Nashville nonprofit treats 4 times the amount of foxes in 2021, many suffering from mange

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Members of a Nashville nonprofit say they’ve treated four times the amount of foxes this year than usual.

News 2 spoke with Joanna Prosser, an Animal Care Supervisor of Walden’s Puddle about the uptick in fox in the area. She says they’ve seen a lot more of them in East and West Nashville this year.

“We were just looking at the numbers. On an average year, we get about ten foxes. This year, we aren’t even done with the year and we have 37 four times the amount that we normally get. It’s insane,” Prosser explained.

Prosser says they attribute this uptick to the growth in Nashville right now.

“Nashville is booming. As we grow, more land is destroyed more buildings and houses, so they lose their habitats. So as they are pushed closer and closer together mange is spread. Mange is spread through a mite that is spread through contact so as they’re closer together there is going to be more spread,” said Prosser.

Prosser also said the pandemic could be a reason for this increase.

“People are working from home. During quarantine, they may notice they have a mice problem. So they put out rodenticide. That kills the mice slowly so that makes them very easy prey for the fox. For the fox, it’s not a lethal amount, but the more they consume the rodenticide mice.. it weakens their immune system,” Prosser said.

Prosser says they receive tips on the locations of these foxes through their volunteer network.

“People will either post on Facebook stating they saw something and it may be a dog and they don’t know what it is because they’re just skin and bones. We will get people who call because as foxes get more and more sick they start taking shelter around houses. They are desperate for food so they may eat birdseed. They are just pitiful little things wandering around,” Prosser said.

Jerry Vandiver is one of the trappers for Walden’s Puddle.

“Currently we have about 12 traps set up for foxes. He will go set up a trap, check it occasionally, he brings it in and we treat it from there,” Prosser said.

For a fox with a weakened immune system, mange can be deadly.

“It’s really itchy. It gets infected. When they have that over their body, it can lead to sepsis and their organs start shutting down. They’ll come in covered in scabs with their eyes crusted shut. They are skin and bones with sores on their hips. They have no fur and people don’t know they’re a fox,” Prosser said.

Walden’s Puddle aims to rehabilitate injured, sick, and orphaned animals. Prosser says a lot of the animals they treat are hit by cars, and almost all damage is caused by humans.

“We help squirrels, possum, raccoons, birds, and bunnies. We get a lot of raptors like hawks, owls, and falcons. We get other large foxes, gray and red, and coyotes. We get bobcats occasionally and we get turtles. The occasional garter snake. Maybe an amphibian or two and a lot of birds, songbirds, robins, bluebirds, and woodpeckers,” Prosser said.

To learn more about Walden’s Puddle, click here to volunteer or donate.

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