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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Into the Fox's Den

While heading to town for ice, water, and to drop off garbage towards dusk we saw a kit fox, Vulpes macrotis, cross the road in front of us. It danced across the road like an awkward ballerina and we pulled over and immediately found sign of dens. Luckily I had a homebrew in the back of the car and Christian had a Bushnell set to video.

Kit Fox Den
JK next a Kit Fox den entrance

We put the camera on the den and came back the next morning to what we thought would be dozens of kit fox images.  We had seen the kit fox, we found a den and active sign, but no kit foxes on the camera. Just a bunch of its prey items, the kangaroo rat.

We changed the angle of the camera and left it up for another night. When we came back the next day on our way back to the Bay Area we picked up the cams.  At the time I thought I had only gotten one crappy kit fox picture. After getting home I saw that there were two images and this first one was not as bad as I had originally thought. Too bad he didn't look at the camera, but at least it us in full frame.  The den is in the lower left corner of the image and the camera is set-up behind the den, so as not to point right down into the den.

12:01 AM

And then the K-rats come out to dance with the devil, practically crawling into their predators den.





Then the fox comes back for one more image and one more sniff at the scent rock. I did not originally see the fox in this image while viewing on the camera.


The Bushnell cam was placed around a creosote bush about fifteen meters from the burrow and cam one.

Here, he makes a quick appearance rolling around in the gravel and then comes by the camera to smell us humans.


  1. That last video is a great catch of behavior! It must have been awesome to see the whiskers suddenly appear when you were reviewing the video the first time!

    1. BL: The downside to those Bushies is we didn't get to see the video in the field and had to wait until we got home to load it on the computer. It did get some cute behavior though.

  2. Congratulations on a great success! Okay, you had hoped for more, but you still got some neat pictures and footage, and know more about kit foxes that before. Right? And that kit fox footage is fun to watch.

    1. Thanks Codge. It was nice to get a kit fox, especially on a 36 hour set, but yes I was hoping for a few more shots of it. We did learn more about kit foxes (ie. confirmed that if they dart into their den at dusk they may not come back out that night) and it should help us to get some better images next year. That being said cannot complain too much when we got a cool animal in a short amount of time. This was actually the third year in a row that we have seen kit foxes in person, so I feel very lucky for that.