Even I don't always agree with my opinion


What Does The Fox Say?

Posted August 17, 2014 by jim young in Science

The fox went out on a chilly night, he prayed to the Moon to give him light… – Traditional Folk Song

Meet Dien.

Dien is a regular visitor to our country home whenever we are there and likes to stop by to join us for dinner.

His dinner.

After feasting on our leftovers, when he has been well fed, Dien likes to take a “doggy bag” home for his family to enjoy. Just like it says in the song.

And we are only too happy to oblige Dien with whatever table scraps we have left over from our dinner.

Dien prefers us to keep our distance.

Dien prefers us to keep our distance.

Sometimes we purposely make more dinner than we know we will consume just to ensure there will be sufficient table scraps to share with Dien.

I suspect Dien is somewhat of a celebrity among the fellow creatures he shares the forest with as they enthusiastically announce Dien’s arrival whenever he drops by.

The squirrels chatter persistently and the blue jays and other birds squawk excitedly paying homage to Dien, as he prances into our yard adorned in his orange-red coat, black boots and white tipped tail waving proudly like a flag in a convoy of one.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Dien’s tail for it is the fox’s tail that, next to bees, pollinate the greatest number of wildflowers that grow in the nearby meadows and along the edges of our property.

Dien is friendly enough, so long as we don’t attempt to venture too close. He likes his space and we’re happy to respect that.

It’s not likely I’ll ever be able to earn Dien’s trust to the point of seeing him secure enough to jump up in my lap for a treat as the chipmunks that live on our property are sometimes wont to do.

But that’s okay.

It’s important to recognize and respect the cultural differences of all of our furry and feathered friends and accept them for what they are.

Like his cousin the wolf (often referred to as the “Big Bad Wolf”), the fox remains a misunderstood and misaligned creature.

Yes the fox can be a pest for farmers but there are no hen houses nearby that I am aware of so Dien’s presence is pretty benign for the most part.

Family and friends upon learning we have befriended Dien and encourage his visits are quick to warn us of the dangers of rabies.

One should always be prudent when interacting with any wild animals of the potential of contracting any disease and especially rabies.

But what is unknown to many people is that the risk of rabies from the fox is very low.

During the late 50s and early 60s, rabies in foxes in Ontario became epidemic and this association with rabies and the fox seems to have stuck in everyone’s mind.

The Ministry of Natural Resource’s campaign to reduce the incidence of rabies in the fox, which began in 1989, has been a great success largely due to the oral rabies vaccine that is contained in bait left by the MNR for foxes and skunks to devour

Only 1 fox with rabies was reported in 2009 and there has not been a single case reported since.

In fact, 75% of all rabies causing death in North America are now attributed to the bat strain of rabies. Most of these people were unaware they had even been in contact with a bat.

And most of those people who died of the non-bat strain of rabies contracted the disease while travelling outside of Canada or the United States.

So Dien remains a welcome guest whenever he chooses to drop by.

And in spite of the risk, I might even get a bat house or two to hang nearby our country home.

Bats seem to be an effective control in reducing the mosquito population.

After all, even the mosquito can be a carrier of the dreaded rabies.

– 30 –


About the Author

jim young

I grew up in the small communities of Stroud and Painswick in Innisfil Township – an area that I am proud to say was pioneered by many of my ancestors. Fresh out of college in the early 1970s, along with the help of my best friend Gary, I formed a disc jockey business called "Simple Motion" and later a video production company called "Visible Past." We broke new ground with both. More importantly – we had fun doing it. If you want to know more about me, contact me for a free copy of "Surviving the Disco Daze - the unauthorized autobiography of a small time disc jockey."


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