8×8″ Pastel Drawing by Jamie Wilke
The red fox was an easy choice for me to paint as the first subject in my “Colorado Wildlife” series. I’ve always appreciated the beauty of the red fox, and this majestic animal reminds me of when I first moved to Palmer Lake – a small foothills town between Denver and Colorado Springs.
After we bought our house in Palmer Lake, in the early mornings I would sometimes see three foxes in my yard at one time. They were marking their territory on my newly planted flowers. At first I wanted to chase them away, but then my anger turned into wonder as I got to watch these incredible animals prance around my yard.
The foxes would hunt for the mice that made their home in the large temporary wood pile created from our recently dismantled deck. On a few lucky (or unlucky) occasions I witnessed a rabbit being chased by a fox at high speeds across the driveway. We would also see kit foxes play in the culverts under our street.
The Red Fox – A True Colorado Native
The red fox is native to the Rocky Mountains and central Colorado. Its natural habit is in the mountains and plains. A red fox always has a white-tipped tail. These foxes live an average of 3-4 years in the wild, and they can run at speeds around 30 miles per hour! Their natural predators include mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, great-horned owls. Mange, rabies, and interactions with humans are also sources of their death.
Please don’t feed the wild foxes, as this will inhibit their natural survival skills of hunting for food and protecting their young from predators. You can learn more about red foxes (and see a cool video of fox pups!) at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
Fox fur farms were popular north of Colorado Springs in the mid 1900s, so the fox species have intermixed. Studies are being done to determine where the truly native foxes and the farm-raised foxes currently live. If you see a fox, you can report when and where you saw it here to help the study: http://ifoundafox.org.