Morning coffee in hand, I ventured out to a somewhat chilly “sunroom” porch this morning and found a red fox sleeping nearby.
Morning light hasn’t made it to the backyard yet, and the thermometer on the backdoor says -10 F.
So I sat, camera in hand, and waited for the fox to wake up — for an hour and a half. It was a long nap, perhaps needed after a long night of hunting mice, or the like. It got boring watching the fox nap, so I opened the window for a close-up, clearer telephoto shot.
Curled up, fur fluffed up, nose tucked under tail for protection — the fox is quite comfortable at this frigid temperature. This seems to be the typical posture of canids (dogs) sleeping in the cold.
An arctic fox sleeping in a similar position (Curious Expeditions on Flickr photostream). Note the nice pocket of insulating snow the animal has created around it. Arctic Fox can tolerate temperature extremes of -70 F without shivering.
A gray wolf using the same heat conservative posture while sleeping in snow (photo by Jeffrey Lepore/Science Source)
Finally awake, now that the temperature is all the way up to O F. It must be time to get on with the day’s activities.
First on the agenda, eat some snow — replenish some body water lost in the nightly adventure. I could see the fox biting chunks, chewing, and licking the edges of its sleeping area.
Licking the moisture off its muzzle
Stretching — this is a signal that the fox will either lie down for another nap, or take off in a few minutes.
Yawn — wow, that is a huge gape between its jaws, big enough to bite something pretty chunky. Too bad the woodchucks are hibernating.
Looking over at me, as I tap on the window, wishing the window were open instead of closed, so I could get a better photo.
A final stretch out, and the fox is off to make its rounds of the backyard.