Saw a huge fox trotting alongside Crystal Lake in Benzie County a
week ago. At first I thought it was a German Shepherd because it
looked to be about four feet long from nose to tail; but drawing
closer, its low stature and rust-red fur revealed it to be a vulpes
vulpes, or red fox, for those of you who no longer speak‘a da Latin.
Anyway, this proud fox was trotting along unconcernedly by the side of
the road with a fresh baby bunny in its jaws, probably heading home to
its den to feed the kits.
Oh how I would love to borrow that fox for a weekend at the Downes
household where we are in the midst of a chipmunk and squirrel
Our neighborhood seems to have more squirrels than Borneo has monkeys,
and they spend most of their time digging up my wifes tulips, playing
hell with her garden, and gobbling at the bird feeders. Speaking of
which, we are fortunate to have a small flock of cardinals who like to
nest in the neighbors evergreens, and last night I saw a nasty black
squirrel trying to sneak up on one of them as it was drying off from a
Then there are the chipmunks, whove begun a reign of terror in our
garage this spring, nibbling on the stores of bird food. I practically
trip over them each day and theyre cocky too, lingering when you head
in their direction with an I-double-dare-ya -to-stop-me attitude.
So this is a problem for you too? Going online, I checked for
predators of chipmunks and squirrels and came up with this: Swooping
hawks, raccoons, opossums, wildcats, coyotes, foxes, large snakes,
We have an occasional possum passing through our backyard, and a family
of raccoons lives in the storm sewer, but wildcats, coyotes, large
snakes, owls, “swooping“ hawks and eagles seem to be in short supply in
residential Traverse City. As for our cat (nicknamed Fat Cat), she
lays out the occasional mouse, but isnt much of a threat when it comes
to chipmunks and squirrels. More likely, I‘d fear they‘d carry Fat Cat
off to an evil end if their squirrelly little brains ever decided to
gang up on her.
So a Fantastic Mr. Fox would be a nice addition to our backyard
menagerie to keep the varmints at bay.
I wonder how many other city dwellers suffer from this plague of
rodents? Ive thought of buying a sling shot and a bag of paint balls,
but that seems likely to produce holes in the neighbors windows. I‘ve
also considered live-trapping, but carting varmints out to new homes in
the country -- one tree rat at a time -- sounds like a hassle. Better
to just live-trap that big Benzie fox and give him an all-expenses-paid
vacation in our backyard in return for services rendered.
In the meantime, if anyone has a swooping hawk available, please let me