Mostly Trapping

Town becoming a very foxy community
Jan 13, 2020 08:12 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

According to local residents, Arkansas City has become a very foxy community.

Red foxes normally seen in more rural or suburban settings have been spotted seemingly all over town. One person posted a sighting to social media recently, and multiple similar stories followed.

Local resident Karla Knight said she saw two of the small animals in Wilson Park on Wednesday.

“I turned west on Birch and saw one fox by the children’s swing set,” she said. “It took off running and then the other fox showed up.”

Knight said she saw both foxes again on Thursday in Jefferson Park. She said the animals appeared to be minding their own business.

Sightings also have been reported near several fast-food restaurants, including the Sonic, Wendy’s and the Donut Palace. The animals have been spotted near the high school, middle school and the college sports complex on South Summit Street.

Based on the Arkansas City Asked and Answered Facebook page, the small animals have been observed in more than 15 areas of town.

But according to Matt Peek, a furbearer biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, there is no cause for alarm.

Peek said red foxes are more likely to be found living inside communities around the state than in rural areas because they can avoid contact with the coyotes that hunt them.

“There is no one doing them harm in the towns and it turns out there is plenty to eat,” he said. “Pet food, rabbits, rodents and things they would naturally eat in the wild are also found in abundance in the city, so they make a pretty good living.”

Heather Meek said she saw a fox near Eighth Street and Chestnut Avenue and another near the Subway restaurant on South Summit Street.

“It was carrying a squirrel in its mouth,” she said.

Kristie Jordan Smith said she watched a fox stroll down a sidewalk on Radio Lane.

“I just watched him trot away with not a care in the world,” she said. “He was on a mission.”

Peek said the animals also like birdseed and will go after the seeds that spill out of bird feeders. The small predators are not a threat to either humans or most pets, he added. An adult fox only weighs about 10 pounds and would only pose a threat to very small pets.

The foxes are fluffy and appear larger than they really are.

Peek strongly advised against feeding the animals or leaving pet food where it could be reached.

“Somebody else is going to be worried about them getting too close to their kids,” he said. “Then a controversy comes about as to whether they should be removed.”

The National Humane Society website states that it is not unusual to see the small foxes during the daytime because much of their prey is non-nocturnal.

But unusual behaviors such as staggering, being aggressive or even acting unnaturally tame could be an indication of rabies.

Residents are advised to avoid such an animal and contact the local animal control agency.