Last Updated: 5/24/21
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Foxes and Ponds
On my chicken pages:
Foxes may come to ponds to drink or fish. They usually do not do much damage. As with similar predators, they can be kept from eating fish with fencing, netting over the pond, deep water, a cliff from the ground to the water, and/or lots of hiding plants (mostly plants) for the animals.
We have red foxes that come through our land almost nightly in the warm months. On 3/24/08, foxes dug in to our chicken house and killed two of our chickens. You can read the story here. Other than that, I have not known them to cause problems with the ponds or other animals. The biggest complaint is that they often wake us up when they yelp in the middle of the night.
I have had ponds for 23 years, and I have mostly seen it all but not quite. When I went out to feed the fish their afternoon food on 8/26/19, there was a dead fox in my 153 gallon pond. Once I realized what I was seeing, I went in to the house to get a camera to document it and a pair of disposable gloves to remove her. I pulled her out and determined that she was a female (little vixen) maybe four months old but probably born this spring. She seemed to otherwise be in good health. I pumped her chest a little to see if I could get a response. I don't know how long she was in there but there was no rigor mortis yet. I put her in the back of the property where nature would use what remained of her. She had been coming by in the mornings (and even sometimes mid-day) to eat bird seed below the feeder and cat food from my cat, King Tut's, dish. The pond has a deep end where the fountain is and where she was. Then, there are two marginal plant areas that are shallow. Smaller animals can get up on the pots and also go out an outflow area that I made that's a few inches high (good for newly-morphed frogs and toads). She was just too big to get a footing up in to the marginal areas. She either fell in the deep end or thought maybe she could walk on the fountain and plants. Before this, the largest animals that had drowned in the past were a few songbirds in the big pond which has even more ways for animals to get out.
On 5/16/21, my brother noticed that there was a lot of digging around my shed, only about 15 feet from the chicken houses and runs. I thought the foxes were digging under to kill whatever raccoon, opossum, skunk, etc. might be hiding under there. Then, after he had gone, I saw a fox kit! A vixen had moved her kits to under my shed. She dug a lot of holes and hopefully the shed will not shift as it is just sitting on two by fours. As of 5/24/21, I have seen the vixen and three kits at various times. The dog is presumed dead. On 5/20/21 at 3 am, I was jolted awake by two high powered rifle shots (according to another neighbor I talked to a few days later). I presume the dog was killed then. He had been outside all day for weeks digging up cicadas and having a great time. I have not seen him since. I hate humans who murder animals for no good reason.
Here are two photos of three red fox kits on their den on 4/13/05 on a nearby property (used to grow hay for cattle): kits and kits (same as above photo).
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