The gray fox is one of nature's most versatile creatures, with many unique adaptations that help them thrive in Zion National Park. Thanks to a rotating forearm (similar to that of cats and bears), the gray fox is the only species of canine in North America that is able to climb trees. They climb trees to raid bird nests or to escape predators; some may even use a hollow tree trunk as a den. Gray foxes are opportunistic omnivores—they prefer to eat small mammals, but also dine on lizards, invertebrates, and plants. They have an expanded second molar that provides a greater crushing surface to munch on plant material, such as fruits and nuts, more effectively than other species of fox. These adaptations help the gray fox to never miss out on a meal, or a safe place to spend the day.
In Zion National Park, gray foxes live in areas of thick vegetation or forested riverbanks such as those found along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Gray fox are mostly nocturnal (so not often seen by visitors), but fox scat—often filled with cactus fruit or juniper seeds—is commonly seen on some park trails.
Last updated: December 6, 2015