Interesting Photo of the Day: Red Foxes Sparring in Alaska

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, red foxes are idealized for their sly intelligence and thievery, and due to their amazing speed and lovely crimson fur, they are coveted for sport and fashion alike. We know all about their mischief-making, how they have a penchant for stealing chickens, and how they sometimes befriend coon hounds and break our hearts slowly, like Todd in the Disney movie The Fox and the Hound.

Foxes are also remarkably territorial, and even young foxes, called “kits,” will fight violently to establish dominance over their siblings, as in this photo:

foxes fight alaska

Photo by Robert Dreeszen, National Geographic Your Shot (via imgur, click to see full size)

This particular stance is called “sparring,” wherein each fox stands up on its hind legs and tries to push its opponent to the ground. Often these fights are accompanied by whines, growls, yelps, and even screams. Sparring is the characteristic fighting style of a territorial battle. Since these foxes are still kits, they have no territory of their own to defend yet, but kits often practice with one another to establish dominance within the family unit and to sharpen their fighting skills for future battles.

National Geographic Your Shot contributor Robert Dreeszen captured this photo along the Ugashik River in the Alaska Peninsula, near his home.

“This area, in the southeastern part of the 49th state, is home to waterways, volcanoes, and a variety of wildlife,” Dreeszen said, adding that he and his wife “explore the local area with [the] goal of preserving the quality of experience.”

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