The appearance of a mangy red fox on the West Side has alarmed many residents, including .
The fox appeared at on Aug. 27, causing many walkers and visitors to the pond to run to their cars. and said that the animal ate a bit of grass, scavenged from a paper bag someone had tossed in the parking lot, and then wandered off across Pond Street.
The fox has been seen at Horn Pond, on the street, and even on a porch! Woburn Police have reported seeing the fox in the area, but the city's animal control officer does not have a permit to trap a wild animal, such as a fox.
Concerned resident Carol Youngclaus told Woburn Patch yesterday that she telephoned several animal agencies in an attempt to help the fox, who is suffering from mange. Youngclaus phoned the MSPCA, was referred to the Tufts Wildlife Center, then to a wildlife rehabilitator, then the Animal Rescue League, then the state Division of Fishing and Wildlife, then the Environmental Police, where she had to leave a message.
The red fox species is seen often around Massachusetts and can be active during the night or day all year round. They usually maintain "territories" from two to seven miles wide.
According to the state of Connecticut's Environmental Protection office, red foxes suffering from mange can give the disease to humans and other animals. While mange can kill a fox within two to four months, it will likely only cause a "mild form of dermatitis" in a human.
Because this particular fox has been seen on residential properties, as well as the Horn Pond, Woburn Patch is publishing the state's tips on making your home less attractive to foxes:
- Secure your garbage! Foxes will raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost piles in containers designed to contain but vent the material.
- Don't feed or try to pet foxes! Keep wild things wild! Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause foxes to act tame and over time may lead to bold behavior. Foxes that rely on natural food items remain wild and wary of humans.
- Keep your pets safe! Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, foxes can view cats as potential food. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.
- Keep bird feeder areas clean! Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground as the seed attracts many small mammals foxes prey upon. Remove feeders if foxes are regularly seen around your yard. Feed pets indoors! Outdoor feeding attracts many wild animals to your door!
- Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds! Foxes use such areas for resting and raising young.
- Don't let foxes intimidate you! Don't hesitate to scare or threaten foxes with loud noises, bright lights, or water.
- Cut back brushy edges in your yard! These areas provide cover for foxes and their prey.
- Educate your neighbors! Pass this information along since your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food or shelter for foxes.
There has also been a fox sighting in Central Square, in addition to the many sightings of this fox on the West Side. Have you seen foxes in the area? Are you concerned for your or your pets' safety?