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Desert Diary
Mammals/Foxy Lady


Different species of animals differ among themselves much as individual humans do. Some adapt readily to new conditions, whereas others seem bound and determined to stick to the often-voiced human attitude of, "But we've always done it that way!". With increasing urbanization, even in our Chihuahuan Desert, some of the more versatile animals have learned to adapt to city life. The University of Texas at El Paso, with many thousands of students, hardly seems a place to observe non-human animals. Yet the feral cats that have staked out territories on the campus are familiar sights.

Less familiar, because active primarily at night, when relatively few students are abroad, are Striped Skunks and Gray Foxes. The skunks are old-timers, having lived on campus for decades with, amazingly, few "accidents". The foxes, however, seemingly have moved in within the past few years, and although showing caution, display little fear during their evening rounds. Both species have successfully raised families on campus. We've finally arrived at the point where a student pointing out a foxy lady may not mean a co-ed!
pen and ink

Listen to the Audio (mp3 format) as recorded by KTEP, Public Radio for the Southwest.


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.

gray fox at the den

Heading home. The Gray Fox is about to enter the den within the pile of landscaping boulders on the University of Texas at El Paso campus. Photograph by George Shaw.