WILTON, Iowa-- Sergeant David Clark with the Wilton Police Department says people are used to seeing a few foxes here and there around town. But over the past week, the police station has been getting a lot of calls from people seeing them everywhere.
"It's just not normal," Sgt. Clark says. "This year we seem to have an influx. On average, we get at least a few calls, but sometimes it's upwards of six or ten calls a day, reference just people seeing foxes in the area."
The canines have been spotted near the elementary school playground and by the cemetery across town. People commenting on Facebook have seen them near a trailer park and in their own neighborhoods.
Sgt. Clark says people have been calling in about the foxes because of their somewhat frazzled appearance.
"They're looking a little rough," he says.
Several photos on Facebook show foxes that are thin, losing their fur and missing their trademark fluffy tails.
"They're having that winter coat start to come off so they might be shedding some of that fur," says Derrick Slutts, a conservation officer with the Iowa DNR. "I know it's hard to talk about mange but that could be a possibility though."
Slutts says mange is a skin disease caused by mites. It can be fatal for foxes and can transfer to coyotes and dogs. He says that's rare and people don't have much reason to be concerned.
"It seems like we get an uptick in animals getting out and about," Slutts says. "It's their mating season, coming up here, especially with fox."
Slutts reminds people not to leave food out for the foxes. He says if they start damaging property, you can pay to have them trapped and relocated. Otherwise, they typically avoid people, pets and children.
"They're solitary animals," he says. "They don't want to be around people or pets. And they're gonna be more scared of you than you are of them."