Natural Sightings #657 - Gray Fox.jpg

This Gray Fox is up in a Blue Oak tree in Golden Hills. This appears to be a mother fox.

Cheryl Harris took this photo of a Gray Fox up in a Blue Oak tree in Golden Hills outside the home of Chris and Carol Rush.

A Gray Fox raised a litter of kits underneath a shed at the Rushes, and this appears to be the mother fox.

Gray Foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) are small predators that can be found throughout the Tehachapi Mountains, particularly in and around oak woodlands. They are naturally fairly docile, and are often photographed around homes, doing things like sleeping on decks, drinking from a birdbath, etc.

Gray Foxes have hooked claws that enable them to climb trees like this oak tree, which they do to avoid larger canines like Coyotes and Red Foxes, which will kill the much smaller Gray Foxes.

Because they have a tawny fawn color behind their ears, chest, legs, etc., Gray Foxes are often mistaken for Red Foxes. They are easy to distinguish if you know what to look for, however. Gray Foxes have a black stripe that runs down their tail, ending with a black tip on their bushy tail.

Red Foxes, in contrast, have a white tip on their tail, and an overall much more reddish appearance. As their name suggests, Gray Foxes are more gray overall, despite their fawn-colored highlights.

Gray Foxes eat rodents and small mammals, but also consume fruits and invertebrates.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Southern Paiute) word for fox is wazi, pronounced waz-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.