Spring is here in the Hudson Valley, and so are all the animals who have been keeping warm all winter in their dens. At least one creature, it seems, needs a refresher course on keeping a safe distance from humans.

There are countless sharp-toothed hunters in our corner of New York State. From black bears to bobcats, there’s always a predator out stalking their next meal. One red fox recently got too close for comfort, leading to a discussion about the correct ways to behave if you’re approached by a wild animal.

A local Hudson Valley resident recently had a close encounter with a red fox (Ryan Cormier Art)
A local Hudson Valley resident recently had a close encounter with a red fox (Ryan Cormier Art)

Close Encounter with a Red Fox in the Hudson Valley, NY

"Red fox walked right up to me!!!", said a recent post in the Hiking the Hudson Valley and Beyond Facebook group. The video shows the hiker, who's covered head-to-toe in camouflage, standing still as a red fox catches sight of him from several yards away. Curiosity seems to get the best of the animal, because it makes the decision to approach.

Ryan Cormier Art
Ryan Cormier Art

Red Fox Approaches Hudson Valley Hiker

The video (below) received very mixed reactions from the hiking group. For every comment fawning over the "adorable" interaction, there were others worried not only for the safety of the hiker, but for the health of the animal. "Only a couple of explanations [for it to approach]. It’s sick, you’re near its nest with pups, or it’s been fed by humans a bunch of times before. None of those are really good", said one man.

Red Foxes in New York State

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) notes that red foxes are especially susceptible to mange, which causes hair loss among other symptoms. While this fox appears to have lost most of the hair on its tail, it's unclear whether it is molting its winter coat, or suffering from the burrowing mites that cause the uncomfortable and often fatal disease.

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There are very specific ways to interact with wildlife in New York State. The easiest rule of thumb is to never approach a wild animal and to always keep a safe distance. See the NYS DEC's recommendations for New York animal interaction below.

New York Animal Encounters

What do you do if you encounter these animals in the woods of New York?

2 Adorable Arctic Fox Kits Arrive At Wolf Mountain Nature Center in Smyrna

The Wolf Mountain Nature Center in Smyrna welcomes 2 new arrivals, Avalanche (male) and his companion Aurora Borealis (Aurora for short). They will become ambassadors to help teach and bring awareness to all creatures who face diminished habitat availability because of human encroachment and warming global temperatures.