Gray Fox Pair?

Help me out, folks.  Do I have a pair of gray fox?  About a week ago my yard was visited by gray fox.  First one came Wednesday, February 24.  Then another the next night, followed by a third the following night.  Here’s three very bad photo taken by my trail cam:

Feb 24

Feb 24

Feb 26

Feb 26

 

Feb 25

Feb 25

So, assuming the February 24 and 26 visitors are the same–and they definitely are gray fox–what about the February 25 visitor?  It appears to have a black tip on the tail.  No black stockings, as well, definitely rules out red fox.  It’s too small to be a coyote.  But, the longer legs make me wonder.  Male gray fox are slightly larger than females.  Also, March is the height of mating season.  So, if I’m really lucky, I might have a mated pair as my visitors!  Gray fox are hard to locate because they are nocturnal and secretive.  I’ll keep a keen outlook, though, and keep you posted with any further developments.

Red Fox, too!

Red fox

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Put the trail cam out again on February 26, 2014, and brought it in today, March 1, to move it to yet another location.  Surprise once again!  This picture shows a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) coming in for a drink of water.  There’s a heated bird bath just in front of the fox, where the black circle is.  This visitor appeared yesterday, February 28, at 3:44 am.  You can tell it’s a red fox, not a gray fox, by the black legs–“stockings” as they’re sometimes called.  Also, the red fox has longer legs than the gray fox, which you can tell by comparing the two images.  Once again, this is an infrared image.

I’m moving the trail cam to the back of the house, where I heard the neighbor’s dog frantically going after something last night, around 11 or so.  I don’t have any windows on that side of the house (faces south), so I missed seeing what all the fuss was about.

Nighttime Visitor

Gray fox

Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

I have a Moultrie trail camera that takes regular images by day (3 megapixels) and infrared images at night (1 megapixel).  I set it out, attached to the back of a chair on the patio, on January 2, 2014, and collected it February 25, 2014.  Some interesting things showed up.  Two different cats passed in and out over several days.  Both belong to the neighbor.  Also, the neighbor’s pot-bellied pig came for a visit.  Only shots of him are from the rear–not especially attractive.  Also, deer appear regularly, but just their heads as they eat the landscaping–an eternal problem where I live.  One really interesting visitor, though, is this gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), who posed February 3 at 4:59 am.  I thought one was around, based on scat I have found on occasion.  Gray foxes like to poop in the middle of a trail–in my case, on two or three occasions in the middle of the driveway.  I have seen a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) on the property, but never a gray–until now.  Four images show only the tail, but this image is the best.  Both red and gray foxes are canids, of course, but they are not as closely related as one might think, belonging to separate genera.  Red foxes have black legs and a white tip on the tail;  gray foxes have no black on the legs and a black tip on the tail.  Gray foxes have slightly curved claws and are able to rotate their forelegs more than red foxes, giving them the ability to climb trees.  They’re usually nocturnal, so are seen much less frequently than red foxes.  Enjoy this handsome fellow–a rare treat to see!