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Hairless Grey Foxes in North Carolina

Professor identifies mystery creature:

The odd-looking animal spotted in several Piedmont counties last year evidently was a hairless gray fox.

That’s the conclusion of Jaap Hillenius. He examined the carcass of a similar animal that had been hit by a car in the Charleston, S.C., area.

So it wasn’t an exotic cross-species, though some central North Carolina residents who spotted the animals had reported it having the head of a cat and the body of a canine.

Just a fox sans hair because of a mutant gene, said Hillenius, associate professor in the biology department at College of Charleston.

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Apparently, there are many around and they are all over the place. The hairy foxes do not discriminate against them either – they feed side by side.

Comments

  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    February 21, 2007

    Last summer I saw (in a suburb of Philadelphia) a hairless fox with a pronounced limp and what appeared to an open wound. I had assumed that the hairlessness was due to an infection related to the wound. But maybe not.

  2. #2 J-Dog
    February 21, 2007

    Aren’t all the Xtian foxes in the area upset with the Fox Nudity running rampant through their community? How will Bill O’Reilly spin the fox’s contribution to the “hairless epidemic”?

    What does Edwards plan to do about this? I would ask his blogmaster, but I guess she’s not there anymore…

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 21, 2007

    though some central North Carolina residents who spotted the animals had reported it having the head of a cat and the body of a canine.

    Yeah and some people see the virgin mary on a grilled cheese.

  4. #4 Roy
    February 21, 2007

    If you’d look hard enough you could see the virgin mary in a loogie.

    If you do, try eBay, maybe turn some scoots on it.

  5. #5 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 22, 2007

    The Lost World Museum, a creationist museum in New York state, has the bones of one of these, which they are calling a Chupacabra.

  6. #6 mark
    March 7, 2007

    Somebody was blogging about this mystery critter a few months back–was that you? As I recasll, some commenters thought it looked like a hairless fox. I guess that was a good call, based on a less-than-ideal photo.
    Oh, and for Your Reverendship–I just saw someplace where you can purchase Virgin Mary branding irons for creating your own blessed-image grilled cheese sandwiches.

  7. #7 Monado
    August 16, 2007

    I had a post in June called Cryptozoology Chupacabras, in which I guessed it might be a hairless dog. The Lost World museum has a photo of a carcass, but someone has tucked in its front legs and pulled on its back legs to make it look wierder.

  8. #8 Debra Welch
    October 5, 2007

    We spotted a creature we thought at first was a baby deer, but too small. Then it started walking like a dog but had the head of a cat! It had a long tail but no hair.It looks like the hairless foxes others have photographed. This was in Perryville, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay.

  9. #9 logan bryson
    March 21, 2008

    I have seen one of these foxes in Annapolis Maryland along with two other foxes with hair but the one without hair is alown and doesnt interact with the two that have hair.

  10. #10 todd young
    August 4, 2008

    are there any hairless foxes in southern california, i saw one today that had been hit by a car .it was a female,black with grey spots about the size of a coyote. in desert hot springs california.

  11. #11 April Krovic
    April 8, 2009

    I saw this creature in my housing development in Harrisburg Pennsylvania last week. I have been searching the internet to determine what it was. I’m so glad to finally know what it is and that I’m not crazy. My daughter, her friend and I had the exact thoughts as a previous blogger when we saw it ….it appeared to be half dog, half cat,and a certain way you looked at it, it looked like a small deer. This fox ate 14 eggs that a wild duck laid and had been sitting on under a bush in our front yard. I hope I never see this creature again!!

  12. #12 angie
    May 19, 2009

    I saw this fox at Oak Island last week. Very skinny, out at all hours of the day. I thought this was very strange and went looking for more info when I found your site. The photo you’ve posted is definitely a likeness to the one I saw.

  13. #13 daniel schlak
    June 19, 2009

    I’m 99% sure i saw this hairless fox today in Fort Hunt Park, Alexandria VA. It’s skin was a bit mottled, not much like the photo here. I also thought it was a baby deer. it was sitting and jumped up and off into the brush when it saw me. When i went to peer over the edge of the brush to see if he was still around i noticed another (hairy) fox walking towards me. It quickly fled into the same brush. So i waited, and eventually saw one of them five feet up a small tree, chasing, to all appearances, a mockingbird (good luck). This seems to match the other entries here. But, the ears of the second fox were very red. In fact it’s the only thing i was able top catch. Does anyone know what that means? I assume it’s another gray fox. But i haven’t seen pictures of one with such red ears.

  14. #14 daniel schlak
    June 19, 2009

    I’m sure i saw this hairless fox today in Fort Hunt Park, Alexandria VA. It’s skin was a bit mottled, not so much like the photo here. I also thought it was a baby deer. it was sitting and jumped up and off into the brush when it saw me. When i went to peer over the edge of the brush to see if he was still around i noticed another (hairy) fox walking towards me. It quickly fled into the same brush. So i waited, and eventually saw the hairless one (at first i’d thought it a dog, and now this thing in the tree seemed like a cat, and i was confused until i found this blog) five feet up a small tree. This info seems to match the other entries here. But, the ears of the second fox were very red. In fact it’s the only thing i was able top catch. I assume it was another gray fox. But i haven’t seen pictures of one with such red ears. Also, the fox got about a foot from a mockingbird that was at the top of the tree before it flew away. Could it have been preying on it?

