Friday, June 06, 2014

Add foxes to the list

Remember the safety briefing about deer, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, hikers, bicyclists, and dogs? Add foxes to the list.

Last Friday, I left work much later than everyone else because I had dealt with so many IT issues, I felt like I wanted to sit down and accomplish something real before the end of my first week.

[Administrivia, setting up a personal computer and gaining access to shared network resources take up a good chunk of time when starting any job. Add the complexity of working in a national supercomputing center and in a department that runs a pretty big development system before rolling out services to the world and you get a window into my last two weeks.]

Besides, we enjoyed a pretty good thunderstorm last Friday and I didn't relish carrying empty cardboard boxes out in the rain.

Imagine my surprise when I walked out the back (loading dock) door and encountered a fox. Perhaps the fox was as startled by me as I was by it.  I hesitated, and decided to slowly walk away, toward my car.  The fox moved away, too.

Then, I wondered about the wisdom of turning my back to a predator and looked back.  It had turned back to look at me, too!  Smart animal.  I'm a predator, too.

My hands were full and I didn't have a camera on me, but the fox I encountered looked very much like the one in this photo from nature photographer, Doug Rodda's Fox page.  Copyright Doug Rodda and used with permission.

As I drove away, I saw the fox had moved back to the original location where we first met.  I wonder what it was waiting for.  Godot?


  1. Anonymous04:18

    What a lovely wild life encounter; foxes are very beautiful. We frequently see them here in the Wasington DC burbs; "your" fox, in the evening, was out and about at normal fox time, probably looking for small rodents, etc. A fox that did not have rabies would be no threat to a human, and certainly turning your back on a fox is not dangerous (maybe you were joking about that?).

    Enjoying your new adventures, altho Iris is much mixed.


  2. We have a whole family of foxes in our half acre of woods, and they are very careful of humans. They are so handsome! I see them all the time, going about their business. Occasionally we'll find just the tail of a squirrel left behind. The tails must be too
    bony and furry to eat. They enjoy snagging bites out of my compost as well.

  3. Anonymous17:53

    Foxes are awesome! There's a startling number of them living in London. When I lived there, every once in a while I'd catch a glimpse of one. They do their part to keep down the vermin population. Occasionally, they get a cat, then everyone gets bent out of shape, but you really should keep your cats inside.

  4. I had a family of foxes leaving near my old place, and was happy to see a couple of them frolicking on the lawn very early one morning in my new home. I'm not sure they are a threat to humans, but I am glad my cats don't go out. Frankly I'm happier with the foxes than the occasional coyote.

  5. Wow, I had no idea foxes were so common in so many places. They certainly are not common in suburban CA so I had been previously puzzled by all the references to them in literature.

    At my past west Pearl street Boulder apartment, we had mountain lions and bears. Those are definitely scarier.

    My current apartment's parking lot entrance has a deer crossing sign. I do see deer regularly on my commute.

  6. Anonymous08:49

    With both of your eyes on the same side of your face, a mouth full of incisors and canines, and a 20-to-one body mass advantage, you are nobody a savvy fox should turn his back on.


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