Both red and grey foxes are widely distributed throughout North America. Red foxes are traditionally associated with northern regions of the United States, particularly in upstate New York. Grey foxes, on the other hand, are traditionally associated with areas a bit farther south than New York state, but experts have noted the grey fox’s northward expansion for several decades. Today, grey foxes are well established in all areas of New York, as well as in the far north region of the Adirondack Mountains. Red and grey foxes are both spotted frequently by residents of upstate New York, but the more cold-hardy red fox is being spotted less often than normal due to predation by coyotes. Both of these fox species are spotted near upstate New York homes during the late summer and early fall months.
Red foxes can be recognized by their orange to red-colored coat as well as their black legs and white-tipped tail. Grey foxes possess a grey-colored coat and a black-tipped tail. Red foxes prefer to dwell within open woodlots and areas of farmland while grey foxes are adept at climbing trees within forested areas located near small water bodies, such as swamps, lakes and streams. However, both fox species are habituated to urban and suburban environments, and during August and September, fox pups become independent and strong enough to leave their family in order to explore new locations. Unfortunately, these new locations sometimes turn out to be in residential areas where foxes are found burrowing beneath decks and within sheds. Mating season for these foxes occurs between December and February, and pups are born during March and April. Wildlife experts recommend that upstate New York residents should begin to practice nuisance control programs for foxes during the animal’s breeding season in order to avoid orphaning offspring. Residents should also avoid feeding or attempting to domesticate foxes, as doing so often increases their aggression. Generally foxes are afraid of people and they rarely attack pets, but the animals often carry mange, but rabies is relatively rare in foxes.
Have you ever spotted a grey or red fox on your property?