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Info- Gray Fox

Description
Foxes belong to the dog family, Canidae, and are dog-like in appearance. The gray fox is a medium size animal measuring roughly 3 1/2 feet from nose to tail. It is distinguished from its cousin the red fox by size and color variation. The gray fox is smaller, weighing 7-13 lbs., while the red fox can weigh up to 18lbs. The gray fox has a coarse, salt and pepper gray coat with a buffy underfur. Its tail is long, bushy, and black-tipped with a median black stripe down its length. It has rusty-yellowish coloring on the sides of its neck, backs of ears, legs and feet. In contrast, the red fox is mostly rusty with white underfur and a white tipped tail. They have black legs and feet.

Habitat
Gray foxes tend to be animals of more arid regions. They are found in chaparral, open forests and rimrock country. They often den in hollow trees, logs, and beneath boulders. Ground burrows are also used for birthing sites and for escape holes.

Habits
Gray foxes are chiefly nocturnal and very secretive. Yet they are sometimes seen  hunting or sunning themselves in the early morning hours. Canids are noticeably deficient in tree-climbing ability, however, gray foxes are quite adept at this skill. They climb by clasping the trunk with their front legs and pushing up with the hind legs. Mating occurs in February or March. The female may give birth to up to 7 pups, however four is the average. The pups are dark brown and blind at birth.

Diet
The gray fox feeds on small mammals, insects, fruits, acorns, birds and eggs. Unlike its red cousin, the gray fox rarely invades poultry yards. 

Benefits
The gray fox is considered a beneficial animal by many biologists, ecologists and naturalists. Like most carnivores, they play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to maintain the balance between predator and prey. They are excellent mousers, keeping rodent and small mammal populations in check. Overall, the gray fox is an important contributor to our local ecosystem, and offers rodent control benefits to its human neighbors.

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How to keep foxes away

Foxes do their best to steer clear of humans, but will take refuge under the occasional deck. Like all wildlife, foxes are attracted to food so bring in any dog/cat food from outside. Any animal will come by for an easy meal. Seal off the perimeter of your deck with 1/2 inch wire dug vertically 1 foot and horizontally 1 foot into the ground  so the foxes can not get underneath the deck. (This will also keep out other animals.) If they are climbing over fences or into trees to get into your yard you can install smooth metal six feet above the ground. For fences, attach it directly to the fence to keep them from being able to climb over. For trees,  attach the metal with encircling wires held together with springs to allow for tree growth. 
 Foxes are very peaceful creatures. They focus on hunting small rodents and foraging for anything they can find. They only attack if they are feeling threatened (barked at, cornered, chased), so the best way to live with foxes is to leave them alone. I mean who wouldn't want a few less mice?

A Wildlife Exclusion Service • 403 Mecham Rd, Petaluma 94952 • (707) 992-0276
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