In search of ponies: Residents share neighborhood with fox

Courtesy photo: Karene Cass A fox was spotted sunning on the roof of a north Clovis home Tuesday morning. Residents of the neighborhood say the fox has been sighted off and on for about a year.

Sharna Johnson

Somebody must have told him it was one of the prime neighborhoods in town.

Or maybe he just saw the attributes for himself — after all, who can deny the tranquility of the rolling greens, the shade of wind wisped trees and duck filled ponds.

But even in the beauty of the place, he stands out as unique.

I say he, but the sleek low-slung body might be that of a vixen — not that anyone will ever necesarily know for sure.

The one, undeniable fact? The gray enigma is a fox.

Tuesday morning as a couple was leaving their house in Colonial Park, they saw a gray lump curled atop the shingles of their roof, napping in a warm spot of sun just under its eaves.

As they grabbed their camera and inched forward to capture the moment, he seemed unconcerned, only raising his head to look at them briefly as they snapped his picture.

After all, why should he be concerned —he owns that neighborhood top to bottom.

The gray fox is unique indeed.

A member of the dog family, the gray fox is unique even among other foxes and is one of only two dogs that can climb, most often scurrying up trees to escape predators, in search of sanctuary or better yet, an aviary snack.

Once up the tree, one might actually confuse it with a cat from the way it hops branch to branch.

But the elusive little pooch is perfectly at home on the ground too, taking up residence in hollow stumps and burrows and is believed to clock at a speed of almost 30 mph.

And nocturnal by nature, the gray fox is more like a ghost in the darkness, zooming from here to there in a layer of reality most of us never see.

So while it’s not impossible to catch a glimpse of one — they certainly have their share of two-legged admirers and stalkers — there’s no shame in being excited if you spot one, because it isn’t something you see every day.

I for one was very pleased when the photos were shared with me earlier this week, and even more pleased to learn the fellow is widely admired and left alone in the neighborhood he’s chosen to call home for the last year or so.

Every now and again someone spots him slinking toward the golf course, but rather than calling animal control, they grab their cameras or stand and soak in the sight.

It’s nice to see he’s found welcome there and no one seems to mind him enjoying the amenities.

Residents say they see no signs of trouble-making and since no one’s called the authorities to have him evicted for trespassing, it certainly seems to be working out.

And if he’s been there a year, you can bet he’s earning his keep — the needs of his omnivorous pallet likely met between raiding bird nests, culling the rodents that try to double the number of holes on the course and crunching the juicy bugs drawn to the waterways.

It appears to be a toss-up as to who actually owns the neighborhood, for the fox doesn’t seem to recognize any property lines. But the situation seems to bear out the age old adage, “There is no delight in owning anything unshared.”

It’s a good thing too, because spring is in the air, and if residents keep an eye out, by July their hospitality just might encourage some bouncing youngin’s on those greens — after the sun goes down of course.