By: Dawn Wilson

Red Fox, Grand Teton National Park

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stops for a portrait in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

This week’s featured animal is the red fox. Winter is my favorite time to photograph fox because they grow gorgeous, thick coats of red hair. But did you know that red fox have other coat colors too? They can also have coats that are black, silver (a black coat with silvery highlights), and a coat referred to as a cross phase, which is a reddish coat with a dark black-brown patch along the animal’s back and shoulders. Here are five more fun facts about this beautiful animal that lives in Estes Valley but can be pretty elusive.

Red Fox, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) peaks out from behind his tail while curled up on a deck on a snowy morning in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

1. You can identify a red fox from other canids, including other fox, by the white tip on its tail. It is the only wild canine with this identification mark.

2. Red fox are primarily nocturnal, one of the reasons they can be difficult to observe.

3. Fox are extremely adaptable, making them widespread in the U. S., living in habitats from the harsh, cold climates of the Alaskan arctic to the warm, humid environment of the Southeast.

Red Fox, RMNP

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stands on a rock and loks back behind her on a sunny morning near Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

4. Fox are one of the fastest mammals on earth, reaching speeds of up to 45 miles an hour for short spurts.

Red Fox, Grand Teton National Park

A cross-color red fox (Vulpes vulpes) walks through a grassy area in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

5. Fox hunt by a technique called “mousing. ” Especially common to see in winter when they have to pounce into the snow for prey, the fox will quietly sit and tilt its head back and forth to listen for prey under the snow or dirt. Once a meal is identified, they will pinpoint the location, stealthily move in a crouched position towards the animal, and then pounce in a graceful arc to pin its prey.

Dawn Wilson is a professional and award-winning nature photographer who lives in Estes Park year-round. You can see more of her work, join one of her Rocky tours, and purchase prints and calendars at DawnWilsonPhotography.com or follow her on Instagram: @dawnwilsonphoto.

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