We Found A Fox!

Tracks seen after new snow
by Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator for Vermont State Parks 

Curious, deliberate explorers, foxes live on the edge of forested areas. You can look for their deliberate tracks, straight and true on the edges of fields where the world gets brambly. Hunting for small rodents in the subnivian layer, sometimes you luck out and find a place where a fox has pounced into the snow to grab a tasty mouse to eat.

Snowy weather brings the opportunity to see these stories left by animal tracks. We have enjoyed some good tracking weather in Vermont over the last couple months. As winter temperatures rise and fall, wildlife leave a mark as they search for food on the snowy landscape.

On the edge of the woods at Silver Lake State Park, we found some fox tracks while we were sledding. Red fox tracks show all four toes, and claws in an overall diamond shaped pattern. The fox foot is about 2 inches long, and 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. Red fox feet are very furry in winter, so the tracks they leave are often blurred by this, but the main pad of the foot pad is in a chevron shape.

We followed the tracks backward, to see where the fox had been. Most recreational animal trackers follow tracks backward—heading toward where the animal has been. This method insures that the animal does not become stressed as you approach it from behind, and following tracks backward still tell a wonderful story of animal behavior. If you want to learn about wild animals and their habits, tracking is a great hobby. You can see animal tracks in the snow at any state park, any patch of woods, or open area near you. 

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