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Kitsun E. Coyote (SUPER GENIUS!)


8 x 16, mixed media

I’m just gonna throw this out—red foxes are freaky.

You can scour the internet and find many many images of them being adorable, but the one time I met one in the wild and we stared at each other for a few minutes, it was not cute, it was not cuddly, and only a lunatic would try to scratch it behind the ears.

It was unexpectedly tall and incredibly thin. Its fur was not sleek, but stuck out in gouts and rags. It was shockingly orange. And it had the most alien eyes I have ever seen in a mammal. They were practically reptilian.

It was a beautiful animal, but it was not a pretty one. I could see why they filled the same mythological niche as fairies—as something arbitrary and dangerous and not necessarily well-inclined. But I sure as hell didn’t want to hug it. Actually, I took a step back and was suddenly glad of the sliding glass door between us. (And I love animals with the grim holding-them-while-they-flail-and-claw-and-pee-on-you love common to vet’s offices.)

So I set out to do a painting about how damn wicked foxes look, and I was almost there and Kevin came up behind me and said “Wile E. Coyote…SUPER GENIUS!”


Prints available, as always, original going to FC.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


Our occasional foxes have been more kempt than yours (I've managed to miss the rabid ones that have been encountered within two miles of my house!) but they have been shockingly orange, running like flame across our field.

(Edited to fix typos.)

Edited at 2012-10-17 02:17 am (UTC)

kitsune are the strangest of things.

I have never seen a fox in real life look nearly as photogenic as the interwebs would have you believe. I absolutely love the creepy look this guy has. He's plotting the downfall of the dog saint, I think.

"The grim holding-them-while-they-flail-and-claw-and-pee-on-you love" describes my new job. :P We've got a collection of about 30 critters native to the local area, and I have been peed on by more new and exciting critters in the last few months than ever before. We trimmed our box turtle's nails today, and your commentary on the bladder capacity of an enraged turtle cracked my coworker up to no end. (There was much cleanup. Also, I had no IDEA how much crap a screech owl can produce in an hour.)

Kevin is a bad, bad man. But the Kitsune/coyote does look VERY plotterific.

All your hens are belong to us!

Have you read Kij Johnson's "Fox Magic" in her recent collection? I think that's the name of the story, and the collection is At the Mouth of the River of Bees, but she catches that.

Oh, my god. I love her stories So Much. Fox magic was beautiful and sad.

The snout is wide, like a coyote. A fox has a much more narrow one.

Kitsune turn into all manner of things, and are tricksters. Usually female, and... a bit vain? Very likely one of them set up a flirtation with Coyote, and, well, a three-tailed Kitsun-yote has resulted...

From reading "The Fox and the Hound" (which is nothing at all like the movie) I learned that the more beautiful foxes are the ones who live far away from human settlement and learn to live by their wits. The ones who live near humans tend to become like rats, scraggly things that live on cast-off food and easy pickings.

Hee hee!

We have one who comes around, who is actually a kind of gray-ticked creature. It, too, is incredibly thin, and when it shakes its ears, it does so in a gingerly, "losing my balance" kind of way, poor thing. It eats empty sunflower seed shells that the birds toss off the bird feeder on the railing. We call it Hungry Fox.

Its face looks... Hm. Like a cat's, really. With a terribly thin, elongated nose, and the ears are the wrong shape, and the poor thing just looks like an Oriental Shorthair cat. Kind of. Without looking very much like one at all.

I swear, the poor thing is so hungry I wish I could domesticate it.

I am not recommending this or taking any position on whether one _should_ do this:

I know of a woman who had a vixen hanging around her house who had a broken leg and several kits. So she started leaving dog food for it. It's leg healed enough for it to go off and take up life again, and the kits survived.

To get back at Kevin, you'll now have to do another picture of the sparkledog.

The only fox I've ever seen up-close was a domesticated one (who had been a rescue), and was rather chubby . . . but I noticed just how startlingly similar the fox's eyes were to her "owner's" . . .

Details on Miss Snooks, for anyone interested.

Love your plotting Kitsun-yote!

-- A <3

So, it didn't do this: http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/post/33302318993/funny-face-fox ?

Also, all this red/orange fox talk is really gratifying because I dressed up as a fox a few Halloweens ago and painted my face and I talked to a Swedish friend and she had no idea what I was, saying, "But foxes are brown!" I assume it's a northern European thing.

The fox photo that I posted just above your comment is a British fox, fwiw -- found and raised in East Sussex :)

Perhaps further north, they're more brown?


All the foxes I've seen here in Aussieland have been corpses by the side of the road after being hit by cars and semi-trailers... but they're also feral introduced animals, so I don't feel that sad for them.

Weren't they introduced to control the rabbits that were introduced?

And they will shriek like eviscerated dogs in the night! I had no idea what was doing it till I caught one screaming at a cat that had laid down (as if bored) on our front step.

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I admit that while I understand your description-- because foxes do sometimes look alien, and I think that's because of the vertical pupils-- every time I've seen one in the flesh it has, in fact, been cuter than hell. My mom used to feed 'em dog chow when they'd come out to snap mouthfuls of gypsy moths out of the air under the street lamps at night. And once I saw one walking up the middle of Interstate 95 in northern Maine with a huge pheasant hanging out of its mouth, looking pleased as punch.

But this is a beautiful piece. *sigh* Someday when I have my own house, I will mass order hundreds of prints.

That is the second time Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius has been invoked today inside my field of observation, and neither time by me. Hmmm.