12.24.2016

Observing group behavior in Cascade Red Foxes

While monitoring the Crystal Mountain area last winter, we were lucky enough to observe ​5-​6 Cascade red foxes occupying overlapping​ ​home ranges. We ​believe that this fox group is composed of a mother with 2 pups, ​2 yearling foxes, and perhaps the father. With lowland foxes, where more is known, ​it is not uncommon for young from a previous breeding season to continue sharing an area with their parent, where they act as support for pup rearing and security for the den and range. Much about the behavior of ​montane red foxes, though, is ​unknown​ because of the little research that has been conducted on these subspecies. For example, there have only been a handful of mountain red fox dens documented throughout the world, but since the start of this project we have found four of them! Considering ​that ​mountain foxes have evolved​​ separately from lowland foxes for the past 300,000 years leading them to possess unique habitats and diets, we do not yet know how their behaviors compare and differ. Each Cascade red fox behavior we observe contributes to the little knowledge base on mountain foxes and is hugely exciting for us!
This upcoming season we will return to the Crystal Mountain area to continue monitoring its local foxes and their dynamics. 

(c) Anthony Carado
(c) Anthony Carado
(c) Anthony Carado

Complementary to our observations of the family group occupying the Crystal Mountain area, within the Naches Ranger District we monitored a breeding pair that frequented three camera stations from early March to the camera takedowns in late August. In mid August, we detected an additional fox, believed to be a yearling, at two of those camera stations and within the assumed home range of the breeding pair. It's possible that this fox is participating in the same group behavior as the Crystal foxes. Soon we will return to the area to reset cameras, following up on its locals. Below is a video of the Naches pair and a detection of the young fox.


video