Window on the Wild

Fox intense 22 Aug 20

Judging books by their covers, or something like that. They say that eyes are windows into the soul, and there’s a jolt in the raw intensity of a fox. But this one’s apparent mood is misleading; he has diluted pupils due to low light levels, not because he feels as sharp as a cat that has spied its favourite ball.

The fox physique is often misunderstood. Trotting across a road, they seem much bigger than their 14in high selves. And what about their fur? We are taught the fox uniform from childhood: fluffy, sleek, maybe dusted with snow.

Fox in snow

Not at the moment, that’s for certain. The male fox with his intense eyes is sporting the almost skin-tight fur of late summer, although the weather is cooling fast and his sleekness will soon abandon him.

Fox in summer 22 Aug 20

The adaptability of foxes is a multidimensional marvel. Not only can they live from the Arctic circle to Saudi Arabia, and eat everything from earthworms to hackberries to wolf-killed deer, they also react to the seasons in a way that our lives in climate-controlled houses find alien. True, our outdoor clothing thickens as the year grows old, but generally we change our whole outfits at once, not from the toes upward.

Half a moult

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has some of the most extreme seasons on Earth, and this fox – who I met some years ago – has to cope with anything between -50c and +45c. In England, their moults are a little less ragged, but it is still not uncommon for a fox losing its winter coat to be incorrectly suspected of having mange.

Conversely, these perfectly healthy foxes in Croatia (where I worked in 2017) look skinny because the unbearable heat of Dalmatia denies them a thick coat.

For every season, there is a fox, and it wears its own fashion.

32 thoughts on “Window on the Wild

  1. Hi Adele. I don’t always comment, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your blog. Your photos are stunning, and the facts you write about foxes and other creatures are interesting. Love and blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s doing okay, I’d say – foxes are naturally a kind of greyhound shape which is more noticeable in summer, but is particularly exaggerated in hotter climates. Long limbs and ears help them keep cool. British foxes tend to be stocky for the opposite reason!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Foxes are surely one of the flexible designs in nature, in environment as well as weather. I often meet urban people who are confused by the sight of downtown wildlife, but I explain to that the fox, it’s just another new habitat to adapt to, like mountains, deserts or forests.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, it was back in 1980s – 1988 if I am correct – and in region a bit northern than where you were, it’s called Gorski Kotar. But still it was a small and skinny one.
        I’ve heard that recently they introduced lynx to that area, they had to bring it from Romania because native ones were extinct. Better than nothing, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Some years ago, I came across a family of fox kits in southern Sask and even at five weeks, they had the most amazing fluffy coats! And yes, it is one of the places that seems to have about six seasons in a day at times. Love the prairies.

      Liked by 1 person

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