Monday, December 25, 2017

Fox Mange in Winter

I am always amazed at the number of people who think, in the absence of hunting, that wildlife lives long lives that end with soft music and a morphine drip. It doesn't. Ever. 

The average fox is dead before the first year, and almost all are dead by age three, taken by distemper, mange, round worm, heart worm, broken leg, pneumonia, starvation, or some other misadventure. 

In this area, the most obvious signs of disease is mange, which is endemic. Many fox survive spots of  mange, but I think the fox in the top four pictures, taken last night, is in serious trouble, as it's coming into a a season of killing cold with a bare tail and very naked posterior. 

A fox tail is more than a balancing tool for a running fox; it is also the blanket of fur it wraps around itself to stay warm in winter.  A skint tail is a serious problem.

Even if I manage to dose this fox with Ivermectin (sheep drench), it is unlikely to help enough as it takes time for fur to grow back, and serious mange takes more than a single dose of Ivermectin. 

The last picture was also taken last night, and shows what a healthy red fox tail and hind quarters should look like.

No comments: