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Fox On Rocks


A fox at Great Falls, perched on a bedrock shelf above the Potomac. He was so little he could have fit in a purse. Seriously, I've seen hamsters bigger than this fox. I've been bitten by chiggers that were the size of this critter. I was standing only about 12 feet away and still needed a lot of zoom to get this shot. He wasn't very skittish. Maybe hikers feed him. Or maybe he's a baby fox (a foxlette, technically) and hasn't learned that any encounter with a human may include an encounter with a dog. But maybe, taxonomically, and cladistically, and phylogenetically, a fox IS a dog, you know? What exactly is a fox? And to what end does it exist? What's it good for? See my job is to ask these basic questions. In any case he looked good in the dying light of the day, on that rock, perched above the swirling river.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 22, 2009; 9:12 AM ET
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Next: Waiting For Augustine


Foxy kit, Joel.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Nice picture Joel, saw a fox one street over a couple of weeks ago, they are so cute.

Martooni, good to see you. I am off to work have a good day all, still nice and warm here.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 22, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

It seems to be wearing socks on the rocks, BTW.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Umm, didn't the fox and the dog diverge, genetically, about 7-10 million years ago?

Our rain gauge this morning shows, for about the last 16 hours, 3.9 inches of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Rick.

My husband received a clean bill of health from the oncologist. Whew! *removing the last beads of perspiration from worry from my brow*

Posted by: laloomis | October 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Umm, think it's a foxlette vixen or a foxlette reynard? What's the gene for that gorgeous red hair?

Posted by: laloomis | October 22, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Is the fox on the rocks rabid? I don't believe it is, but why won't it deny it? Critics say that the fox would not have come out on the rocks unless it had some reason to do so. Is it fair to ask whether the fox is on Obama's enemies list?

Posted by: MartinCrim | October 22, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

That fox doesn't look to be in very good physical condition. Maybe you should have fed it.

There is much more wildlife around now in California. I grew up in a rural area and never saw or heard of anyone seeing a mountain lion. Now, I live in an urban area and I've seen them twice in my visits to the country. Don't get me started about the wild turkeys.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' some lox to the fox with the socks on the rocks* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This would explain all the Tweedle Beetle Battles I've been engaged in lately.

The darn things are all over the place.


PS I do *not* speak for the trees.
But I do listen.

Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous, and veering mightily off-Kit (sorry!)

Good morning, all. Hey, martooni.

I see that the Human Space Flight Plans Committee (aka the Augustine Committee) is indeed releasing their Final Report this afternoon.

Should be an interesting presser, and frankly, I don't know what I hope I find in the report itself. Hopefully something smarter than anything I could have come up with.

Have a good day, all.

On a final note - and going back to the previous Kit - I *do* think there's a Tiki Bar amongst the stars. And I'd be willing to bet that Error Flynn's already there.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 9:24 AM"


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hope that fox has plenty of rodents to catch. Around here, "what the foxes are good for" is occupying a habitat so wolves don't come in and occupy the same space. Wolves, coyotes, and wild domesticated dogs. Because the foxes never nabbed the cats. I'm cool with the foxes. Of course, I don't try to keep urban chickens. Maybe that would change my tune.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The fox on rocks in socks likes lox. As evening nears it mocks clock tocks, and looks for stocks of flocks amid the phlox. Where rocks form blocks it has a box. It balances on sturdy hocks. It watches out for hunting jocks - you never know where danger knocks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think manned missions to near-Earth asteroids would be way cool. Plus, they provide a surface to which we could attach instruments -- like, for example, something basically like a Celestron telescope but with a fast digital camera. Take advantage of the sort-of-chaotic tumbling of the asteroid to conduct all-sky surveys, by reconstructing the asteroid's rotation from the motion between frames.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

People can't figure out what makes Ivansmom tock.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, the Boy and Ivansdad say that all the time.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Not to get too literal about what was likely more of a rhetorical question, but all modern dogs are descended from wolves very recently.

Wolves and foxes had some common ancestor a long time ago (10mm - 12mm years).

As far as foxes go, I live in what is essentially the middle of Denver, and we have a very active population of foxes around. They show now fear and, like this one, seem to be small enough that I don't really think I need to worry about them taking out the cat (the cat may be able to take them out). What we have lately, however, are coyotes. I was out in our front yard recently when a "pack" of 3 coyotes just came rambling down the street. They seemed to have a little more fear of humans as thy took off running when I moved toward them. But a pack of coyotes is a "much different animal" than a solitary, small fox. I'd be a little nervous about young kids being anywhere near them.

Posted by: Awal | October 22, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Great picture! Unusual because a fox is usually very skittish. And also is most active at night. Might be rabid but I hope not.

Posted by: Windy3 | October 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, a pox on your fox on rocks in socks who likes lox but is afraid of jocks where danger knocks, e'en as it mocks clocks' tick-tocks. It might find stocks of phlox or crocks and woks cooking ham hocks as the cocks crow nowdays or in past epochs. If it truly fears hunters, perhaps it should purchase a Glock in its brand-new box as the come from the dock. Thus speaks populi vox.

Hope you got some yocks out of this mishagocks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful photo of the foxlette- not something you see every day!

Posted by: mfigiel-krueger | October 22, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse rox for the fox. :-)

Posted by: Windy3 | October 22, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, too.

Posted by: Windy3 | October 22, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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