In the Spring time, I have received calls from property owners concerned over seeing a red fox walking through their yards. This sighting is quite disconcerting to many people who happen to live in residential area. Let me provide a few facts that may help calm various concerns.
While fox are dangerous to cats and very small dogs, I have not heard of any incidents of fox attacking people in the Massachusetts area. I did find out that some foxes, which tested positive for rabies, have been found aggressive to humans (SEE the article "Fla. Woman Survives Fox Attack".c The Associated Press BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (AP) 4/7/99) (Lady eventually dies as she was elderly and couldn't recover from the stress to her body Associated Press JUNE 19, 1999 "Woman Dies After Fox Attack" >>>>ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP)
. Foxes, like all mammals, can carry rabies so care should be taken to avoid contact with them. However, these threats to humans who took care to avoid foxes have been rare indeed.
The following criteria must be in place in order for box traps to be remotely effective in catching fox:
1. Fox must be regularly seen in and around the house in question
2. Owner must be willing to restrain pets and small children to keep them away from the set box traps.
3. The owner must be patient, as it could take days, even weeks to lure the fox into the trap.
I have heard a report from a gentleman that contacted the USDA ADC. He says the ADC gave these ideas on how to harass fox into leaving the area. Based on the premise that fox have several future den sites already chosen. I would like to warn the reader that fox can bite so be careful before you shine a light down the den etc.
Sarcoptic Mange is a disease caused by mites that burrow into the fox's flesh. The result is the fox loses its hair and eventually freezes to death. Not a pleasant way to die. Mange outbreaks are directly attributable to over population of fox. A healthy trapping season reduces the occurence of this disease. As is typical of animal rights activists, they prefer the fox to die of sarcoptic mange then by a trapper. They mistakenly believe that mange is "natural" and the trapper isn't. Take a close look at the photo at the right (taken by Phil Nichols and used with permission). This fox has the early stages of mange around his nose. Look at the dark lines in the white fur around his nose. One more thing, Sarcoptic mange can be contracted by humans. It is treatable but why go through the bother. You should always wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling all wildlife. You should also have appropriate training in handling wildlife.
(J. David Henry)
This 174 page book is not a trapping manual. It is the work of a researcher who observed wild foxes the old fashioned way - by going out and following them throughout all of the seasons. If you are curious about the intimate details of fox behavior, this book delivers. I find it useful because solving a nuisance problem depends on understanding what the fox is doing, when it is doing it. This book is a learning experience well worth the price.
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