Little Fox vs Big Cougar

Black and gray fox walking through grass and rocks

A little black fox furiously running straight to the cougar cage ready to kill was the last thing we thought would happen, but it did.

Though hardly small, we had recently moved the young cougar, Tahi, to an enclosure adjoining the Small Animal Garden. It was a good move. She is closer to people and is happy there until we get the funding to build the Cat Gardens.

During a retreat last week we took everyone into the Small Animal Garden to meet Foxy Whitefoot, a tiny but very very lively fox who was rescued from a fur far a few years back. She is an emotional being, who loves people and expresses herself quite dramatically (or loudly) as one would observe.

We brought her to the garden for her usual meet and greet, where she makes retreat participants swoon as she showed them the sweetness of foxes. To our astonishment she ignored the humans completely and raced directly to the cougar’s cage. There she proceeded to try and attack the much bigger predator. She had absolutely no intention of stepping down. She wanted at that big cat! She wanted it out of her territory!

Tahi in a green field

Cougars typically eat deer, but have been known to eat fox, so cougars are a predator of fox. But little Foxy Whitefoot was incensed and did not care. The entire time she was in the Garden all she wanted to do was break through the two layers of chain link between her and the cougar and attack. Rage over sanity – what can we say!

When living and working with wild animals there are constant lessons to be learned. I think its the same working or living with anyone, you never really know what is going to happen on a day to day basis. You can’t predict the actions of anyone and that is what makes us all individuals. Last week Foxy fought us a lesson – She is small in size, but not in personality – even when dealing with someone ten times her weight.

We didn’t want Foxy to hurt the cougar so with a little work, we blocked off the area between the Small Animal Garden and Tahi so everyone can be safe and stress free.

by Susan Eirich, Ph.D.

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