Following on from my story about the stoat which regularly visits one of my baited camera traps by day, here is an infra red photograph of a fox taken at night.
Though the camera seems to show the scene as illuminated, the pictures are taken in pitch darkness giving the animal no sight or sound of the camera. Multiple picures can be captured with no reaction from the animal, despite it being within a couple of metres. This means the photographs illustrate the subject’s natural behaviour.
The results have provided graphic evidence of the stealth and suspiciousness of foxes.
Though this one is investigating the bait, it is more normal for only the fox’s head to appear at the side of the picture as it stands in the wings listening and scenting for rodent activity at the bait.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the fox prefers to kill its own fresh prey, rather than eat from an older bait. Secondly, they are very suspicious of a bait, no doubt due to years of trapping.
My best pictures of foxes are of urban foxes taken in full daylight with no need for a hide or even much fieldcraft. It may surprise my urban readers that country foxes need such elaborate technology just to catch a grainy black and white image.
However, I prefer the night pictures for their undisturbed and natural poses.