Jeff Bodnar of Stallion Springs took these photos of a Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) as it wandered on his property. Jeff said that the little fox was hanging around a shed and some empty bird coops, and also was walking around with a neighbor's cat. Jeff adds that the fox was later in the vicinity of Jeff's cat, but did not bother it either.

There are currently 16 different subspecies of Gray Fox in the Americas, with the subspecies in Southern California (U. cinereoargenteus californicus) referred to as a California Gray Fox.

People often remark about the Gray Fox's semi-tame behavior, and they are quite comfortable being around human habitation, as long as they are not threatened. Gray Foxes are more likely to be seen around homes without resident dogs, since larger canids pose a threat to them and coyotes will kill Gray Foxes if they catch them.

Gray Foxes are about the size of a house cat, so cats don't bother them and the foxes don't normally bother cats — local residents have seen their cats placidly watch a Gray Fox eating dry cat food from their outside food dish.

Gray Foxes never produce a long wailing howl like a coyote, and are typically quiet, but they can make a series of sharp, short barks and a kind of cough-like sound. They are truly omnivorous and eat everything from rodents, birds, lizards and invertebrates to manzanita berries, elderberries, etc.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Paiute) Indian word for Gray Fox is wazi, pronounced WAH-zeh.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.