Hard to believe how time has flown, but the16th DG annual photo contest has begun! Find the details here. Best wishes to all the entrants!!!

Well looky what the dog dragged in.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Well the dog trap actually , I have been on my several times a year thinning out the stray dogs forays when "Pesky" showed up . Other times I have suspected his presence when he successfully raids the trap stealing the bait without triggering the trap . But occasionally he slips up and I get to view his presence.

"Pesky" if you do not know is my resident kit fox , cute is'nt he ?

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Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Too cool!

Tolleson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Too cute!

Crossville, TN

Foxy!!! JO

Mesa, AZ

Nice to know he is still around and looks like he is doing well!

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I usually manage to trap him once or twice a year . What I found surprising some years ago Susie was that he co-habitates with other burrowing owls not on my property but at one of the natural mega-plexes about 100 yards east of my place . When I release him I managed to keep up with him on several occassions tracking him . He went to a mega-burrowing owl complex that I knew of . A burrowing owl sitting outside one of the entrances did'nt flinch at all at the foxes approach or when he went into one of the close adjacent burrows. It was more like "where have you been all night, gettin' back kind of late are'nt ya' " kind of thing . If I had not seen it , not sure I would have believed it as natural behavior .

Will wonders never cease ?

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Well , my dogs were barking here just before 10:00 p.m. so I thought maybe I'd go out to check the traps . Found a few DEA agents and the like tramping around close by . Up the road a short distance was a rolled over vehicle (drug runner) that they had been chasing . Driver bailed out and started taking off in the general direction of my place . Mind you I designed this place to be a wildlife garden . It provides LOTS of good cover for ALL kinds of wildlife . I gave them permission to come on the property with thier thermal imager etc.. Thier out there tramping around now .

Yeppers , life is sur borin' out here in the boondocks . Wunner how I'll be bored tommorry by cracky .

Crossville, TN

Yeah...My property backs up to the Raparian (sp) of the San Pedro River...I'd rather live in town. Jo

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Riparian area = lots of trees & dense cover = lots of illicit traffic in rural Southern Arizona . Is that how the equation works Jo ?

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Some info on Kit Foxes from the Sonora Desert Museum ;


"The little kit fox inhabits the dry, open flats and is more nocturnal, so it is not often seen by people. The kit fox is also more carnivorous than the coyote or gray fox, depending on kangaroo rats for most of its diet. This fox is a great digger, and any area occupied by kit foxes will be pocked with dozens of den holes."

That seems to be true in my area.

"Kit Foxes can survive without free water, gaining what they need from the blood and moisture in their prey, and so can live in the most arid areas. They are the only canines to use dens year-round. Kit foxes are nocturnal—retreating to the relative coolness and humidity underground during the day probably helps them to survive in these hot, arid environments. Kit foxes change dens frequently, and there will be many mounds and holes in kit fox territory. Some dens may have as many as 7 to 10 entrance holes, making it appear that there are more kit foxes than there really are. These foxes are solitary during July through September, but females move into family dens in October to prepare for the new pups. The males join them later. The pups are born in February and March. Both parents feed them, bringing a steady diet of kangaroo rats for 5 or 6 months—then the young foxes are on their own. Signs of a den with pups include food remains, feathers, fur, and scat.

Kit fox numbers are declining due to loss of habitat and poisoning. "

Glad that I have gotten to see and know them in thier natural environs a bit .

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

What do you do with him. What a beautiful animal!

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

By law I cannot do anything with him specifically , to do so would be contrary to what a wildlife garden could/should be. What I have done is to provide a habitat rich garden which he and other creatures are attracted to . To interact with the creatures/fauna too much would be detrimental to them as they would lose some of thier natural instincts/fear of man. So I simply try to provide a nice place for them to be/come to. Try to keep things harmful to them (stray/feral dogs come to mind for some reason) So I trap ,try to keep things hamful away and then allow nature to take it's course.

