Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Fox Unseen

Decaying fox scat, with deer hair clearly visible at right.  Click to enlarge.

In winter, animal dung is much slower to decay, and can give an observant person some indication of what is about, and where it might be headed.

Fox scat is easily identified, as it is pointed on both ends and almost always has hair in it -- mostly mice or rat, but perhaps a small rabbit, a bit of roadkill, game bird, or gut shot deer as well. It is hunting season, and unrecovered animals are important sources of food for fox in these winter months.

A road kill deer pushed into a ditch by the side of the road, or a gut-shot deer up in the weeds at the edge of a field, will not rot once cold weather sets in, and these flesh dumps will draw in feeding fox. Fox will often park themselves in nearby groundhog holes, especially if they are startled by approaching dogs, or are waiting out bad weather before returning to the carcass for a feed.

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