sad looking red fox


Active Member
I have lived in my current South Central WI rural location for 34 years. I have NEVER seen a red fox during this entire time period. This year, a red fox has been seen under my bird feeders and in my yard area over 20 times. I mostly see it at night. I have seen it in the daylight maybe three times.
Today I got a good look at in during the daylight hours as it came in my yard and laid down in a shaded area next to the woods. It looks like it is very skinny and possibly has mange? It's tail has no hair on it, it looks like a long bone. It was holding up it's left rear leg sometimes while it walked. It never limped before that I have seen. Is this red fox in distress? Does a foxes coat appear different in the summer? As this is my first red fox sighting, I have no knowledge about red foxes in the least.
Yes their fur is lighter in the summer and their skin is thinner. I might have mange but it is tough to know without a pic. I would just leave it alone if it is not bothering anything.
I looked at pictures of red foxes with mange on the Net. This fox definitely has mange. It's tail has no fur on it what so ever. It is laying in the open around my house in the broad daylight. Since I had mostly seen it at night, I was unaware of it's condition. I got a good long view of it today with my Vortex 10x56 binos to confirm the mange. Can a fox recover from mange on it's own? I have a Rottie, do I need to worry about it passing the mange to my dog? The red fox has been eating the chipmunks that I have been shooting off my bird feeders.
Mother Nature can be cruel.
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Your dog should be fine. Mange is spread by close contact or if the fox and your dog are sharing the same bedding (which isn't happening). Coats will change with the season but not to the extreme where there is complete hair loss. More than likely you are correct with your diagnosis. It is a miserable condition--the most itchy skin condition that I see in dogs. Depending on how severe and the immune system of the fox will determine the outcome. Skin can get a secondary infection from the intense scratching and in the wild a lot of these canine succumb during the cold winter months.
I was on the phone today exploring my options for this red fox. The DNR was the first to call me back. I can shoot the fox. It is classified as a nuisance animal. As a landowner, it is permissible to do this 365 days a year. I was told to wear gloves, keep contact to a minimum and dig a hole to bury the fox. That action will take the mites that cause mange out of circulation above ground.
Next a wildlife rehabilitation center in Madison, WI called back. They will rent me a live "havahart" style trap for $20 to try and catch the fox. I would then have to take it into Madison on my dime. Anything that comes into contact with the fox or its cage would have to be washed and disinfected as in gloves or blankets. They have nursed a red fox with mange back to health in 2012. Pictures of that fox showed an animal in much better physical condition that my visitor. It takes a course of antibiotics and several weeks time. They asked if I could donate any money towards this end, and my reply was "no thanks".There is no guarantee the fox would be a candidate for rehab, depending on his condition. It might end up getting put to sleep depending on it's assessment by the vets at the center. I could go through a lot of effort for nothing.
Lastly, I could just leave it alone and let Nature take its course.
I don't usually get this involved with a wild animal. For some reason, this fox has picked my yard to hang out.