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Description: Animals as metaphors: The way of the Fox (intelligence)

Go to the fox explanationThere are 21 species of fox that can be found in most parts of the world and in varied climates. The fox is one of the most uniquely skilled and ingenious animals of nature. Almost all foxes have sharp snouts, large ears (which dissipate heat), long, bushy tails and long, thin legs. The coat of the fox serves as a camouflage, and most fox coats have variations in color within them. The fox is adept at concealment. When it runs, the fox tail is always in a horizontal position out from the body, acting as a rudder. Although a fox dislikes getting wet, it is an excellent swimmer. The legs of a fox are adapted for running. They have tremendous stamina. Few animals of a similar size can outrun a fox. The hearing of a fox is acute, capable of picking up the squeal of a mouse over 150 yards away. Most foxes have only one partner. They also live alone about five months of the year. Although foxes are territorial and travel within that territory, they do return to their den. The fox is a survivor and great hunter, managing to survive despite encroachment on its territory. Some claim that the fox's cleverest hunting technique is "charming." Nearing its prey, the fox begins to slyly perform various antics--leaping, jumping, rolling, chasing itself--so that it charms the prey's attention. While performing, the fox draws closer to its unsuspecting prey. Then at the right moment, it leaps to capture its prey. The most common fox in North America is the red fox.
The fox has a long history of magic and cunning associated with it. The Indians of central California regarded the silver fox as a culture-hero while in Siberia the crafty messenger from Hell, who lured the legendary hero underground, was often depicted in the shape of a black fox. In the orient, it was believed that foxes were capable of assuming human form. In the Ch'u Kingdom of China foxes were believed to possess plenty of vital force because they live in the earth and are therefore close to the generative powers of the Earth itself. The Cherokees invoke fox medicine to prevent frostbite, and Hopi shamans always wear fox skins for their healing rites. The Choctaw saw fox as the protector of the family unity. Apaches credited fox for sticking its tail fur into the flame and stealing fire for humans.

The fox is associated with working to blend in with the surroundings, to come and go unnoticed, and to move silently. According to both Native American and Druidic belief, fox medicine involves adaptability, cunning, observation, integration, diplomacy and swiftness of thought and action.

The fox serves as the icon for intelligence, the third element of heroism.


maphttp://www.ksu.edu/wwparent/programs/hero/hero-des-fox.htm--Revised June 15, 2005
Copyright © 1996-2005 Charles A. Smith. All rights reserved.