Buoyed by the bear that came out on the trail cam this week, I set out a fresh bait of sardines.
And I got a gray fox on the camera last night.
Gray foxes are actually the last survivors of a lineage of North American dogs that diverged from the rest of the dog family 9 to 10 million years ago.
They aren’t really “foxes” in the same way red foxes, arctic foxes, and swift foxes are.
The gray fox, which I think should just be called Urocyon (their genus name, which means “tailed dog,” a very apt name!), are ecologically like the European wildcat. They live on small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and unlike other dogs, readily to take to the trees to forage for food and avoid predators.
Finding a gray fox here means that I probably won’t be getting any red foxes on the camera. Gray foxes dominate reds, and coyotes eat them. With coyotes and gray foxes in the same area, my guess is that no red fox could live here without constant persecution.