Friday, March 27, 2020
Island fox or human, it can be tricky to get to know someone new right now. A wildlife trap camera on Santa Rose Island captured these images of two island foxes meeting on a pathway.
A quick sniff can tell an island fox a lot about another fox. The female on the left is figuring out if she knows this male. Has she detected his scent before or is he a newcomer to her area? She can evaluate his health and what he's been eating in a sniff.
The two island foxes also communicate to each other through their physical stance. Tail and ears up - she is being friendly. Head down and tail at a medium height, he is letting her take the lead.
Both of these island foxes look healthy and well fed. Notice the female is also wearing a radio-tracking collar. Biological technicians on the islands are monitoring this female island fox. During summer counting, we may learn whether or not this meeting led to pups.
Island foxes know all about epidemic disease. COVID-19 does not impact dogs or island foxes, but other viruses are a serious threat to them. Find out more about the current threat from canine distemper.
Island foxes on Catalina Island survived a catastrophic epidemic from 1998–2000.