At this time of year, when spring comes around and the flowers and trees start to bloom, the DEC receives calls about fox sightings around rural and suburban areas.
The Red Fox is small furbearer about 10 – 12 lbs.- (The size of a house cat) and during the spring they seek out den sites in order to raise their young (called “kits”). These den sites happen to sometimes be in less-than-ideal locations occasionally, including under porches and sheds. So, what should you do if this happens? The DEC has some recommendations:
- You can do nothing, enjoy the company and wait for the foxes to leave their dens come the end of June.
- You can scare the foxes away with loud noises made near the den, in order to convince the parents to move their kits to a new den. The Red Fox typically has more then one den and if they perceive a threat, they will change locations.
- Remove artificial food sources, feed pets indoors, and secure garbage or compost.
- Exclude the foxes and kits by erecting a fence around your yard, blocking holes, and sealing off areas where a fox may want to build a den.
Observing a fox during the daytime is okay, especially during the spring and summer and it is a sign of a healthy animal just trying to provide food for its young. A kit observed during the day does not automatically mean it has been abandoned, as their parents leave them in the safety of the den while they are out hunting for food, sometimes for hours at a time. Foxes don’t often attack house pets or children either, (unless they are rabid) and their diet consists of small mammals like mice, squirrels, and rabbits.
If you happen to come across an animal that is sick or diseased, email the DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn what to do if you come across an animal with rabies, check out: NYS Department of Health rabies webpage.