Have you been seeing a lot of foxes lately? No need to panic. Here’s why they may be popping up in your backyard or being spotted out and about.

On my way into work this week, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of roadkill on the side of the highway. It was seemingly more than usual, and it always seemed to resemble a dog. I started to notice reports online of frequent fox sightings and that’s when I realized that these poor animals are the victims of the fast cars on the road.

Why are they traveling out more and why are they getting comfortable in residential backyards?

A woman from Arlington, Massachusetts by the name of Sonia Hamel had an answer.

Her post has since gone viral and made its way onto my newsfeed.

“This is the beginning of Fox Pup season," she wrote. "Foxes are coming in close to people to raise their families because there are coyotes who will kill fox pups and so the fox come in closer to humans to have their litters.”

Coyotes roam all over the SouthCoasts and foxes have learned that inching closer towards people will keep coyotes at bay and keep their pups safe.

Mass Wildlife calls foxes “opportunistic feeders and their primary foods include small rodents, squirrels, rabbits, birds, eggs, insects, vegetation, and fruit.” They will not view your dog as a meal; however; they have been known to mistake cats for dinner, so be cautious about letting your cat outdoors during early January to early March.

I spoke with Terry Cripps, Director at Fairhaven Animal Shelter, and here's what he had to say:

"The main reason they are visiting us in our backyards is for food. Food sources are very low at this time of year so they will find it wherever they can. Foxes will often make a den under our sheds at this time of year for safety. If people notice them (and don't want them around) an easy solution is to place ammonia soaked rags around the shed. This will most likely make them relocate to another area."

So don’t be alarmed by fox sightings. If anything, know that your backyard has become a safe haven for a mother in need.

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