Fox News at Turtle Island Headquarters!
By Todd Steiner
A family of gray (or grey) fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) has taken up residence 15 feet from our headquarters in a pile of concrete rubble (to learn why we have this pile, see https://seaturtles.org/newssection/tocaloma-floodplain-restoration/
Every day we are blessed with watching the three kits (baby foxes) sleep in the sun and explore right around us. While they are somewhat weary, they allow us to approach within 15 feet or so to observe and photograph them when they are resting, and when they are out and about they sometimes approach us even closer. In this video https://youtu.be/0bQQPUkk7HI I was sitting outside and one of the kits walked under my chair! Another time, one wandered into our office through an open door!
We know there is at least one adult that we see occasionally bringing food back to the den. Grey fox are monogamous and both parents help to raise the young, but we have never seen two adults at the same time and we fear one may have been hit on the nearby highway, as we found a carcass not far from our office.
Grey fox are the only members of the Canid (dog) family that climb trees, so they are no doubt enjoying the abundance of apples on the trees around the office. Omnivorous, they also eat rodents and rabbits and they are probably also enjoying the many gophers we see regularly.
We expect they will continue to keep us company throughout the summer, as kits stay with their parents before dispersing in Autumn. Gray foxes live 6 to 10 years, so we hope to continue to get to observe these animals for years to come!
These foxes are just another reason why we are so lucky to have our office in West Marin on National Park Service land.