From Barbara Lloyd: This morning (January 23, 2008), two red foxes were in the ravine, just on the other side of the hill across from your house and ours (Wynding and Glenmont). I wondered if these were the “coyotes” that others had seen, but their coats were clearly red and and their snouts not as long as coyotes. They were beautiful, very full-coated adults with lovely red and white markings. I regretted having to go to work.
Laure Nordholdt reported seeing a pair of fox in the ravine around December 24-25 and again the week of January 14, 2008. Laure writes: “My husband and son saw them early evening while it was snowing last week. They were climbing up the hill near the big brick home close to the end of Overbrook, near Indianola. He said there was still plenty of light to clearly see their red coats.”
Susan forwarded your email to me regarding the animal you saw in the ravine. Unfortunately, the picture did not come through in my version of the message.
Based on your description, is sounds like a pair of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Their total length is usually around approximately 40 inches. The red part of their coat is unmistakable and their white belly fur is usually a pretty vivid contrast. The early part of their breeding season started about 2 weeks ago, so it would be very common to see them paired up right now.
The coyote (Canis latrans) looks more like the domestic german shephard in body shape and general posture and has a tail shape that is also very similar. While they may have a slightly rufous (rusty-colored) coat, vivid reds have never been documented in this species. While they go into estrus (heat) in January, they usually dont pair up this early.
I would be happy to confirm the species if you would like to send me a picture. I have seen foxes in the ravine at least a dozen times in the year that I have lived there. I have never seen a coyote but have seen their tracks several times.
Good luck and enjoy your furred neighbors!
Director of Animal Care
Ohio Wildlife Center