Ask Abe: Foxes and Coyotes

An Alum

Is it true that there are foxes and coyotes on campus?

Abe

Yes! Public awareness of the campus canids really took off in 2014 thanks to social media (#uwfoxes, anyone?) and the then-new UW–Madison Urban Canid Project (UWUCP). The project, led by UW–Extension wildlife specialist and CALS professor David Drake, studies the movements of foxes and coyotes on and around the UW–Madison campus. Coyotes have predominantly been located on Picnic Point and in the Eagle Heights area, and red foxes have been located all across central campus and extending out to the Arboretum. Some campus buildings have become homes to fox families (see this video of a vixen and her kits playing by their den on the School of Human Ecology [SoHE] lawn). But there’s a curiosity to be found in the UWUCP’s research: typically, coyotes and foxes don’t play well with each other and definitely don’t like to be roommates. The project’s findings have shown that Madison’s coyote and fox home ranges have areas of overlap — and eyewitness reports show the usually competitive canids coexisting.