For two days, Duane Krause had two foxes play-fighting in the front lawn of his west Fremont home.
“They looked very vicious out there, but then they would stop and roll around and play,” he said.
Although fox sightings aren’t common within city limits, they can still show up from time to time, said Sam Wilson, furbearer and carnivore program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
“Foxes can be observed year round,” he said. “I receive the most calls about foxes during the pup-rearing season (spring and early summer) because the adults are searching for food for the pups, and pups are visible when they start to leave the den.”
The red fox, found across the state of Nebraska, mostly feeds on rabbits and small rodents. They typically have a home range of 1 to 3 square miles, with the boundaries marked by scent.
Foxes only mate once a year, commonly during the months of January or February. At 8 or 9 weeks old, the pups begin hunting prey with the adult foxes.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, foxes usually avoid people, but are lured while scavenging for food. They are not dangerous to humans unless rabid, captured or handled.
If a fox needs to leave the area, residents can loosely pack leaves in den openings, place something strong-smelling by the opening or spread capsicum-based granular repellent.
The best way to keep outdoor pets safe is to put preventative measures in place, including motion-sensitive alarms or motion-activated sprinklers. Residents can also securely cover garbage cans and remove fallen fruit.
Although rabies is rare for foxes, signs of an infected animal include partial paralysis, staggering or acting unnaturally aggressive or tame.
With the two foxes in his front lawn in early July, Krause said they appeared to be two growing pups. In talking with a neighbor, he said a larger fox, possibly their mother, joined them later on.
“They were in my yard for two days, and then they moved down the street and they were there for a couple of days,” he said. “Then they kind of disappeared.”
Krause said this was the first time he had seen foxes in his neighborhood and mostly left them on their own during their visit.
“I kind of went out and stood there once, but they just ignored me,” he said.
As far as wildlife goes, Wilson said that foxes typically make good neighbors.
“Keeping pets on leash will solve the majority of issues anyone could have,” he said. “Otherwise, people often enjoy watching foxes hunt and play.”