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Foxes take up residence in local neighborhood

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A wildlife sighting might normally cause suspicion or concern within a community — but for the residents of the Roadrunner Mobile Home Park, some recent sightings have been welcomed and looked forward to.

Sightings of foxes here have been reported for more than five years, but in the 55-plus age restricted area of the park, these small mammals are the talk of the community.

Gary and Kay Auld, owners and managers of the park for 13 years, have reported the foxes to Animal Control, which put traps around the perimeter of the area in an attempt to prevent further incursion.

Along with outside traps, cages with bait have been set up inside the park — but the residents have no issue with the foxes at all.

“They aren’t causing any trouble,” says Kay Auld, who said she’s noticed the foxes are not aggressive whatsoever and normally just observe people.

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Spotted inside bird baths or even befriending local cats, the sightings are always around dusk or dawn — when the heat of a typical Roswell summer’s day is absent.

A mother, father and two fox cubs have been living — rent-free — under resident Celeste Johnson’s storage unit behind her house. “They feel safe here,” she says. “No wonder we haven’t seen any mice around recently.”

Her neighbor, Shirley McAllister had an encounter one morning in which a fox barked at her. “They won’t attack us, but they are really brave though,” she said. “They walk down the middle of the street and aren’t afraid of us.”

The park’s guests are most likely Swift or Kit foxes. These mammals typically live in short grass prairies or deserts, and although encounters between humans and wildlife are becoming more common, the fox is a synanthropic species — meaning it is a wild animal that lives near humans and can directly benefit from human-altered environments such as gardens, farms, garbage and dumps.

These areas provide coverage and food year-round for mammals living in harsh environments.

The foxes in the Roadrunner Mobile Home Park have been spotted eating bird food, drinking from bird baths and taking shelter in the shade under buildings in the park. “There’s a hole in the fence we suspect that they came in through,” says Gary Auld. “But the traps never catch anything. You gotta be smarter than the fox to catch it, and they aren’t stupid. They know it’s a trap with bait.”

Besides foxes, other wildlife such as deer and roadrunners (befitting the park’s name) have been spotted within the community, residents said.

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