This is the first fox that I have seen in the Far North Bicentennial Park in Anchorage. The interesting piece to the encounter is the fox at one point moved within approximately 10 feet of myself and another snow biker. The fox stood fearless as we approached and passed by. It also looked a bit surly.
Comments by LEO Editors:
The Red fox is identifiable by its reddish coat, white-tipped tail and black "stockings" on their legs. Different color phases can occur and litters can display different color variations (i.e. red, cross, silver, black). They dig and live in 15-20 foot dens (unless they take the abandoned den of a wolf) and have their pups there. They breed roughly during February and March. Their diet is omnivorous and includes muskrats, squirrels, hares, birds, eggs, insects, vegetation, and carrion, and voles (Alaska Department of Fish and Game). Here is a link to the ADFG wildlife encounter reporter, which connects the public with the folks such as biologists and wildlife vets in ADFG.
They can be found around North America and Alaska, but is rarely found in the islands of Southeast Alaska, the Western Aleutians, and Prince William Sound. Foxes have a natural fear of people, they will usually run away from you as soon as they detect your presence. If not, the fox has probably learned to associate people with food (likely because someone has been feeding them), and may exhibit a boldness or even approach you. These foxes can easily be scared away by making loud noises such as yelling or blowing whistles. In 2019, LEO Member Ginger Bear observed a huge boom in the fox population in King Cove, stating:
"Foxes everywhere! It’s a bit because people are feeding them, and they’re getting into the dumpster now too. But I’ve never seen them like this before. I’ve actually never seen them getting into our dumpsters like this before, or so abundant."
According to Wildlife Online, fox populations aren’t uniform; instead they vary according to the hospitality of the local environment. It might explain the unusual location of the surly fox and why it felt comfortable enough to come up to you, possibly looking for food.
On April 1st, the Nome Nugget published a story reporting a rabies epidemic circulating the dog and fox populations in Nome and surrounding areas. In humans contraction mainly comes from household pets, such a dogs, who come into contact with wild animals. Vaccinating your dogs/pets is important to ensuring the safety of your household. LEO has received a number of recent posts about fox and lynx encounters, all of which are linked in the Related Posts tab. In rural Alaska, you get learn about rabies vaccination options through your regional tribal health organization, environmental health department.