Burrowing owl habitat

Snake hibernaculum

Mounds/small mountain under construction, some creatures prefer sloping ground to live in, tortises, native bees and so on.

rock piles

snag tree

lots of dead wood hauled in and "planted"/placed throughout the property that attracts natural native insects, rodents, etc. .

Over 150 trees planted throughout the property (lost count of shrubs, cacti/succulents but very high numbers) Hopefully in the not too distant future we will have the place cataloged/plant list.

A web site that the wife put together goes into some of the details of the place.


Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Lonediver- do the laws say anything about airsoft or paintball guns used on them? I think they're awesome, but I live in town and haven't so far ever seen one this side of Reddington Pass. A nonlethal deterrent? It seems a shame not to be able to protect what you've built out there.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Are you interpeting that it is the fox that is the problem ? The fox is a welcome guest , stray , feral cats and dogs are the problem .

The director of the Pinal county animal control is visiting me this coming saturday , she wanted to see what I am doing . She says she has an interest in wildlife and we will talk some about what can be done to possibly be done to get more control in my area. I have to guess that it is not just my immediate area, likely county/state wide. This is what happens when so called domestic pets are not neutered and allowed to free roam . Cats are quite capable of breeding 4 or more times a year . Dogs 2-3 times a year . The burrowing owls breed/have young once a year . Two years ago I had a colony of 6 owls here , currently down to two .

It becomes a numbers game and wildlife ain't winnin' .

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

What you're doing is awesome! Thanks for showing us the pics of Pesky, and telling us about his interactions with the burrowing owls.

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

I just didn't know what your intent was with the fox, sorry, I should have known better.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

The reason why Pesky is called "Pesky ' is that he has thus far refused to be trained at not entering the traps that I set for dogs, etc.. I am not Dr. Doolittle and have not learned how to speak fox. So the game with Pesky goes on . I sometimes trap him but he always gets released.

Cave Creek, AZ

When I was in college a million years ago I was walking through the park and saw a gentleman with a very odd looking dog. I struck up a conversation with him about what type of dog he had and he told me it was a fox that he had found in the flood plain of one of the rivers. He made a wonderful pet.
It is so wonderful what you are doing. With our business I try so very hard to educate people why they should not use any poisons to get rid of their rodents and the ramifications of using poisons.
I think your fox sounds like he wasn't raised to maturity by its mom.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Okay , if there is any nature lovers here , here are some pictures that ought to make one sick . Just over 2 weeks ago my burrowing owl was attacked by some local dogs who were allowed to "free roam " , unrestrained by thier owner/caretakers . Prior to this attack I had some three burrowing owls in residence , since I have only reliably accounted for one .

Now does anyone wonder why I trap for so called domestic animals ?

To say that I was a little irritated could be a weeeeeee bit of an understatement . I just watched over the last year seen my population of 6 owls drop to one . Some 7 years of developing this colony down the drain .

Since this occured (sometimes there are silver linings in clouds) I may be getting more co-oping with animal control. Means more work on my part , I have been driving around my area taking pictures of homes that are not in compliance keeping dogs restrained . But this has been a building problem out here for a long time . Various other peoples raising goats , chickens etc. have had a lot of thier stock killed. Some people say that they donot enjoy walking around because of fear of being harassed by dogs . Animal control simply does not have enough manpower to cover all the area that they have so I am volunteering to gather the evidence necessaary for prosecution.

I think that it is possible that I may become unpopular with some people . Ask me if I care .

Another positive note , the first steps are in motion to have the area near where I reside considered for IBA (important bird area designation ) by Tucson Audubon. I am told that this often takes 1 to 2 years but the process is beginning

I was also asked if I might consider taking part in a turkey buzzard study .

Same-o , same-o boring crud goin' on roun' here.

Now who is interested in a nature lesson with pics of where "Pesky" lives ?

No interest , no lesson.

