Thursday, December 5, 2013

Flight of the fox

It was a cool fall day out in the hills. The leaves were just turning that amber color that screams autumn. I had my backpack on and my dog by my side. Everything seemed perfectly in place, the birds above me migrating south before the frost came, the chipmunks were rushing to get ready for the hard winter ahead, and deer didn’t quite seem all there. They had that dazed look in their eyes as they always do. None the less, it was a magical morning just as the sun was rising. I had always been one to get up early to experience the mysterious wonder that nature holds tight with a grip that could only be broken with a trip in the wilderness. This particular morning was a strange one though, something seem off. My dog wasn’t running off to find trouble. Everything was slightly out of place.

Then, out of the corner of my eyes I saw a flash of red. I immediately grab the collar of my dog to prevent a wild chase from happening. The scarlet blur turn out to be a fox. Fairly common here in Montana, but it was sure a sight to see. The way its tail would swing as it trotted up the neighboring hill. I noticed the similarities with my red heeler as it would turn to look back at us. I headed back home to give the animal some space.

Back home I decided to look up the creature on the internet. Weeding through the multiple videos of What does the Fox say? I finally found some good information.According to, the fox is the largest of the fox family. It weighs up to 24 lbs, and its lifespan is roughly 2 to 4 years. It has a thick tail that aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes. This was a great day for adventuring. We usually scare any sort of animal away from us as we walk due to all the noise we make.

Submitted by Wyatt Iverson
Summer Naturalist in Training 2012 and 2013

Volunteer with the Leadership Institute for Nature, Kids, and Stewardship