilla.

Watch how a little boy at the Columbus Zoo actually tires out the baby gorilla playing a simple game of peek-a-boo.

Shine On

The Eye of The Beholder

“Since we cannot change reality,
let us change the eyes which see reality.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

When you look into someone’s eyes or an animals eyes, what do you see? We are now able to know if the eyes are from a flight or fight species.

A scientific study recently analyzed the eyes of 214 species of land animals. What they discovered is that pupil shapes are directly linked to an animal’s ecological niche.

For instance, animals with pupils that are vertically elongated, like domestic cats and gators, are more likely to be ambush predators – hunters active day and night who use stealth, not strength or speed, to overcome their prey.

Animals with horizontally elongated pupils, such as goats and sheep are herbivore prey animals, the researchers found. Circular pupils, found in humans and birds, provide good all-around vision and are linked to animals that chase down their prey.

Species that are active both night and day with slit pupils provide the range they need to help them see in dim light yet not get blinded by the midday sun.

In fact the sideways orientation which the horse has, is very important for his survival when he is grazing. When he drops his head to graze, its pupils rotate (in opposite directions) by up to 70 degrees to stay horizontal, the researchers found.

While prey animals need to be able to see all around them, predators need binocular vision to see how far away their prey is. Vertical-slit pupils maximize binocular disparity, and blur, in which objects at different distances are out of focus, the scientists found.

But not all predators have vertical pupils.

What is surprising is that the researches noticed from their study that the slit pupils were linked to predators that were close to the ground. Domestic cats have vertical slits, but bigger cats, like tigers and lions, don’t. Their pupils are round, like humans and dogs.

This amazing research teaches us how remarkable the eye and vision can be for us as well as all of nature. Who knows, maybe in the not too distant future we will be able to simulate and see through the eye of the beholder.

Shine On

Seal Day 2015

“Each and every animal on earth
has as much right
to be here as you and me.”
Anthony D. Williams


Seal Day

Plan to attend this fundraiser tomorrow with all my donations from their “Wish List”. Hopefully, we won’t be rained out and I’ll have some great photos to share on my post tomorrow.

Shine On