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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Arctic Foxes at the Point Defiance Zoo

Hey everyone.  I thought I would share a video I did at the Point Defiance Zoo on Saturday.  I went there with the idea of seeing some of the arctic foxes they have and was definitely in luck as the 2 were out and about.  This is the first of several videos I did of them.  Yeah, in case if you haven't noticed, I have developed a strong curiousity about foxes since the trip to Wisconsin last year (probably due to a sighting I had back when I was a kid and the fact you don't normally see them in the wild) and what better place to view them than at the point defiance zoo.  The Point Defiance Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo both don't have the traditional red foxes (though I have heard that Point Defiance Park supposedly has them along the five mile drive, though you are far more likely to see raccoons there than red foxes), but they do have arctic foxes.  These cute little guys can be fun to be watch and get pictures of too.  They are full of energy and love to run around and even check out visitors too at times.  They also seem to be able to recognize faces too as I was over by their pen more than once and at least one of them seemed to recognize me when looking at me.



Here is a bonus video posted by another youtube user showing both foxes in action (apparently a cloudy day might be better for videotaping them than sunny days are since you don't have to worry about the sun getting in the way).  When I was there, one was active while the other seemed to be more subdued (or at least napping and hidden).  See below:

Other info:
- Like red wolves, we don't get arctic foxes in the wild, so if you want to see them in Washington, you can find them at both the Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo.  The best time of year to see them is probably in the winter months (say between late October and early March).  That is when they have their fluffy white coats and seem to be more active.  I have been to the point defiance zoo in the summer before, but they can be hit or miss depending on how hot it is (I remember going there one year when it was sizzling hot, back in 2015 and the foxes weren't out due to the hot weather).  I remember posting one lady on facebook complaining to me about the arctic foxes in captivity, but I don't own them and plus they both seemed to be quite healthy.  Plus this is about a close as you will get to seeing them without having to take a trip to the arctic circle, and even then, how would you know where to look for them?  Also, foxes tend to be elusive creatures in my opinion and if you want to see them, visiting your local zoo(s) can be a good place to see them.  Though I have heard that arctic foxes are bolder and less shy of humans in the arctic regions and might be easier to spot than red foxes are (though I wouldn't know that for sure since I have never been to the arctic myself).  Also understand they tend to live alot longer when in captivity than they do in the wild.

- While Washington State doesn't have arctic foxes in the wild, we do supposedly get red foxes, though they do tend to be elusive and hard to find unless if you know where to look.  The 5 mile drive section of Point Defiance Park supposedly has red foxes, but I have yet to see one (wouldn't know where to look for them along there or the best times to see t hem) and you are more far more likely to see raccoons along the 5 mile drive than foxes.  With that said, I have heard that 2 good places to look for the red fox are: Mount Rainer, particularly the Paradise area (it is supposed to be a good place to see the native cascade red foxes) and on San Juan Island (particularly in the American Camp area).  I will have to check those places out sometime and get pictures of the foxes if I see any, but that would have to be something for another occassion.  Alternatively I have heard that Northwest Trek near Eatonville has red foxes as one of their animal exhibits.  Been meaning to go there again too (will try to go in the spring this year given the opportunity), but I don't know when.
- Interestingly, the Portland Zoo in Oregon doesn't have any foxes on display, so if you are in Oregon and want to see arctic foxes, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Seattle or Tacoma to see them at the Point Defiance or Woodland Park Zoos.  Also, Olympic Game Farm supposedly has arctic foxes too, though it is more of a hike from where I live and is more of a drive through zoo than a place to walk around.  I meant to get pictures of them last time I was there, but my phone was short on batteries at the time and so I wasn't able to get pictures of them then.

This will be the first of 2 zoos I am planning to visit this year,  I am also tentatively planning to visit the Northwest Trek in Eatonville, probably sometime in the spring.  Unlike the Point Defiance Zoo, they apparently have red foxes, and I will try and get footage of them there.