Fox Frenzy!

Every generation has “fads”.  I still can’t look at a Rubik’s cube without an instant migraine.  “Beanie Babies” induce feelings of extreme guilt.  This year, kids everywhere are trading bracelets created from little rubber bands, similar to rubber bangles I traded with friends when I was a sixth grader, that matched all of my neon eighties outfits {shudder}.   Fads can be fun, especially for kids. Right now, my home is also abuzz with another current craze… it’s “Fox Frenzy”!

Heading to a slumber party in fox shirt, with fox stuffed friend

There’s always some fads that have us parental beings scratching our heads, wondering, “Why?”  Last year, kids were “mustache crazy”.  Mustaches adorned everything from stuffed animals to earrings.  My daughter’s school even had a spirit day where everyone wore drawn-on mustaches, including the principal.  Honestly, I didn’t get it.  I imagine representatives from big corporations sitting around a boardroom table saying, “Okay, what random item can we put on everything this year to torment teachers and melt parents’ credit cards?”

This year, it’s foxes.  Red foxes are everywhere!  Now, my daughter was ahead of this craze.  She declared the fox her “all-time favorite animal” years ago.  She owns enough stuffed animals to sink a large ship! Her room’s a zoo of stuffed friends…raccoons, opossums, snakes, a llama…but her favorite is her fox.  Her stuffed fox traveled  everywhere, even overseas.  Any parent who’s ever flown with a kid knows that little voice inside screaming, “I’d rather lose luggage than the stuffed toy!”

The fox fad is gracing everything, as shown here, next to another trendy item that has resurfaced after many years…the lava lamp!

It’s tradition…we pick  one new ornament each year for our Christmas tree.  I just found this one last weekend.

I know my daughter truly loves her pet cat, when she gracefully accepted dear kitty “adopting” the stuffed fox as hers.  Mittens carries the raggedy toy in her mouth, and “kneads bread” on it daily.  It’s frequently sopping wet with stinky cat saliva. Every night, Mittens is cuddled up with that fox.  (Mittens doesn’t know she’s a cat, but that’s another story). We finally had to “upgrade” Audrey to a larger stuffed fox.

Mittens really L-O-V-E-S her fox. “It’s mine!  All MINE!”

The tween fox craze started a few seasons ago, but  gained momentum recently,  adorning everything everywhere. Foxes have even turned up in pop music.  If you haven’t heard  “What Does A Fox Say?” by the Norwegian duo “Ylvis”,  Google the video.  You must see and hear it for yourself. The first time I saw them on television, I thought it was a joke.  With record-breaking YouTube hits and iTune sales, they aren’t laughing.  My eleven-year-old plays the song every waking moment, and I admit, it’s catchy.  (I’d rather her sing  the innocent lyrics of that than most  songs on the radio these days.  There’s always going to be artists pushing boundaries, but I think many lyrics today have gone too far).

So it was one morning the Ylvis “What Does A Fox Say” song was played over and over (and over…) before the bus arrived.  Inevitably, the song stuck in my head.  Later, my dog was outside  on the deck and began barking wildly. Opening the door, movement caught my eye. Too big to be a squirrel, I saw a bushy tail attached to something rolling around in fallen leaves beneath my bird feeder. It was hard to see at first, as it blended in with the autumn-colored leaves.  I  wondered if I had “fox overload”, that my eyes were playing tricks on me… but there on the ground was a big, fluffy, red fox!

It looked like a playful puppy in the leaves, all red fur and large black ears. I just had to snap a  photo for my daughter!  As I crept down the stairs, the fox took off running behind the shed.  I tried snapping photos, charging to the front of the shed.  Just as the fox was about to cross the rock fence to the woods, it stopped and looked right at me, then turned around.  I did a quick mental count of how many leaps it would take to get safely back to the house, wondering just how I’d explain to my husband that I contracted rabies trying to get a good photo. The fox then ran back behind the shed and climbed up onto a felled tree near the bird feeder.  

What happened next was fascinating.  The fox knew  I was watching, yet didn’t act as if it felt threatened. (I was a very safe distance)!  It didn’t seem sick, but plump and happy.  He scratched his neck, gave himself a bath, then turned three times like a dog before curling up with his back to me,  tail wrapped around  body.  He sat sniffing the wind and watching leaves fall, his stunning red fur shining in the sun.  Every once in a while he’d glance backward to see if I was still there.

“Hey…ya still back there?”

With my dog barking wildly at the window, I wondered if it was a bad sign the fox wasn’t afraid. Speaking with animal control, it was probably healthy, used to seeing humans, and likely “snacking” on chipmunks gathered below the bird feeder (how lovely…a fox buffet). My fox put on quite a show, sunbathing and froliking on the tree for 45 minutes before disappearing into the woods.  I feel lucky to have witnessed it.

Foxes are interesting, beautiful animals.  Quiet and elusive, they’re rarely seen by humans during the day, though found in many countries all over the world. They tend to live near farms and wooded suburbs and usually mate for life. They are dog-like in how they care for their young, but cat-like in their prowess, stalking and pouncing on food as opposed to hunting in packs like wolves. They are capable of climbing trees. Foxes just may be worthy of trendy adoration. (Of course, check back with me this spring when I finally get my chickens!)