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Oracle , AZ(Zone 8b)

Lonediver, wonderful pics of Pesky. He is beautiful. So sorry to hear about the owls. Bum. Hopefully you'll get some help with the feral cats and dogs running loose. I have had issues with dogs in years past. They will kill for sport. I have had all my chickens killed, twice, by dogs. Coyotes will grab one and go but dogs will kill them all. If I want to have chickens I have to build a pen like Fort Knox. Dogs, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, racoons all love chicken....... Cats don't bother the bigger chickens but they are murder on the birds and lizards..... Don't get me wrong. I have had dogs here 'in town'. But they were either in the house or tied up. (before we fenced the place) I really don't like to tie a dog up but it is a bit better than letting them loose in the neighborhood. And I have 5 cats, all spayed and the youngest is being neutered this Friday. They are mostly indoor cats but they still manage to kill some birds and lots of lizards, much to my dismay......
Unfortunately, it's a real problem that will not go away anytime soon. I mean feral cats and dogs and dogs that people just let roam loose. There is a small group here in Oracle that are trying to catch and neuter/spay all the feral cats they can catch. And rescue others. That's how I got my newest, 'Ralph'. I needed another cat like a hole in the head. but there he was...... I wanted to help out but didn't want to have contact with the animals because I would want to keep them all, so I made a quilt for them to raffle. And when I went to deliver the quilt to them there was 'Ralph'. Next time I'll have them come and get the quilt.......

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Morknotmindy,

No the feral/stray cat/dog problem is not going away any time soon, for evidence another thread that I did a number of years ago .


Since then unfortunately I believe the problem has gotten worse not better. The economic meltdown has led to hoards of displaced animals . People loosing houses suddenly find that they cannot either afford to keep animals or they cannot take the animals with them to new location . They then may try to take the animals to a shelter only to find the overcrowded shelters are now having to charge to take animals in . Sometimes a mildly substantial sum , especially to people who longer have jobs or homes .

Soooooo......... the alternatives .

Animals left abandoned at abandoned houses . Animals turned loose into the streets or countryside . Much of this has happened, I talk with animal control officers frequently . I have gone months waiting for loaner traps , now if I am going to salvage/rebuild what I started am likely going to have to buy/build my own traps . A cheap mediocre dog trap $150, a good sturdy one $300 .

Then there is trapping laws , both Arizona Game and Fish and local ordinances , sometimes conflicting regulations .

AGF allows the use of box type/havahart style traps and certain types of leg hold traps . Padded and off-set leg traps that are designed not to pinch/cut into flesh . Some localities ban leg hold traps , AGF has a TOTAL BAN on any type of snare type trap . Pinal county for awhile used a type of snare trap which would be legal for trapping dogs BUT if you trap a wildlife critter even by accident (for some reason "Pesky" comes to mind) Then you are breaking state law . Leg hold traps where/when (yes, there is a trapping season and one has to be a license holder to run a trap line) allowed by the state. Then you could find that you are in violation of local ordinances by using leg hold traps on so called domestic animals .

Sounds like a catch-22 situation to me .

Now everybody is likely going to say what's the matter with the hav-a - hart traps .

Nothing , ......................................... for a while. Any one who calls animals dumb is stupid themselves in my estimation. Dogs are for the most part social animals that often congregate in packs , I have spent/wasted many hours tracking dogs from my property . A pack of 5 dogs will likely split while I track/chase/pursue them . Three will go in one direction , two in a different direction going to different houses/properties. I can only chase one group so I will have to chase the other sub-group a different day . More fun/time wasted. Hav-a-hart traps stop working on packs once a portion of the packs are caught, thet see thier buddies caught and correctly decide that these things are not things that they want to go into.

I moved out to the country to create a peaceful wildlife garden in solitude .

HAAAAA ! ! ! (Does anyone detect a note of sarcasm ?)

Wildlife is under presure even in the country . Feral/stray cats/dogs , people with thier da_ _ motorcycles/quads freewhelling across open land . I have had one or two of these on my place.

