Great column! I look forward to it every week.
Hello Judie- always enjoy your column, and I always learn something. Thanks!
A few points need to be clarified as internet "facts" often leave much to be desired: First, grays do not LIKE to climb trees but do so on occasion out of necessity. Nonetheless, it is not a common occurrence, though they are quite adept at navigating branches once pressed into climbing .
Gray fox populations are at all-time highs in many parts of the country, including this region -- thanks in part to the decline of the trapping industry and more coyotes being taken by varmint hunters. In fact, the populations densities and a shortage of available forage have forced many of them into the city limits and in much closer proximity to man. Thus, in areas where the gray populations abound and receive minimal hunting pressure, the overall health of the animals can and will suffer, with distemper being more common than most people realize. (For those unfamiliar with the disease, it's not a pretty sight.)
In weighing dozens of these animals of the years, I've found that fully mature females will average around 7.5 pounds while males are approximately 9 pounds. Granted, given an availability of easy prey, they can grow several pounds larger, but those are the exception and not the norm.
In this area, the peak of the breeding season runs from early-to-mid January. Thus, that means the pups hit the ground in early-to-mid March. I have never seen any born as late as May as the article claims. Also, it is a rarity for more than 4 pups to be born.