Red Fox Smells the Flowers at Montreal’s Botanical Gardens

photograph of a Red Fox among the plants at the Montreal Botanical Garden, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Red Fox sniffs among Delicate plants - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

As Bob and I were about to leave Montreal’s Botanical Gardens, after a day-long tour of the wonderful Mosaicultures 2013 on exhibit, we came upon a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) sniffing around the various plants in one specialized garden.  What a surprise to find this wild creature quite at home in urban Montreal.

Montreal Botanical Garden Mosaiculture sign - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

Montreal’s Botanical Gardens occupies 75 hectares in the heart of Montreal, and as we walked in among the over 30 different types of gardens, we saw an endless variety of plants and flowers.  In fact, over 22,000 different types of plants can be found on the grounds.

The Boars of Sally Island (one boar) - Mosaiculture Montreal Botancial Gardens

The day we visited, Bob and I saw various wild beasts, rustic animals made of mud, sticks and dried grass such as The Boars of Sally Island,

Wolf created out of wood at Montreal Botanical Gardens - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

and woodland creatures made of boreal lichen and mosses like this wolf that is howling at the moon,

Red Fox checks out the blue flowers - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

but the last thing we expected to have cross our path in the perfectly manicured and refined space was a fluffy red fox.  Its sheer existence at the Montreal Botanical Gardens substantiates the conviction espoused by organizers of this year’s mosaiculture competition in one of their underlying themes, Nature in the Urban Environment.  The organizers could not have asked for a more perfect example of the symbiosis between Man and Nature.

Red Fox enjoys plants at Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

Much like us, the fox seemed to be enjoying the scents of the assorted plantings in the garden at hand.

Red Fox smells plants - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

The cunning little red fox thoroughly surveyed its surroundings but paid little attention to us.

Red Fox sniffs yawns among the plants - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

All that hard work seemed to make him a little tired…

Red Fox hides amongst green leaves - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

but in speaking with one of the gardeners, we learned that this red fox is probably more worn out from having raised a recent litter of six kits with its mate.  The two are now on their own again as the litter was removed from the Garden and relocated to an appropriate habitat elsewhere once the young were old enough to be separated from the adult pair.

Red Fox at Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

Although the foxes pose no problem within the Botanical Gardens, the property is just not large enough to adequately support the lives of 8 foxes.  Add to that the fact that the adult pair is quite comfortable around people.  Extrapolate that behaviour, and you could end up with 8 foxes getting up too close and personal with the millions of people who visit the Garden each year.

Red Fox sniffs ground - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

Red Foxes are particularly adept at thriving in an urban environment and scavenge successfully on anything that humans eat, but at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, there was next to zero litter, so I expect this red fox resorted to a more normal diet of rodents, rabbits, birds and any other small creature, including frogs.

Red Fox walks among plants - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

It is thought that urban foxes are evolving into a different species from their country cousins because of the availability of man-made food, different survival skills that come with living in a city, and a lack of fear of humans.

Red Fox heads down the trail - Montreal Botanical Garden - Frame To Frame Bob & Jean

Whatever the case may be, this Red Fox gave up on its search for a free lunch and headed off into the forested habitat within the Garden.  I’m sure it will delight more visitors when next it creeps out from under the bushes along the Garden trails.

Your May Also Enjoy:

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Red foxes wintering in Algonquin Provincial Park

eastern wolf, algonquin park, ontario, pic 1

An Eastern Wolf in Algonguin Park

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean


  • You are lucky to have seen this fox. My sister, who lives near the garden, told me she often sees a fox. It must be one of the two you mention.
    I saw the mosaicultures last week – Your pictures of it are wonderful.

  • Painted turtles are a favorite food of red foxes.

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