Fox Versus Raccoon

Photo by Mary Holland

While observing the antics of a litter of red fox kits, I witnessed an encounter between the kits’ mother and a very large raccoon. The vixen started barking incessantly when she saw the raccoon, and slowly moved closer and closer until she was within 10 feet of it. (The male wanted no part of the fight – that’s him in the upper left corner.) After a short standoff, the raccoon lunged toward the fox, which ran a few feet away and then turned and chased the raccoon in the opposite direction. They took turns chasing each other until the fox eventually drove the raccoon away from her den and kits. While raccoons are omnivores, and a large part of their late-spring diet is animals – mainly frogs, fish, crayfish, and invertebrates, but also mammals, including squirrels, rabbits, and young muskrats – I have never heard of raccoons preying on fox kits. But the mother fox’s behavior indicated that she was not comfortable with the raccoon being so close to her litter. The following day, I noticed that the nose of the runt of the litter had been bitten multiple times. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not.

 
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