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Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Have you figured out the answer to our mystery woodland creature post yet? Do you give up? Well, that little mammal that was sitting behind all the brush is in fact a Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)! Although the Gray and Red Fox share the same family and some similar colorations, there are several distinct differences that separate these relatives. For starters, Gray Fox are called gray for a reason. Their coat is short and the fur down their back and tail are dark gray, ending with black at the tip of the tail. Compared to the Red Fox, and many other North American canids, Gray Fox are equipped with curved claws and have the ability to rotate their forearms in order to grasp hold of a tree trunk and climb it. Gray Fox often use this adaptation to evade capture from a pursuing predator or while in search of a safe place to rest. Additionally, Red Fox are often found in open spaces such as old farm fields or forest edges whereas gray fox typically prefer deciduous forests, brushy areas or rocky outcrops. This particular individual was seen walking through the dogwood brush near the edge of the forest line at RTPI. It looked like it had gotten itself a meal of possibly a squirrel or large bird. Even the edge of the city can provide habitat for some pretty spectacular wildlife! What wildlife have you been watching in your backyard?

Gray Fox (5)

Elyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician