A hairless fox sneaks across a grass field near Eagleridge Drive last week. Hairless foxes were blamed for the killing of about 50 cats five years ago. Residents have reported seeing the animals again in recent weeks.

Joanna Wragg/courtesy

A hairless fox sneaks across a grass field near Eagleridge Drive last week. Hairless foxes were blamed for the killing of about 50 cats five years ago. Residents have reported seeing the animals again in recent weeks.

Resident spots return of the hairless fox

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— Is your cat safe?

A Steamboat Springs resident recently reported seeing an animal similar to ones blamed for the disappearance of about 50 local felines five years ago.

Joanna Wragg, who spends summers in Steamboat and winters in Miami, snapped a photo of a hairless fox from her deck looking across Eagleridge Drive toward Burgess Creek Road on Thursday. But Wragg said she first saw a group of five hairless foxes a couple of weeks before at the top of Eagleridge near Mount Werner Circle.

"There were four rolling in the grass like puppies," she said. ": The adult in the middle of the road actually stopped traffic. There were three cars waiting in the road. This woman eased forward and said, 'What on earth is that?' I said, 'I don't know. I've never seen it before.' The guy in the car behind me said, 'That's a hairless fox.'"

Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said Monday that the department hasn't received any reports recently about hairless foxes killing pets like it did four to five years ago. But Rae added that he saw one, and it exhibited behavior typical of foxes in the area.

"We don't have any information that they're threatening pets or people at this time," he said. ": It's certainly not something we're concerned about at this time, based on the information we have."

In late 2004, a hairless fox - or foxes - was linked to reports of missing cats in Steamboat. A Division of Wildlife official said then that she thought the fox had a skin disease that resulted in hair loss. The official said because of that lack of fur, the hairless fox had to eat "constantly to sustain itself."

Law enforcement officers that year were told to destroy hairless foxes, if it could be done safely, after one bit a Steamboat resident who was trying to rescue his cat.

Just days after issuing the order to kill the animal in September 2005, a Steamboat Springs Police Department officer shot one of the foxes after it stole a burrito from a pickup truck in a parking lot at the southeast corner of Village Drive and Walton Creek Road.

At the time, police thought the fox was the same one that bit the man trying to save his cat because it was shot only a block away from where that incident occurred. They also thought then that more hairless foxes lurked throughout Steamboat.

Rae said that if his department receives reports that the hairless foxes are endangering people or animals, a similar order could be made to kill or trap the animals so they can be removed from town.

Comments

Brant McLaughlin 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm still perplexed as to how an animal with so little hair can actually survive the winters here. Amazing. Go Smoothie go!!!

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2007 5 years, 4 months ago

I saw a hairless fox in March or April in the same area- running toward the top of Eagleridge Drive.

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steamboatsprings 5 years, 4 months ago

I have seen him 2-3 times a year for at least 4 years now. Any hairless fox with the ability to survive in Steamboat earns my respect.

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Brian Kotowski 5 years, 4 months ago

Has it been established that this critter is the one & only hairless fox? Seems to me unlikely that the mange - or whatever it is he has - would afflict only one animal.

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housepoor 5 years, 4 months ago

i've seen him or one like it in the apres skiwalton creek area

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knee_dropper 5 years, 4 months ago

Ha ha, you beat me to it hinch. The return of smoothie, hopefully he/she doesn't fall for the old burrito bait like the first smoothie did.

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powerline_man 5 years, 4 months ago

So is it actually a hairless fox or do they just have the mange?

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MsRed 5 years, 4 months ago

O.k. according to the Nat.Geo on line they call this the "Sampson abnormality" it is common in less than 1% of the fox population, they suspect it is a genetic disorder- also these types of foxes have been spotted in Alaska and the Carolina area. The reason they are seen during the day is due to it being warmer and easier for them to regulate body temperature. They go on to say they suspect they sleep close to buildings or under decks/sheds to keep warm at night.

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exduffer 5 years, 4 months ago

When will the city start actively enforcing the leash law on Smoothie's owner? Doesn't Smoothie's owner know that there are only 2 off leash areas in SS?

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cara marrs 5 years, 4 months ago

Great comment Exduffer! Let's hope that we can just leave these foxes alone, I see them a lot in the higher mountain neighborhoods doing nothing more than being foxes.

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stephb 5 years, 4 months ago

Love this picture. It's cool to see this fox up close! Great photo!...I saw a hairless fox last fall, off and on at YVMC, and around there. He looked kind of blue. I thought it was a sick animal, but it is the same fox....go "Blue!"

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jk 5 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully Smoothie doesn't crap in Mr. Nightwalkers car while he is loading for his next business trip. There is no telling what may happen?

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