Foxy Books

Red Fox: The Catlike Canine
(c)1986, 1996 by J. David Henry
published by the Smithsonian Institute Press
ISBN 1-56098-635-2 (paperback)

As much a story about field biology and behavioural research as it is about foxes, Red Fox: The Catlike Canine is a good companion to How to Spot a Fox by the same author. The two pieces share much of the same information, however this book places a greater emphasis on the field of ethology (animal behaviour) as it relates to the fox. Henry also recounts several of his fox watching experiences and more thoroughly describes some of his field research than in the other work. This second edition includes a new preface detailing some of the recent findings in fox research that occurred since the book´s first release. Examples include new information regarding the fox´s relationship to other members of the dog family, advances in disease control and conservation techniques, and information on some of the more rare fox species.

Major topics covered include the life cycle, diet, and hunting techniques of the fox. Of particular interest will be Henry´s extensive research on the anatomy involved behind the fox´s amazing ´mousing leaps´, and his experiments regarding caching and scavenging behaviour. While much of the book reads like a scientific paper, Henry also relates several anecdotes from both in field and other settings which show some of unexpected places a researcher may draw insight. These stories give the reader a glimpse into what it may be like to work in animal research.

The preface includes several colour photos, however the majority of the book´s illustrations are black and white. How to Spot a Fox would probably be a better book for the casual reader interested in foxes, while Red Fox: Catlike Canine gives an interesting look at how all the facts were gathered, while providing some fascinating information of it´s own. An index and extensive bibliography are included, as well as several end notes that refer the reader to other animal research. 174 pages.

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Richard T. Matheson
(c) 1997 by FoxSTAR Arts