What is that island fox doing?
On a December trip to Santa Cruz Island several observers documented a number of island foxes busily searching the ground under the eucalyptus trees.
|courtesy of Douglas E. Welch|
|bloom after island fox licked it|
The red gum eucalyptus trees were in bloom. One young island fox stood on its hind legs and pulled down a low branch so it could access the flowers. One at a time, it stuck it's muzzle into the eucalyptus blooms, licking and nibbling them. I've been visiting Santa Cruz for over 10 years. I've never seen this behavior before. - Keri Dearborn
Little beads of sticky sap were on the tables and benches. I touched my finger to the sap and tapped it on my tongue–it was sweet. - Michael Lawshe
One island fox wandered within several feet of me. Each time it found a drop of sweet sap, it would lick it up and make a soft sound, almost like a purr. - Keri Dearborn
On this dry hot day in December, the island foxes were licking up the sweet eucalyptus sap. While this is not known to be a typical behavior, it is another example of the adaptive nature of these unique canines. Typical island fox diet. Island foxes eating toyon berries that same day.