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  #1  
Old 27 April 2008, 09:08 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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Wolf Were red foxes introduced to America?

A few years ago, I saw a MD Natural Resources Dept display of MD animals at the state fair. I noticed both red and gray foxes and the man tending the display told me that the Brits introduced the red fox for fox hunting purposes. I guess they thought the native gray fox didn't make a good enough quarry.
True or false about the Brits introducing the red fox to these shores? Sounds screwy to me.
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  #2  
Old 27 April 2008, 09:13 PM
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The British did introduce red foxes into Australia, but wikipedia says they're a native species in North America.
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  #3  
Old 27 April 2008, 09:16 PM
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My various sources say that the North American red foxes are a mixture of native and introduced populations. Wikipedia (see link above) claims they're "native in boreal regions, introduced in temperate regions".
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  #4  
Old 27 April 2008, 09:23 PM
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Brits did bring red foxes over for hunting purposes. However, it seems that they were already here. Cite
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A common belief is that the red fox is not native to Idaho, and there are some who maintain it is not even native to the United States. This idea stems from the fact that English emigrants did import foxes for the British sport of fox hunting. And foxes don't seem to appear in natural history accounts of early explorers.

However, archaeological digs in Idaho have found red fox bones that are thousands of years old, predating European settlement by a long shot.
(I thought I had a better cite, from JSTOR, but it is a subscription article, and I can't access it.)
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  #5  
Old 28 April 2008, 05:49 AM
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The red fox has several colour forms in the USA as well - red, grey and cross. Over here we only have the red form, so maybe the Brits took more of the red form over as these were familiar to them.
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  #6  
Old 28 April 2008, 09:29 PM
moonfall moonfall is offline
 
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I always heard that the British imported red foxes because the gray variety can climb trees (thus making hunting with hounds far more difficult).
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  #7  
Old 28 April 2008, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfall View Post
I always heard that the British imported red foxes because the gray variety can climb trees (thus making hunting with hounds far more difficult).
That would make it like a coon hunt, where the purpose of the dogs is to tree the raccoon for an easy catch. The problem with that for a fox hunt is that the purpose is not near so much to catch the critter as it is to have a jolly horseback romp through field and forest.

If the gray and red are just color variations of the same species, then this would seem unlikely. On the other hand, if the red fox is more of a ground/open feild animal, and the gray fox is a subspecies more adapted to the forest (where gray is better camouflage against bark and such), then maybe the grays are also adapted to some amount of climbing.
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  #8  
Old 29 April 2008, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
That would make it like a coon hunt, where the purpose of the dogs is to tree the raccoon for an easy catch. The problem with that for a fox hunt is that the purpose is not near so much to catch the critter as it is to have a jolly horseback romp through field and forest.

If the gray and red are just color variations of the same species, then this would seem unlikely. On the other hand, if the red fox is more of a ground/open feild animal, and the gray fox is a subspecies more adapted to the forest (where gray is better camouflage against bark and such), then maybe the grays are also adapted to some amount of climbing.
Red foxes can get into trees too. They just don't climb very high (just the lowest branches of the sort of conifers that have branches all the way down the trunk), more like using the branches as a ladder.
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  #9  
Old 01 June 2008, 05:19 AM
Kutter
 
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Actually, the grey fox is entirely different genus of canid than the red fox. They have specially built claws that let them climb trees like a cat, which a red fox doesn't (according to Wiki, the Japanese Racoon Dog is the only other species of canid that does).

But, yeah, I do believe there are records of the wealthy Englishmen who originally settled down here bringing reds from England to hunt because the natives (that is, the greys) were unsuitable for the sport.

And there are native reds in North America, but I don't know that their range ever spread into what would be the USA until the introduced reds really settled in. There is some evidence that at least some of the current species of reds are native/introduced hybrids.

Incidentally, the introduction of the reds hasn't seemed to interfere much with the greys. The too animals seem to coexist pretty well in the places where their ranges over-lap.
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  #10  
Old 01 June 2008, 11:00 AM
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No, no - sir Walter Raleigh brought them back to England from the New World, hence the red fox's distinctive cry of "I'm comin', Elizabeth!"

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  #11  
Old 01 June 2008, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kutter View Post
Actually, the grey fox is entirely different genus of canid than the red fox. They have specially built claws that let them climb trees like a cat, which a red fox doesn't (according to Wiki, the Japanese Racoon Dog is the only other species of canid that does).
There are also red, grey and "cross" colour morphs of the red fox (hence the binomial system is so much more precise when discussing such things ).
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  #12  
Old 01 June 2008, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
There are also red, grey and "cross" colour morphs of the red fox (hence the binomial system is so much more precise when discussing such things ).
Yeah, but those are generally called silver foxes. Here at least, when you say grey fox you mean Urocyon cinereoargenteus, not Vulpes vulpes.

Huh? Sorry, my geek may be showing...
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  #13  
Old 02 June 2008, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
No, no - sir Walter Raleigh brought them back to England from the New World, hence the red fox's distinctive cry of "I'm comin', Elizabeth!"

To quote Brian from "Family Guy": "Hi-LAR-ious."
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  #14  
Old 15 August 2008, 06:49 AM
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Oh, I love a thread that gives me an excuse to post the photo of foxes in our yard a couple of years ago (even if it's not completely relevant):



This pair was hunting some kind of rodent and ran off after one of them caught it.

We have mostly red foxes in our neighborhood, but a few black ones. I don't know if the black ones are just some kind of mutation or a separate variety, not being a "fox geek".

snoozn
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  #15  
Old 16 August 2008, 11:58 PM
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Default Black foxes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoozn View Post
I don't know if the black ones are just some kind of mutation or a separate variety, not being a "fox geek".
Maybe they have early stages of mange?

I'll get it:

-Rogue
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  #16  
Old 05 November 2008, 08:23 PM
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Re: the whole color thing.

"According to wikipedia's article on Red Foxes:n the wild, two other colour phases are also seen. The first is silver or black, comprising 10% of the wild population. Approximately 30% of wild individuals have additional dark patterning, which usually manifests as bold markings on the face, with a stripe across the shoulders and down the centre of the back. The stripes form a "cross" over the shoulders, and these foxes are therefore often called cross foxes. Farmed stock are mostly silver, but may be almost any colour including spotted or blotched with white."

Apparently it's mostly just a random thing, like with wolves or bears.
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  #17  
Old 06 November 2008, 10:06 PM
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I wonder if perhaps there wasn't already a distinct, but convergent in color at least, species of red fox in America before the British arrival, and British import of the European red fox. That seems the most likely explanation to me.
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  #18  
Old 06 November 2008, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PointySextant View Post
I wonder if perhaps there wasn't already a distinct, but convergent in color at least, species of red fox in America before the British arrival, and British import of the European red fox. That seems the most likely explanation to me.
That was already mentioned in the thread. (See posts #3 and 4.)
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  #19  
Old 06 November 2008, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
No, no - sir Walter Raleigh brought them back to England from the New World, hence the red fox's distinctive cry of "I'm comin', Elizabeth!"

That was so much better than anything I could have come up with.
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  #20  
Old 09 November 2008, 01:34 PM
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Is the story about them bringing the red fox for hunting entirely true? If it is then that was very stupid of them. Not that I'd expect less of the kind of people who'd find fox hunting a jolly good sport

Quote:
Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
Over here we only have the red form, so maybe the Brits took more of the red form over as these were familiar to them.
I was very upset to learn that The Animals of Farthing Wood lied to me. A silver fox! At White Deer Park! Scandalous and wrong!
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