  15. #15 steven a gibson
    July 11, 2009

    I saw one that looked just like the one in the photo. I thought iut might be a choopacobra. but now i know it was a hairless fox. it was spotted at ocean isle beach nc. on the island

  16. #16 maureen
    July 23, 2009

    i saw an animal that looked like this in Bailey’s Crossroad’s, right across the county line from Alexandria. I saw in on the early morning of July 20th and wondered what it was.

  17. #17 bigmike
    September 23, 2009

    A news story recently appeared where a hairless fox was stealing golf balls out of a Colorado man’s yard where he had installed a putting green. The poor fox must have thought they were eggs! The man set up a camera and got some really good shots of the hairless fox. The article said the following:

    “According to the [Colorado Division of Wildlife], the hairless fox is actually a red fox that has lost its hair. The hair loss is thought to be caused thyroid problems or genetic diseases.

    Mange can also cause hair loss, however none of the foxes tested in the Steamboat area exhibited any of the main symptoms associated with mange.”

    All these hairless foxes look too alert and uniformly healthy to me be genetically diseased or mange-y foxes. I wonder if the might be an unknown species or at least a naturally occuring variety of native or red fox that isn’t recognized by science. At any rate, the CDW did say they tested the animals.. I don’t know if that was genetic testing but then again why wouldn’t you if you are a wildlife expert and had one right there in front of you? LOL

    Here’s a link to the article (with pictures):
    http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=123483&provider=top&catid=188

  18. #18 TOOTIE
    October 17, 2009

    We have had a little gray fox and her mate living in and raising their babies in our back yard for several years. They are the most delightful little creatures I have ever encountered. During the hottest Texas summer months they lose a lot of their hair except for the bushy tails and appear almost bald, but grow it back in the fall.

  19. #19 lunkerseeker
    October 20, 2009

    Saw one of these two days in a row chasing birds on the beach while surf-fishing in Fenwick Island Delaware in mid-September. Looked completely hairless to me, tail longer than its legs, skinny, somewhat emaciated, grey-brown skin, big ears. Easily camouflaged in the dune grass. It was quite brave and got within 10 yards of me (but not so close that I feared rabies etc.) trying to catch birds that were facing the ocean and off-guard — completely silent approach. It would gallop up into the dune grass then gallop back down trying to surprise its prey. Almost a cat-like prance as it ran.

  20. #20 JB in NC
    November 24, 2009

    I saw this exact animal this fall in my side yard. I live just east of Raleigh, NC. I pulled into my driveway around 9:00PM, and it was standing in the headlights for about 10 seconds, then dashed into the woods. I wish I had my camera handy.

  21. #21 Foy & Kaherine Bayliff
    April 28, 2010

    Today, (04/28/10) this type animal moved through our neighborhood. We live at 758 Martin Ave. in Graham, NC 27253
    We both saw this animal and it seemed normal.

  22. #22 darwinsdog
    April 29, 2010

    A couple years ago there was a hairless canid on the experimental farm where I work. It looked like a skinny whippet dog. It loved to be in the spray of the impact sprinklers. It turned out to be a coyote with sarcoptic mange.

  23. #23 Danielle
    May 5, 2010

    I just saw one when I pulled into the driveway (at 3:30pm), outside of Monroe, NC. I did not know what it was. It had the head of a cat w/ a fox-like body. I chased it under another car, under the back porch, through the bushes, across the front yard & into the woods across the street. It was very fast & looked well fed. Had to come look it up on the computer, where I found this site.

  24. #24 DF In CT
    May 24, 2010

    I live in Bristol Connecticut and I am so happy to find out what this animal is. I saw a tan bodied, hairless fox 2 weeks ago at 7:45 in the morning. When I first saw him I thought he might be a type of fox because of his movements and body structure, but the hairlessness threw me. As a matter of fact that long, thin tail is really creepy. As we have many fox in the area, I am not surprised that this is truly a fox and my search for unusual looking short haired dogs is over. Does anyone know what type if disease it contracted to become hairless?

  25. #25 rdk
    June 7, 2010

    i saw two of these hairless foxes 2 years ago right here in my backyard, the sounds, intracoastal waterway, they were out in my backyard in broad daylight daring me to come near them.
    I took a shot at one,as it appeared to have rabies snarling
    and foaming at the mouth ( but more like dripping saliva intensely) then a 3rd one showed itself and jumped over the one i shot. they all ran east towards the ocean.
    since then it seems they are still here and have ate some neighbors pet rabbits 2010) oh yeah and coyotes are making a HUGE comeback here too, see them all over the place.

  26. #26 MLP
    June 10, 2010

    My yard person saw a hairless fox (grey(gray) fox) in my front yard today at noon as he mowed the lawn. He informed me that he saw this fox and for me to be careful while working in my flowers.. He was very concerned that the fox may be rabid since he is a nocturnal animal and showed up in the broad daylight with no fear of his surroundings. How do I handle this situation? I live in unincorporated Kernersville, NC. After a few minutes, the fox dashed into the woods nearby.

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