This week we’ll take a look at the most ancient member of the canine family–the Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Back in the Pliocene era (3.6 mill years ago), Gray Foxes were roaming North America alongside giant sloths, llamas, and ancient horses. The Red Fox commonly found in the Eastern US is actually a distant relative–the Gray Fox’s closest cousin is the Island Fox of California’s Channel Islands.
The Gray Fox’s ancient lineage isn’t the only special thing about them–they are also the only canine that can climb trees! They will usually only climb trees to escape predators like dogs and coyotes or to find food. Gray Foxes are omnivorous and will snack on rodents, rabbits, insects, plants, and berries. You can see Gray foxes around dusk and dawn in natural areas of Humboldt County, like at the Wildlife Refuge and other forested areas.