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On this page, I'll answer an "Interesting Wildlife Question of the Month" submitted by visitors to this Web Site.

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Warner Shedd



Illustration of Moose by Trudy Nicholson
from Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind

Question.

A visitor to my web site heard that foxes can climb trees, and asked if this was just another myth. This person had read the chapter on foxes in Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind and didn't find the answer to this question so here it is. No, it isn't a myth that foxes can climb trees, but it depends almost entirely on the species of fox. The chapter on foxes in my book was specifically about the red fox (Vulpes fulva). Red foxes aren't normally tree climbers, although one might occasionally walk or run up a tree that leans at a considerable angle. The reason that this chapter said nothing about foxes in this regard is that red foxes so rarely climb trees. The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), on the other hand, is well known for its ability to climb trees, especially when it's chased by enemies. These rather common little foxes are seldom seen. Unlike the red fox, which frequents open fields and brushy edges, and often shows itself during daylight hours, the gray fox is almost entirely nocturnal and spends its time in the woods; for these reasons, it's seldom seen. Smaller and lighter than their red cousins, gray foxes are reasonably adept at climbing trees, and frequently do so.

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