Kit fox suffering from mange should be back on the streets in 4 to 6 weeks
A very sick kit fox is starting several weeks of treatment that should lead to it being released back in Taft.
The fox, emaciated and badly infected with scarcoptic mange, was trapped in the 800 block of Center Street by a pair wildlife biologist with the CSU Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Rrogram.
The sick animal, an adult female, has been seen in the area for several days.
It has a severe mange infection, with scabs coverings its muzzle and much of its body, including the hindquarters and tail.
Mange, pontentially lethal to the animals if left untreated, has become a major problem in the kit fox population, biologist Erica Kelly said.
The infected fox was spotted Friday morning by Midway Driller employees, who notified the biologists.
They drove over from Bakersfield with traps and were able to quickly locate the fox under a ramp to a small metal storage building.
Traps were set around the edges and biologist, Tory Westall jumped on the ramp, scaring the fox out and right into the trap.
It was then transferred from the trap to a cloth bag and will be taken to CALM for treatment for the mite infection that causes mange.
Despite the infection, this fox should survive with about four to six weeks of treatment, Kelly said.
When it recovers, it will be released back in the downtown area.
It is not the only infected fox living in the community.
She said there are several infected foxes around Taft College that they are attempting to trap and treat as well.
People are cautioned not to approach or try to care for a sick fox themselves.
The kit fox is a federally protected endangered species and it is illegal for the public to trap or handle kit foxes.
Scarcoptic mange in foxes is a fairly a new problem in this area.
It is caused by a microscopic mite that burrows into the skin.
It is characterized by a variety of skin problems including sever itching and hair loss and can lead to serious, even fatal health issues.
The hair loss and skin condition can lead to a compromised immune system and other diseases and the inability to regulate their temperature, causing hypothermia and weight loss to the point the animal dies.
Scarcoptic mange is contagious to domestic dogs, but mostly through direct contact.
It is treatable with topical or oral medications.
Some heartworm medications can prevent mange infection.