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The Fox Files: Why Red Fox Sightings are a Positive Phenomenon

Expert: There is no reason to panic and no reason to feed the fox.

A fox has even been spotted at a high school football stand in Sayville.
A fox has even been spotted at a high school football stand in Sayville.

One thing many residents between Blue Point and West Sayville seemingly have in common these days, besides loving their communities, is a furry four-legged visitor to their yard, street or neighborhood: the red fox.

As Patch’s map of red fox sightings reveals, the big question may just be who hasn’t seen the species laying in their driveway, sitting on a garage roof, drinking from a backyard pool or lounging on a deck. Over 70 residents shared sighting information for the map’s creation.

The numerous sightings, according to one wild dog expert, isn’t uncommon as many may think and doesn’t present any threat to humans. 

That is as long as residents don’t feed the foxes and don’t start treating them like a neighborhood dog that roams.

“The big thing is not to feed these fox and also not worry about them as a predator. There are no man-eating foxes out there,” Frank Vincenti, who runs the Wild Dogs Foundation, told Patch in a phone interview. 

“You need to enjoy them from a distance. They’re not conducive to interacting with humans and they need to be kept as wild as possible to survive,” he added.

If people feed foxes or begin to treat them like some sort of pet the foxes run the threat of getting conditioned to the human environment and that will hurt their survival capacity and skills, such as hunting, explained Vincenti, who held a talk on red fox and other wild dogs Wednesday night at the Sayville Library. The talk was a success, he noted, with over two dozen attendees interested in the red fox population.

What residents should know is that their yard or barn or garage is part of a red fox’s territory so they will be seen roaming at times. There’s very little danger to household pets such as cats and dogs, added Vincenti.

“Foxes are not these powerful dogs preying on pets,” he noted.

The fact that nearly 80 local residents shared sighting information for Patch’s map is an indicator that the fox species is rebounding after many decades of being in decline, according to Vincenti. Land development as well as diseases, such as Lyme, have hurt the species for many generations, he explained.

“Foxes eat mice which carry the disease, rodents are the primary host for ticks who carry Lyme. So the prevalence of fox, that eat mice and other rodents, is a good thing in terms of keeping the disease down,” he added.

In relation to the many sightings in Sayville, West Sayville, Blue Point and  Bayport, Vincenti noted that one fox could likely be responsible for many of the reports as they roam for food.

“They are very mobile, in some cases one fox could be the same one that many neighbors in an area are seeing as they hunt for hours and can sometimes roam a few miles a day,” he explained.

The one thing many people may not know about foxes is how committed they are once they mate, he added.

“They are monogamous and form a longtime bond once they mate, just like many other dog species,” Vincenti said.

karmar9 September 05, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I have seen red fox in Babylon as well. There is a family down the road from our business in West Babylon & I saw one crossing Montauk Hwy by Bergen Point in Bablylon earlier this spring.

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