Feeding Foxes Illegal and Bad for Their Health

A red fox peers through underbrush at Buskin River State Recreation Area in 2011. Photo by James Brooks
A red fox peers through underbrush at Buskin River State Recreation Area in 2011. Photo by James Brooks / Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Friendly foxes in Kodiak aren’t necessarily a good thing – it usually means someone is feeding them. Not only is that illegal, it’s bad for their health.

Nate Svobda is the Kodiak area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and says the department got reports last week of a yearling coming up to people near the Monashka Bay area, mostly likely because people have been feeding it.

“When young animals similar to this one are taught to depend on human provided food, they will a lot of times not fully develop their foraging skills, so it drastically affects them in the long term.”

He says most human food doesn’t have nutritional value for red foxes, which usually eat small mammals like rodents, and feeding them encourages foxes to wander onto the road system and into danger’s way.

And as a word of caution for humans, while Svobda says rabies is not a threat in Kodiak, the foxes are still wild, and may bite. For your safety and theirs, he advises that passerby remain a respectful distance away from wild animals. Even friendly ones.

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