So, to answer the question that’s been on everyone’s minds lately, “WHAT DOES A FOX SAY?!?”  Well…not much.  At least the one hanging out at my house wasn’t talking!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Adrienne says:

    How terrific you have a fox nearby and it posed for photos! That means you have a healthy environment where all creatures great and small can survive and thrive. Next year when you have chickens, I hope the fox admires them from a distance and will find other prey for nourishment. Congratulations!

    Hi Adrienne!  I just got baby chicks to incubate inside until Spring.  I hope that Mr. Fox doesn’t think they are for him!  He sure was beautiful, though!  I felt like it was a real privilege to see him.  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  2. Bambi Miller says:

    What a great story! I love foxes too, I have only seen a few. We have a lot of coyotes, I would rather see foxes. Just not in my chicken houses 🙂

    I hear ya, Bambi!  We have coyotes here, too.  I once had a den of babies some years back on my property.  We could here the pups play and whine.  My neighbor had some one evening "hanging out" in the yard and playing some years back.  She was so scared for her chihuahua, but the smart little dog knew to hide under the porch steps until they left.  Through the years we have seen them from time to time.  They howl at night, too, and that sound is unnerving at night.  I’d rather see the fox, too.  Thanks for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Joan says:

    Oh how great that you got to experience the FOX!! This reminds me of when we moved into our new home in ’06, we had fox that lived in our back yard and it isn’t an acreage, but the housing area is on the plains. So one day my 2 grandchildren were here, up for breakfast and what did we see 3 fox, 2 were frolicking and one was sniffing around. They did not feel threatened because we were the only ones there that didn’t have a dog, so here they stayed for about a year, we watched the kits grow and then they were gone. Never found out why but the wild animal people think it was because lack of food in the area, we did not feed them in any way but it was a year of great fun and learning. Like yours, they didn’t seem to care that we had our faces pressed against the bay window, they performed beautifully. Again thanks for the reminder. God Bless

    Hi Joan!  What a great story!  Thanks for sharing.  I am sure your grandkids will never forget their fox sighting.  Sounds like great memories were made.  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  4. Laurie Dimino says:

    Oh Nicole, as usual, another wonderful and interesting post from my suburban farmgirl sister! Here on Long Island we have SO many fox! They seems to have made an appearance over the past 2-3 years. Luckily I have not seen any in or near my yard, since I have chickens, that would NOT be a GOOD thing! In fact my girlfriend who lives about a half mile from me, lost 2 of her hens to a fox over the summer, as did my brother about a year ago. Fox and chickens are not a good combination!
    They are definately neat to see though, as long as it’s not in my " neck of the woods" LOL.
    I am told fox are the top of the food chain here on Long Island, so there is nothing to keep the population down.
    On another note, I am so excited to see that you will be getting Chickens come Spring!!! How exciting for you! Can’t wait to see/ hear all about them!
    Thanks as always for brightening my morning with your post!
    One day ( hopefully soon) we SHALL meet!
    Big hugs,

    Hi Laurie dear!  Sorry to hear your brother and your friend lost chickens to fox.  Hopefully my fox will move on before my chickens are outside this spring.  My neighbors lost a few hens too, but theirs were killed by hawks and coyotes.  Can’t wait until we get to meet, either!  Big hugs from your CT farmsis, Nicole

  5. Brenda says:

    They are great at a distance but I have chickens and in the spring when they have young the male fox hunts closer to home and we have lost a couple of chickens to them. They can clean your coop out fast because they will kill hide and kill again then go back to retrieve from where they hide them. So as excited as we were to see the fox family the first year they made their home at the back of our 10 acres, we now have to watch for them closely in the spring. When they start showing up in the yard we cannot let the hens free range which makes them very loud and angry with us. I hope that it goes well with your future chickens. They are so much fun to have around!

    Brenda, Oh goodness…thank you for the info.  We will definitely need to keep a watchful eye on our flock!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  6. Dinah says:

    Hi Nicole…great blog, as usual. I have seen the red fox roaming our neighborhood as well. If it is the same one, he is huge, with a very big fluffy tail. He shows no fear when he sees me, however runs off when I approach him. We have spotted him at least a dozen times in our front yard and running down the street, usually at night. So beautiful. I had bantam chickens several years ago, and the fox is a big threat…you have to have a very secure home for them. The fresh eggs are so good!! Love ya’

    Hi Dinah!  Isn’t that fox so pretty? But yikes!  I don’t want him to get my chickens! I will have to make the coop like Ft. Knox! Just yesterday the gentleman that lives down the street who walks everyday stopped me and asked if I knew that Sunday a fox was sitting in my driveway!  I guess Mr. Fox has decided to call our neighborhood home! Hugs to all…Nicole

  7. Hurrah for the FOX! 😀

    Have a wonderful day!
    Mimi Foxmorton

    Find us on Facebook at Sisterhood of the Goat

    Hi there, Miss Foxmorton…checked out your Facebook page…love the goats in shirts!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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