I am getting MAD and MADDER

We humans are responsible for this destruction , nothing seems to get done until after we have lost it .

Well I have been ranting long enough , who's listening anyway .


I gues by lack of response above nobody wants to see pics, etc. about "Pesky's " natural house/digs ?

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

I here you. lonediver. I recently turned some of my "neighbors" in to Operation Game Thief, as the 19 year old shmucks are shooting doves with a BB gun and if they're not dead, putting them in the freezer to die slowly, then eating them. I found out from my other neighbor's son that they "accidently" shot one of the lovebirds that visit my feeders and that was the last straw for her, so she asked me what we could do, hence the report to OGT. By shooting doves, they are guilty of poaching, and if any of them are Mourning Doves, they are also in violation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. May they find themselves in a whole shit storm of trouble.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Frogymon,

BTW, off the present subject , back in Nov. - Dec. I gave you an invite to come down and see what I'm doin' down here in the backwood sticks. You accepted the invite but said it would be after the holidays . Weeeeell the (that) set of holidays are over . I'm here , where are you ?

Problem with todays law enforcement is thier budgets - manpower are waaaaaaaa...... yyy over strecthed ! ! ! Sooooooo , since the last dog attack on my burrowing owl habitat I've been putting in 1 1/2 to 3 hours daily doing "dog patrol" gathering photographic evidence of blatant repeat violators of dogs at large ordinances.

I have resolved that there is little use in rebuilding the owl habitat until the dog situation in my area is under control . So I am becoming a rat-fink on anybody within a mile radius or so of my house. This involves a bunch of driving , hiking, binoculars , notebook and most importantly a digital camera . Beauty of digital cameras is that all images taken give a date and time stamp .

I caught an at large dog on the streets monday afternoon, animal control picked the dog up from me yesterday, tuesday afternoon. I knew absolutely where the dogs home was so once the officer picked the dog up from me about 4:30 p.m. tuesday afternoon and either gave them a warning or ticket . I drove by this morning about 8:00 a.m.. The peoples dog was at large again some 14 - 15 hours after being cited the first time .

Encouragin' ain't it ?

I got pics of the violation this morning , they should definitely get a ticket this time . ($250 first time offence , $500 for second time , shame I don"t/won't get any of that)

Animal control costs a BUNCH , great waste of tax dollars so far as I can tell . By the time they pay for officers, house, feed the animals , euthanisia when necessary if animals are'nt adopted, disposal . You don't want to know what it costs per animal .

Shame , just because of irresponsible pet owners .

Frogymon, I hope that you got irrefutable proof of thoose creeps actions , otherwise those persons will likely walk away from what they did .

Laughing , as they get off .

BTW, I captured another dog at large this morning , waiting for animal control to pick this one up . No idea who's it's owners are , nice german shepard. He did NOT like my wife when I brought him home to my place . He growled and lunged a bit at her . I was going to have have her help me kennel the dog (sometimes difficult) Scratch that idea. Had to do it myself , The dog did NOT want to enter the/a kennel. Wrestling match time .

One more down maybe some 50 + to go . Great life if one does not weaken .

It never occured to me when I started wildlife gardening that I was going to have to learn to become a dog catcher as a gardening skill .

This message was edited Jan 30, 2013 12:08 PM

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Lonediver, waiting to have knee surgery so that walking your property will be easier, as I'm using a cane right now. I tore my medial meniscus while on vacation in Amsterdam back in May and since it hasn't healed surgery is the only recourse left.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

What ? ! ? !

You can't walk on your hands ?

Well I guess that I will have to wait for your recovery .

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I want to see where Pesky lives!

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Quote from allgr8dogs :
I want to see where Pesky lives!

Well finally !

There is at least one nature lover expressing interest . Is there a second ? One more and I will post the pics . Otherwise I will send the pics to Allgr8dogs privately .

Mesa, AZ

I am also interested in where Pesky lives....

