An increase of fox sightings during the day in Virginia spike concern in residents. However, is their concern valid?
There are two types of foxes in Virginia: red foxes (above) and gray foxes (below). According to Melissa Stanley, Executive Director and Founder of the Richmond Wildlife Center, usually, seeing foxes during the day is nothing to be concerned about. The spring season is the time of year where the foxes are out finding food for their kits (they give birth around April), so it is understandable that they may take to hunting during the day.
Other recent reports to the Wildlife Rescue League are from people expressing concern about foxes and their kits living under their porches and decks. According to the Humane Society of the United States, foxes using decks or porches as dens in people’s backyards is nothing to worry about. People are actually encouraged to leave them be. The Wildlife Rescue League wants people to know that having a fox family in your yard is something that should be viewed as a very interesting and rewarding experience. Homeowners of backyards with fox families are able to watch the kits grow up in their very own yard. An experience that most people do not get to see!
Fox kits will eventually leave their dens as they become older and start accompanying their parents out for hunting trips. They generally stay with their parents for about seven months when they are able to hunt on their own and fend for themselves. Fox babies start to explore outside their dens when they are around four weeks old. This is the phase when people can expect to see them playing with each other and exploring. Around 12 weeks of age is when the kits start accompanying their parents out to find food and by 16 weeks of age, they will be able to forage and hunt for food pretty independently. At six months they are almost full-grown and will spend less time with their parents and siblings. They will be more independent with finding food. Soon after this they are ready to go off and live on their own.
As a reminder, foxes are wild animals, and although very gentle and shy creatures, will be protective of their babies, so please be respectful. Watch them from a distance and keep your children, dogs and cats away from the den so that all can enjoy the experience.
About The Author
Virginia Campbell is 15 years old and just completed her freshman year at St. Stephens & St. Agnes School in Alexandria. Virginia has always loved animals and writing so preparing articles for the Nutley News allows her to combine her passions. She hopes to become an animal-rights writer and a wildlife rehabilitator in the future.