Gray Fox Report: May 2022

And The Chase Is On

Submitted by William C. Leikam
President, CEO & Co-founder
Urban Wildlife Research Project
A 501 C (3) Nonprofit Corporation

The two gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus townsendi) Laimos and his mate Big Eyes have been their normal selves for the most part, that is they are not at all aggressive, but once in a while, that changes. In past Gray Fox Reports, I’ve noted that on the whole these two gray foxes get along with other critters in the neighborhood. On May 21, 2022 at trail camera #4, Channel Marker #18, image 0005 – Gray fox female Big Eyes & mate Laimos chase a raccoon. At the opening of that video, the raccoon stopped and stared down the overflow channel. It then turns and runs directly at the trail camera, with both gray foxes in hot pursuit. The raccoon breaks through the dense weeds and hemlock stalks and up against the retaining wall. Foxes Chase Raccoon

Why, what motivated these two rather docile gray foxes to chase a large raccoon? Did that raccoon interrupt one of the foxes from eating its prey? Did that raccoon steal their food or was there another reason why these two foxes broke with their normal behavior? It must have been something of major importance to those two foxes. Another possibility could be that the raccoon chased the foxes and they ran for just so long until they turned on the raccoon and chased it.

Sometimes it goes the other way, meaning the foxes are the ones being chased. In one file we see an opossum chasing one of the foxes. Its mate comes running in behind. Although you don’t see it on the screen, the opossum chases the fox into a grassy area where the fox has a clear advantage. The opossum turns on the other fox and chases it. So, in this case both of the foxes are chased and again we have to ask why would an opossum chase a fox? Did the fox kill one of its babies? I rather doubt it because a mama opossum has her young clinging to her back and there are as many as six, sometimes more. I doubt that she’d sacrifice all of her babies just to take revenge on one. Opossum Chases Foxes

The final video clip is difficult to make out just simply because there’s not enough light projected across the overflow channel by the camera’s infra-red lights. However, in this clip it looks to me as if the first image is a fox running at top speed. Dashing along just behind are our gray foxes; Laimos and Big Eyes chasing a trespassing fox. My interpretation comes from seeing what Laimos and Big Eyes did with the little trespassing female named Flop. Laimos and Big Eyes are staunch defenders of their territory and in this scene, they look to be chasing a trespasser. High Speed Chase

Gray Foxes General Health

These two foxes appear to be in good health. The previous indication that one of them may have worms has not proven to be the case.

Total Numbers of Gray Foxes in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve

As of this date, we have two adult gray foxes living in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Section II

Update for the Urban Wildlife Research Project

Bill’s new book The Road to Fox Hollow has been released and can be found at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and directly from the publisher Di Angelo Publications at Dr. Marc Bekoff has an interview with Bill and that can be accessed at The Social and Emotional Lives of Urban Gray Foxes .

Bay Nature Magazine – How to be a Fox, the article about Bill and his ethological approach to his study of the gray fox is online here: Many are calling this a major article in the wildlife press.

BE SURE TO check out our YouTube Channel for some incredible wildlife videos at and our Facebook page.  

Bill has an additional live event coming up also in April 23rd at Safari West and in October. He will be live at Safari West in the Elephant Room.

Undoubtedly the best Radio interview ever – KALW (PBS program Crosscurrents) – by Sofie Kodner during December 2020 – Broadcast 1/11/2021 5:00 PM. Check it out here

You can access Bill’s PowerPoint presentation Corridors & Connections: Sustaining the Health of All Wildlife presented during the October 24th P-22 Urban Wildlife Festival here: NEW – To find out more about us, search Urban Wildlife Research Project, UWRP, gray foxes, wildlife connection, linkages, corridors and several documentaries including the video clips.


Section III: Gray Fox, Baylands Goals

Within the permit that allows the Urban Wildlife Research Project to conduct its study of the behavior of the gray fox at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, the objectives covered area:

  • Monitoring of urban gray fox Denning sites in Palo Alto Baylands.

This is being accomplished during the period when the gray foxes use a den site. It is one of the prime locations for gathering most of the behavioral data of the litter and for adults alike.

  • Assessment of status and population trends of Baylands urban gray foxes

Since January 2019 a pair of resident gray foxes have claimed territory at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

  • Identification of habitat features that promote the presence of urban gray foxes

After considering this and talking with people who know how to restore habitats, we need to assess what kinds of plants, including the Alkaline Salt Bush, would grow best along the edge of the saltwater channel and alongside the marsh. We need to grow a permanent habitat that contains the corridors and plant it as soon as possible. We’ll keep an eye on this as this is a critical link between the southern region of the Baylands and the northern region.

  • Assessment of reproductive success and identification of factors that promote successful reproduction

Open up the pinch-point along Matadero Creek by developing thickets that link one area to another, instead of the present “islands”.

  • Identification and assessment of possible dispersal travel routes.

Presently there can only be guesses as to dispersal travel routes. We intend to make this important question much more concrete when we attain our collaring/take/capture permit from the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Bill Leikam – The Fox Guy
CEO & President,
Urban Wildlife Research Project
A Nonprofit 501 C3