Where to Find Wildlife
Hiking with young children is rarely about the destination.
To most kids, getting there, especially quickly, is not the goal. While we adults want to race up steep switchbacks to earn the view, our kids are more likely to sit down in the dirt and marvel at ants. Or stop and pick dandelions. And gather pretty stones. Rather than pushing children to keep up, we can slow down, hike for the sake of wonder and see what we can find. Look for creatures, great and small. Most are hard to spot. Some announce their presence with song. Others flit in the sunshine begging for attention. Many are mysterious, untamed, and living in nearby forests, meadows and mountains. Where in the wild can we find them?
DRAFTJS_BLOCK_KEY:5st0kHiking with young children is rarely about the destination.
We asked naturalist Chadd Drott of CHADD‘S Walking with Wildlife to introduce us to several species we may encounter here this summer.
Wasatch Mountain Fox (Vulpes vulpes macroura)
This red fox is a cunning little critter that has more in common with cats than with dogs. For example, like a cat, it prefers a life of solitude away from packs. Foxes have vertical pupils like a cat. This allows them to see in extremely low light conditions similar to a feline. They have extra-sensitive whiskers to help them feel and sense prey beneath snow and vegetation. They hunt by stalking and then pouncing, which is different from pack techniques involving endurance and over-powering the prey.
The Wasatch Mountain Fox is a subspecies found throughout Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and southern
Alberta. You’ll find it in urban and suburban areas throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. It is well-adapted to live near humans. Look for the unique coloration of the Wasatch Mountain variation, which has a predominately reddish/orange coat in the front that lightens to a silver color toward the hind legs. There is a little bit of faded black around the top of the hind leg. The tail has a distinct white tip and the legs look as if the fox is wearing knee-high black socks.
Tod: male fox, up to 30 pounds
Vixen: female fox, up to 25 pounds
Kit: juvenile fox
Leash: a group of foxes
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