Red Fox Spotted Near Shelter Cove

Resident snaps pictures as fox makes off with duck prey

A red fox was spotted this weekend in the section of Toms River, making off with a brown duck in its mouth as its latest meal.

Resident Lindsey Calvo, on Anegada Avenue, spotted the fox at around 10:30 a.m. Sunday as she looked out the window.

“I was in my son’s room (Bobby, 4) with the blinds open because we like to watch the birds, and I saw this fox coming closer to the house,” Calvo said.  She went to grab a camera but by the time she returned the fox had vanished.

“I then went outside to see where he was because now I could not let my dog outside,” she said in an email to Toms River Patch. “I looked around the neighbor’s car and saw the fox coming up the road with a black duck hanging from his mouth.”

She snapped some pictures of the fox as it walked through the neighborhood, an adult male duck clinched in its teeth.

With the large Shelter Cove park and nearby nature preserves nearby, the fox has hundreds of acres to scamper about. Cattus Island Park, which has a board listing recently spotted birds and animals in the park, recently listed a red fox.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife reports the red fox is one of two fox species that live in the state, the other being the gray fox.

With the Latin name Vulpes vulpes, the red fox weighs about 8 to 15 pounds, according to the state DFW.

Red foxes are strictly terrestrial and rarely enter water. Red foxes most often hunt and move about during evening, nighttime and early morning hours,” reports the state DFW on its site devoted to the species.

However, Calvo spotted the animal during the morning hours. After it grabbed a duck near Anegada Avenue, “The fox went back toward Bay Avenue probably to the woods across the street,” Calvo said. 

Calvo said she wanted to spread the word about the animal, because the neighborhood is full of pets and small children.

“We want to make sure families are aware that there is a fox or a family of foxes in the neighborhood and to keep an eye on their children and pets at all times,” Calvo said.

How long has the fox been in the area?

“I let my neighbors know and one said that this fox has been around the neighborhood for about two months but she did not think anyone got any pictures till today,” Calvo said. “Another neighbor said that a fox also came around and took a brown duck from protecting her eggs Sunday afternoon.”

Red foxes are considered “nonspecific predators” according to the state DFW, meaning they’ll eat a variety of food: birds, rodents, eggs, and carrion, but also fruits, berries, and insects.

Unlike wolfs, the red fox doesn’t travel in packs, and its breeding season ends in April, according to the state DFW. A litter averages at five pups, and the animals live in dens and will often travel as far as a 7.5 mile-radius from the den.

According to the state DFW: “Family groups and/or individuals use a main earthen den and often other emergency burrows in their home range. Foxes often take over and utilize dens of other animals, such as woodchucks. The dens may be enlarged during the winter and prior to birth and rearing of the young. Several generations of foxes will often use the same den site.”

Though there is some debate whether the foxes are native to New Jersey or are instead derived from a European red fox, regardless the fox is easily identified by its red pelt.

Among the other distinguishing characteristics, says the state DFW:

  • Pointed ears
  • Slender muzzle
  • Slanted eyes
  • Bushy and unusually long tail
  • Small dog size
  • Yellow eyes of mature animals
  • Orange-red coloration on head, sides and back.
  • Gray or white on underside
. May 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM
While it is very unfortunate for the duck, foxes have been in the area for years. You have acres of wildlife preservation between Cattus Island Park and Bay Ave. Everythng imaginable lives within that area. I saw my first fox in the area about 10 years ago in the parking lot of St. Justin's church. He ran across the lot into the woods. I thought that I was seeing things at first. I have seen foxes twice since then in the area.
JPJson May 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM
if you go to island beach state park, there are dozens of red foxes living there. generally they don't bother people. except those foxes that are now use to being fed by humans will approach within 20 feet or so, then stop and wait to see if you are going to feed them.
MM May 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM
I saw the fox at 5:30 in the morning on May 11 in Snug Harbor section...it was running down Merrimac towards the public pool with what seemed to be a black cat in its jaws...I called Animal Control to notify them...I tried to take a picture but it was moving so fast as I followed it that the picture is blurry...
barbara May 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM
The fox is probably just trying to feed its young. I saw an opossum today at around 7 a.m. around Bay (same area). I have gotten into the habit of looking outside before letting my dog out, just in case some animal is out there. We share the neighborhood, I guess. All sorts of animal life is around here, especially with Cattus Island and the woods nearby.
. May 19, 2011 at 10:50 AM
I know what you mean. I always check outside before letting my dogs out. I live in the same area with woods at the end of my street. Last year, I had 3 deer jump my fence and end up in my yard. There is a lot of wild life around here.
Christopher Claus May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM
The development pressure in the area forces some animals into the remaining natural areas. Some "suburban wildlife" thrive around human development. Raccoons, opossums, skunks and fox are among these readily adaptable species. Humans inadvertently (or intentionally) provide them with food and shelter. Other creatures, the Pine Snake comes to mind, are incapable of adapting to development and die off - often becoming threatened or endangered species.
E M C May 20, 2011 at 07:19 AM
I've seen this breed of fox on 3 occasions. Twice on Dayton Ave a couple of yrs ago and just recently by Dylans Creek Marina in Island Heights.
Rachel Tomasi May 29, 2011 at 05:54 AM
I've seen this fox on Egret and Hunt Drive a few times lately. He doesn't look well and sounds rather aggressive.I keep my gates locked but worry about my dog.I also have not felt ok leaving my kids playing outdoors here unless in large groups.I think an animal that looks ill and is on blocks with homes with many small animals and young kids should be picked up, health checked, and relocated.
barbara May 29, 2011 at 05:51 PM
I've recently heard the fox during the early morning hours (3-5 a.m.) Don't know if it's the same one- I'm sure there are more out there. The noise is almost demonic. Scared the c--p out of me! The sounds are the same as the ones I found on YouTube for "fox sounds". Don't know if anyone else heard this. I can't be the only person who hears it.
. May 29, 2011 at 11:45 PM
I live right near Hunt Drive, but I haven't seen the fox around here. Did you call Animal Control when you saw it? If no one calls, they can't come and pick it up. If and when I see it, which I really hope I don't, I will call. I also keep my gate locked and never let my dogs out without me.
Rachel Tomasi May 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM
We keep some tvs on so I don't hear but we're also sound sleepers. We do get up very early tho, gonna make a point to listen.what time are we talking? This may help animal control find the animal.when I said it"sounded" aggressive, I meant from stories we've heard from neighbors whose ducks, chicken etc it had in it's mouth.(the ones I heard observed were actually saved) I myself have only seen it a few times but had heard about it a few wks prior, that a neighbor had trouble with it with her birds a few times. Another neighbor said her daughter saw it sleeping in their bushes as she left for school.and now 2 of my kids tell me they've seen it for at least 3 mos. When I saw it, each time was either before or after animal control closed.I hoped the others had called and have been very busy the past week since observing the fox my self. I'm now going to set an alarm on my phone so that even if I'm gone for all their open hours I'll call. I'd feel awful if anyone got hurt.I kinda have doubts they will come unless JUST spotted but gotta try. Lastly, having said all that, my son saw a dead fox being removed from the area by shelter cove I believe he said...yesterday.it's possible this is the one thats made our streets his hunting grounds, or there could be a den full. Until time without any sightings, I recommend caution still.
Rachel Tomasi May 30, 2011 at 08:06 PM
PS....the one my son saw WAS yesterday.the part I was unsure of was the location.thx
Ashley CN June 06, 2011 at 12:39 AM
I live on Tyler with an entrance to cattus island basically at the end of our street. He hangs out in my neighbors yard because of the cats but doesn't really care that we stand outside and watch him. I've actually taken lots of pictures of him.
Rachel Tomasi June 09, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Thats comforting that he didn't go after you guys..
. June 12, 2011 at 08:10 PM
I live on Standish Rd, which is right off of Tyler and haven't seen any around here lately. Actually, I haven't personally seen a fox around for several years, but I do keep my eyes and ears open just in case.
just me June 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM
We spotted a fox on Audubon Drive (behind Shop Rite) this morning. It was going from yard to yard. At first it appeared to be a dog, but after a closer look we realized it was a fox.
barbara June 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM
I'm thinking there has to be more than one fox around here. Spotted one Friday night/Sat. morning while power was out. (Near Hancock Rd.) Doesn't look sick; just trots down street and goes into woods.
Ashley CN July 13, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Yeah he hasn't been around in a few weeks, now we've moved onto a nightly visit from a skunk. I wonder what it's gonna be next...lol
SBL July 13, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Fox have been in the area forever. We, the people that lived here for generations prior to the "White flight" of the 60's killed them off. Seemed like a good idea at the time as the area was populated with chicken farms. Kids used to be paid by chicken farmers for every fox they killed. started to see them at IBSP about 15 years ago. I'm glad that they making a comeback.
just me July 13, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Bears???? lol Actually, I'd take the foxes and bears over skunks. My dog was skunked a few years ago -- I don't think we've ever gotten over it. A real stinky experience. lol
Uglykid825 July 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Used to be a pair in Browns Woods..... They disappeared at about the same time the Corrupt town's leaders started renting the entire Green Acres Site to the OCPO so George Gilmore could have a 1000 Acre Buffer next to his 7500 SF River Front Monstrosity....... Perhaps the OCPO or King George killed them???????????Or King George ordered the OCPO to take care of the foxes so they didn't disturb his lavish mansion.....(just a theory)
Rick Molinia July 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM
am i only one who thought of sanford & son ! pops!
1stcav July 28, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Saw it last week , Mon; on the corner of Crystal & Yellowbank , this one was not sick looking and was not afraid of people....


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