Grey fox-poisoned, rabid, or..?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by punk-a-doodle, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    My husband and I were walking our dog and a friend's dog down in the currently fairly dry river bed by our house. On the way home, a grey fox comes sliding down one of the steep banks. I figured it had just been startled into a panicked run, so softly yelled at it to make sure it knew where we were. Instead of running in the opposite direction, it wandered slightly towards us, then slightly away. Its mouth was agape, and was very obviously not a healthy animal from its behavior (the coat was very sleek though). The banks were too steep in that area to climb up, so we had to carefully maneuver the dogs around the mindlessly wandering fox until we could scrabble up. It never purposefully approached us as I first feared it would do, rather, it was pacing in circles seemingly completely oblivious to our presence.

    From the bank top, we could see it collapsed in one of the larger puddles. It made convulsive snapping motions and head rolls for a while, then collapsed again for a few seconds, then started the blind wandering again, and was still doing that as we made our way back home. Had I a gun, I would have shot the poor thing.

    The direction it came from are fields of cattle and goats. We do have coyotes in the area. Does it sound like this fox may have gotten into poison meant for coyotes, rabies, or something else?
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    An older name for rabies is hydrophobia, that means the fear of water. Tell us again about how this gray fox was snapping or fighting at pools of water.
  3. the hydrophobia now and then were 2 different things. Very different.
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Aye, hydrophobia as a sign of rabies crossed my mind, but my understanding is that animals expressing dumb/paralytic rabies tend not to express hydrophobia like they will with 'furious rabies'. More obliviousness.
  5. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    greys hardley ever get mange or rabies they do however get distemper and a host of other K-9 diseases they are a much older animal on the evolutionary chain then red fox ,wolves or coyotes they are more coon/cat then "dog" they are the fox that climbs trees :)
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  6. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    Rabies is definitely a possibility. So glad it didn't come into contact with you!
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Aprophet, I think that is it exactly. I was able to look up videos of grey foxes with distemper, and that seems to be what this poor fox had. Complete obliviousness to surroundings, same spasms and pattern of collapse followed by wandering, still sleek coat and good weight, and outbreaks are common in my area. I had been in the city so long, I forgot how eerie it is to see a normally shy and cautious wild animal act in such a way.

    Cuckoo, me too. My friend's dog is a strong, 160 pound Rottweiler with high prey drive, so it was not a fun experience trying to maneuver around a sick animal in close quarters!

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