Family Travel Stories

Teaching kids to live in harmony with nature

When I am big, I want to save animals.

Jacob, 6 years old

We have lived in Barrington, New Hampshire for almost nine years. Our land is also home to Whitetail Deer, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Porcupine, Raccoon, Bats and many types of birds. We have heard that there are Black Bear, Moose & Coyotes in the area, but we have not seen them.

Recently, our neighboring Gray Fox family had another litter of pups. We have seen three pups playing near their den and in our yard. This is the second time we have had the pleasure of watching them grow. About four years ago, we had our first encounter with the Gray Fox family. The male came close to our deck where our older boy, four at the time, and our babysitter were sitting. The Fox kept its distance but growled at them. When we arrived home, I saw the Fox on the lawn and chased after and yelled at him to scare him away. I stopped at the tree line and he came towards me growling and barking. We did this around the yard, first me yelling at him then him barking at me. I never went into the woods because I felt that was his territory. The next day I called the New Hampshire Fish & Game and spoke to one of the rangers about the incident. He stated that what I did was the right thing to do and he mentioned to me that the Fox was probably protecting his young. A few days later, we saw the pups for the first time.

Over the years, we have become comfortable with our resident Fox family. Our kids have become interested in learning about the Fox, and they are not scared of their presence. We have shown our older son where the den is located and occasionally we check to see if the pups are playing. They observe, but are careful not to get too close because they are wild animals.

Gray Fox pup

Gray Fox pup 2008

We talk about animals we have seen in our yard, and explain to our kids how we have intruded on their space. We have to learn to live in harmony with all of our neighbors, including the furry ones. This can be a tough task when the Whitetail Deer eat our plants, the Porcupines break branches off our trees and the Fox dig holes in the yard. The enjoyment we get from seeing such beautiful animals however, is well worth the damage they cause. Perhaps, we can also help our boys appreciate animals the way we do.

Author: rbisson

I am a licensed land surveyor in New Hampshire and Maine, enjoy the outdoors and being with my wife and two boys.

3 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your story. Just saw a gray fox on our property (in So. NH) for the first time (and have lived here all my life) and thought I was seeing things. I have always just seen red foxes and thought this was a coyote for a minute till I saw the tale.
    Glad you decided to live in harmony with your foxes. I’d love to see the one I saw yesterday again.

  2. hi,
    i live on lake winnisusaukee and was wondering if these foxes can swim? My family and i have noticed a similar looking fox-like animal and we live on an island. Do they pose as a threat to pets like small dogs?

  3. I am not sure if Grey Fox can swim, or if they desire to. Grey Fox do eat Eastern Cottontail, voles, shrews, and birds. It will also supplements its diet with fruits that are readily available. Like most wild animals, if food is a necessity, any small animals could become prey, but I do not believe they would attempt a dog. A dog is more likely to chase the fox if sighted.

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