20 / OutdoorIllinois August 2006 August 2006 OutdoorIllinois / 21
borer in Illinois
They’ve officially struck Illinois.
The destructive, non-native
emerald ash borer has been
found in a residential area in
Kane County. A native of Asia,
the slender, elongated, metallic-green
beetle probably arrived in
Detroit in packing material from
China, and in less than 10 years
infestations have been found in
Michigan, Indiana, Maryland,
Ohio and Ontario—and now Illi-nois.
Because adults can fly only
short distances, the primary
means of beetle dispersal is in
firewood and plant nursery stock.
Beetle larvae burrow into
the bark of ash trees, eventually
killing the tree. Signs of infesta-tion
include D-shaped holes
in the bark, branches or shoots,
and thinning or yellowing leaves.
You can help curb the
assault. Do not take firewood out
of the area where it was cut.
Burn firewood the season it is
cut and before the next growing
season. Campers should not
transport firewood to the camp-ground,
but purchase wood cut
in the area. Additionally, all wood
should be burned during your
stay and not saved for your next
If you suspect you have an
infestation, contact your county
Extension office or call the
Department of Agriculture’s toll-free
hotline at 800-641-3934.
The DNR Illinois Biodiversity
Field Trip Grant program is
adjusting its grant application
process to provide a single,
annual application period rather
than two application periods
each year. The next grant appli-cation
deadline for the program
is Jan. 31, 2007. The program
is funded by private donors—
the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice
Foundation in Skokie, the Inde-pendence
Tube Corporation of
Chicago and the United
Bowhunters of Illinois—through
the Illinois Conservation Foun-dation.
Grants are provided to
school teachers to help cover
costs associated with taking
their students on field trips to
explore the biodiversity of Illi-nois
ecosystems. The revised
application form is available at
www.dnr.state.il.us or by calling
Agreat way to keep current on
news from the Department
of Natural Resources is to read
the press releases posted on our
website. Bookmark www.dnr.
htm and visit it often. Recent
Recreational Trails Program
Grants Announced. (Gov. Rod
R. Blagojevich awarded more
than $700,000 in grants for
The red fox has a reputation:
He’s sly. He’s cunning. He
can sometimes out-fox the
hounds and hunters. But all
of his artfulness is no match
for Brer Rabbit’s quick-thinking in a
As the most widely distributed wild car-nivore
in the world, red foxes have earned
their place in folklore and legend. Their
fame could be attributable to well-devel-oped
senses: Red foxes can locate the
low-frequency rustling of a mouse, their
prey, within one degree of its location.
Some people say they inspire so much
interest because of their foxy good looks:
they often wear an “ember-red” coat with
black leggings and a white-tipped tail.
Red foxes communicate using urine
and vocalizations. Although usually soli-tary,
they form partnerships to raise one
to 10 pups, or kits, in dens that can be
used year after year. Parents try to
keep up with cleaning, but the
entrances to dens can be littered with
droppings and bones of small mam-mals,
birds and carrion.
Even small invertebrates and fruits
(possibly the fabled sour grapes) make up
their diet, and any leftovers are cached
under leaves or snow. To capture small
rodents, they jump as high as 6 feet into
the air and pin prey with their forelimbs.
Although red foxes are small—only
about 3 and a half feet long and 8 to 15
pounds—they use their tails for balance
and can run up to 30 miles per hour.
Their range covers all of Illinois, and
their preference is for grasslands near
forest edges. However, they increasing-ly
call the city “home,” where rabbits and
rodents are abundant.
The red fox: always foxy, sometimes
able to out-fox, and ever the muse for a
species that sees itself reflected in that
Story By Rachel D. Mahan
Photo By Adele Hodde
Sly as a Vulpes vulpes
Rachel D. Mahan is a senior at the Universi-ty
of Missouri-Columbia, pursuing degrees in
both biology and English with an emphasis in
nonfiction creative writing. She’s also con-ducted
research on the gray treefrog, a com-mon
frog that visits back-porch lights (for
their ‘bug buffets’) in the summer.
Although present throughout the
ember-furred red fox is a rare sight
due to its nocturnal lifestyle.
(Inset photo by James E. Appleby, Univ. of Illinois Copyright.)
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