One of the unexpected surprises we experienced during our latest trip to Churchill was a siting of a red fox. With its reddish brown coat, it was a delightful spot of color on the snow-covered tundra landscape.
The red fox is the largest of the Vulpes species. Adults range from 1-1/2 to 2 feet in length and can weigh as much as 30 pounds. They are solitary animals and don’t live in packs like wolves. There are times when their ranges overlap, but they usually defend their own defined territory.
Red foxes are omnivores. Their diet includes birds, small mammals, fruits, berries, grasses, and even insects. They will hunt even when they aren’t hungry and store extra food in caches. How a red fox hunts mice under the snow is quite unique, and we were lucky enough to watch this beautiful animal in action! First, it stopped motionless, listening and watching. Every now and then it would tip its head from side to side, attempting to pinpoint the exact location of its prey. Then it pounced straight up in the air! (Leaps such as this can be as high as 6 feet.)
It dove straight down, with its front legs straight out and head going into the ground to pin a mouse, buried beneath the snow. I was able to catch this hunting fox in a terrific upside-down pose as it hit the earth! It looked like it was a female, LOL.
The fox made several attempts and came up empty-handed each time. Drat! After a few minutes, it decided to scurry on to other hunting grounds.
Here’s a digital crop that showcases the beauty of this animal.