Re Rustica

  (Squaw Valley, California)
love your food!
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Fox Hunting

This fox was telling us to keep back: we had gotten too close - she had smelled a grasshopper and didn't want our sight, smell or sound to interrupt her hunt. It is important to understand what the animals you are following for study are telling you if you are to learn from them!

We study our wild animal friends so we can work better with them.

Foxes love the hunt! They eat grasshoppers, rodents, small lizards and snakes, and sometimes even vegetation - they LOVE fruit. Contrary to popular opinion, they do not eat much chicken - when they can get the more nutritious and delicious foods they are used to.

They like to hunt along deer paths, but when people are around, they much prefer the human paths and roads. People are better at making paths than deer are.

They walk along, marking their territory, and sniffing for something delicious. They do hunt with their eyes, but their nose is what gives to them their greatest advantage. They can smell something they cannot see or hear, and can smell it before they themselves are seen or heard! They can then dive through the air like a cat and pounce on what food they have found before it knows even that the fox was there!

This is why we make paths down our aisles, so the foxes will be further encouraged to hunt among our crops. Our aisles are already path-like, but we make sure they are extra good for fox hunts. At the same time, we make them excellent hunting grounds for felines, coyotes and all kinds of raptors. We study our carnivore friends, and help them do their work - as we help our herbivore friends do theirs. By helping every creature in our fields find food and shelter, our crops do best!

If you are friends with the fox, it will let you come along on its hunt. We followed a fox we had become friends with for several days like this, learning how it hunted, what it liked to eat, and generally becoming more familiar with its magnificent species. We read books about foxes (including the excellent book, “RED FOX: THE CATLIKE CANINE, by J. David Henry and published by the Smithsonian Institution). We reccomend, if you cannot spend some intensive time with the foxes, to at least read this book.

All canines are carnivores, and are able to safely digest meat. They do not store up uric acid like herbivores do when they eat meat (most herbivores in times of need will eat meat, dead or alive).

They will hunt extra and store what they cannot eat - this is why they do not like to hunt large animals (like chickens): they have to hide and store all that extra food! They only eat about an ounce at a time, and even a small 1 pound baby chicken would present a lot of food to hide. Their pups learn quickly how to hunt through play.

Foxes are aesocial with other foxes, and family groups are rare. However, they are fairly social with other species, and will befriend you (as much as they befriend anything) if you demonstrate your respect and keep out of their way during hunts (keep quiet and back so your smell doesn’t get in the way).

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