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

You know I'm committed to coming out to see it in person, but in the meantime pics would be nice.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)


Something I found hard to believe a few years ago was several different times after releasing Pesky was that he went to areas that I had always assumed to be natural burrowing owl dens/nests . Somewhat large complexes with several deep multiple holes that in other previous wanderings I had seen burrowing owls residing there.

Hmmmmmm ! ? ! ?

Can, do burrowing owls reside in the same complex ?

I have called Bob Fox from Wild At Heart , he said that while he has/had not oserved such , but it would not surprise him .

I wrote to Stacy Burleigh who does studies at the Audubon Zanjero burrowing owl park in Mesa/Chandler, her reply;

I have recently read that there are several animals that will share the same burrow/den complex with a burrowing owl but can't remember if kit foxes were among those mentioned. I've got quite a bit going on right now but when I've got some time I'll try to research it a bit and see if I can find anything.

I wrote/called/conversed with a Brittany Olsen, ding her Masters at U Of A primarily on Burrowing Owls, she did not quite believe it possible . Birds are normally prey to foxes .

Just what I love , definitive answers .

My 2 cents for what is worth , it is possible and it is happening not far from my house . However I will have to provide better photographic proof than what I have at present .

Here is a few pics , I want to see what you all decide , this will require audience particapation.

Pics 1 & 2 ; this is a burrowing owl den . This features "whitewash" see those things that look like white paint droplets . Another name fo it would be bird poop .

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Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)


Oop's , deleted the pics somehow . Look at below post

This message was edited Jan 31, 2013 4:09 PM

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)


No "whitewash" slightly bigger , I'll have to get some actual measurements. I have seen Pesky go into this hole with a burrowing owl sitting at the entrance of the other hole .

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Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

The two holes rather close together , some 5 to 6 feet seperating them .

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Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Very interesting thread. Thanks for the pictures and information.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I tried to get a picture of the entire "complex" . If you read through the links about kit foxes ;


Good video shows a complex




It is apparently normal for them to have multiple entrances/exits so if under attack they have options.

You should be able to see some depressions in the ground where other entrances are .

Only the one hole in the first pair of pics abov e has the "whitewash"droplets .

OK members of the jury , what conclusions have you come to ?

Do you think it is possible for a burrowing owl and a kit fox to live this close together ?

This message was edited Jan 31, 2013 5:17 PM

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Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

It's entirely possible, though somewhat improbable.

Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Could be. There are reports of some very strange pairs of animal friends.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

OK, two questions.
Did they capture the drug runner?
What happens to the dogs if not owned by someone ?
Minnesota loves deer, so any dog chasing deer can be shot on site.

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Quote from CountryGardens :
OK, two questions.
Did they capture the drug runner?[/quote]

Drug runner got away is my understanding , overturned his truck on it's side but got out and ran away on foot . Lots of places to hide in the dark here. An unintended consequence of my creating a dense wildlife garden is that it can hide lots of "different" wildlife.

[/quote]What happens to the dogs if not owned by someone ? [/quote]

They are turned into the Pinal county animal control , who I understand have lowered thier euthanasia rate working with a lot more rescue agencies . A number of years ago they would hold animals for 10 days , now lowered to three days . If an animal is not reclaimed, adopted, placed with a rescue agency than .............

Minnesota loves deer, so any dog chasing deer can be shot on site.

Wish I could do that here with dogs I see harassing wildlife. YES, I said that . Hey if you put in the work that I have on this place , you would to. So called domesticated animals have more "rights" than wildlife.

Cats are a foriegn introduced animal not native to the American continents. I will admit that they are so wide spread now that elimination is not possible , I do feel that there needs to be responsible control of them AWAY from wildlife . License domestic cats as dogs are supposed to be , then cats should be restricted to thier owner/caretakers property not impinging on others .

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We could send you a couple of Minnesota coyotes. They love cats. We lost 3 nice mother cats last summer. Mother cats like to go out hunting & just never return.

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