Fox Tracks in my Alberta Yard

Suburban foxes are not simply tame towards men. They are also damn supercilious. One pads amongst the azaleas in our garden at night, staring through the lounge windows to watch the News at Ten.
– Richard Gordon –

AlbertaTracks in the snow – an animal telling a story – if the photographer can figure out who left them. I found these tracks in late February, but I didn’t discover who the owner was until this past week-end. Now I think they belong to the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes. See the four toes with the claw marks on top of two of the toes? The heel pad is the triangular shaped part on the right side of the print. Research says this is likely a fox track. (But it could be a dog or coyote track – I’m not an expert on this!)

You might remember that two week-ends ago we had a Coyote inside our yard (Flat Stanley goes to the Zoo.) This past week-end, it was a Red Fox.

AlbertaFoxes are primarily nocturnal, which is why we see them so rarely. However, early this past Saturday morning we saw a single fox sprinting across our yard. When it got to the frozen black dirt of the vegetable garden, it was met by a second fox. They rolled in the dirt for a brief minute, then as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone. The next morning, a single fox repeated the same behaviour – across the yard at a gallop, a quick loop through the garden, and then it was gone. A single fox passed by the fence on the third morning, but this time it didn’t come in the yard.  I checked the clock – 7:20 AM.

Clearly there is a hole in the fence somewhere! It didn’t take too long to find it. The breach is well hidden with a hedge on one side of the fence and spruce trees on the other – a perfect private portal into the Gardeners Yard.

Now what? Do we plug the hole or not? We’ll have to think carefully about the pros and cons of coyotes and foxes inside the yard!

28 thoughts on “Fox Tracks in my Alberta Yard

  1. I have been seeing a black fox here lately. They are cute but I can see the advantages and disadvantages that might result. Nice shot of the fox on the run 🙂


    1. The black fox must be beautiful!. I was hoping I would get as clear a photo of the Fox as I did of the coyote. Unfortunately the fox arrives much earlier in the morning and the light isn’t great!


  2. Hi,
    By the photo of the fox he looks very healthy, they are a beautiful looking animal, I know they can be a nuisance though, I assume a bit like our dingoes.
    It is amazing how the fox’s will find their way in, the hole looks only small, but they obviously manage to get under it without any problems.


    1. Both the fox and the coyote had nice looking coats. The coyotes can be a nuisance in that they often gather by the back fence at night and start to howl. Makes your hair stand on end!


    1. Good question Lorna, especially since I didn’t actually see the animal that left the tracks! Apparently cats don’t normally leave claw marks, and their prints are often a bit wider than they are long. Dog, coyote and fox tracks can all be fairly similar, however, so I can’t say for sure which animal left the track. My guess that it is a fox is based on size, gait and location in the yard.


    1. I’ve never seen a bobcat in the wild. I think I’d be more nervous of a bobcat than I would be of a fox or coyote.


  3. Loved this post! We are meeting foxes in our garden too. Have heard the strangest cries in the dark lately and when I looked up “Sounds of foxes”, sure enough that’s what it was! Sometimes they even sound like a woman screaming. Amazing.


  4. Love the photo of the fox and the tracks. I am always curious who leaves tracks when I am out walking. I get fox, deer and other wildlife that venture close to the house but the naturally smart critters usually steer clear of humans. Oh, that they leave their tracks as a gentle calling yard. How else could I know my friends came by.

    Good info.


    1. I’ve started to take better photos of tracks, and over time I should get better at identifying the owners. Tracks are almost as exciting as seeing the animal!


  5. We have the red foxes in our yard so often. Love the photo you captured of him and enjoyed someone’s comment above about the fox trot ball. That kind of imagination is endearing!


  6. I once saw a fox as I sat right at this computer. I face an upstairs window that looks out on the woods that come down almost to our back door. So I opened the window and yelled out: “Come back later– the TV news won’t be on for another coupla hours!!” : )

    Wonderful photos, Margie– that one of the red fox traipsing across the backyard is especially cool!


    1. I’ve been checking the garden, and though it is still frozen, the fox is excavating it in search of the kitchen scraps I dug in last fall. I think I will have to mend the hole in the fence after all and put an end to the fox in my backyard.


  7. In our previous house we used to see foxes nearly always at night. Both my dogs are spaniels and one of them has a tremendous sense of smell. The other one has amazing hearing but is useless at sniffing things out. Many a night, walking the dogs along the lane, the sniffer would sense a fox was around before seeing it and down would go the nose and we’d set off on a crazy winding path as we followed the scent.


    1. When we lived in the UK, a fox came through our back yard every night. The back porch light was on a motion sensor, so we always knew when the fox was in the yard.


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