Foxes in the Fort

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Jul 272004
 
Authors: Evan Truesdale

If you have been noticing foxes around Fort Collins in large

numbers recently, you are not alone. The population of foxes, which

are a form of urban wildlife, has been larger than in past

years.

“There has been an increase in the number of calls we’ve been

getting this year regarding foxes,” said Sarah Alexander, director

of wildlife services at the Larimer Humane Society.

Alexander stressed that the fox population, while a possible

“rabies vector species,” is not dangerous.

“We haven’t had any incidents of rabies being transmitted from a

fox in Larimer County,” said Alexander.

There are several key steps that residents can do to discourage

foxes from moving in, or “denning,” on their property: Feeding pets

indoors, keeping grass short, closing the lids on trashcans and not

trying to attract small birds by building ponds and feeding

them.

Developing a complex yard creates areas prime for fox

habitation, Alexander said.

By removing food, water, and shelter, homeowners can reduce the

population of foxes in their neighborhood.

“People need to understand that these animals don’t all live in

the mountains… These animals are urban wild animals, they do live

in our communities and they do live in our cities, and that’s

normal,” Alexander said.

While a fox sighting may be unsettling for some, their presence

may be more beneficial than some might guess.

They keep the rodent population in check said Dr. Terry

Campbell, the section chief of zoological medicine at the CSU

Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“You very rarely hear that a person is bitten by a fox,” said

Campbell. “I don’t see any real concern of having fox around.”

Campbell said foxes “are more of a threat to domestics pets,

rather than people.”

The presence of the foxes may be due in part to the destruction

of their natural habitats in nature, according to Campbell. Because

of their highly adaptable nature, the urban fox population

continues to thrive in Larimer County.

“You can get pretty close to them, I have them in my

neighborhood. I like to watch them go into my neighbors garage to

feast on their cat food,” Campbell said.

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