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During the middle 1990’s, my wife, Veronica, and I used to go to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey during the late afternoon during the winter months to see red foxes, Vulpes vulpes. They always seemed to be there. Island Beach State Park has a single main road that runs from the entrance about ten miles south. At its southernmost point, you can either drive onto the beach with a beach buggy permit or park your vehicle and walk out to the beach. The foxes would come out to the roadway and wait for handouts from passerby’s. It made for great opportunities to photograph these magnificent animals. The authorities frowned on people feeding the foxes but the foxes seemed to love it. There were all kinds of offerings: fish, tuna fish, hot dogs and even Milkbone dog biscuits. 


At sometime during the early 2000’s, the population of red foxes on Island Beach State Park where wiped out. I have been checking on line from time to time to see if there has been a renewal of the population but found nothing.


On the day before President’s Day, Veronica and I decided to take a ride and see if the foxes have returned. We had just left the main entrance into the park and about a quarter of a mile up there was a red fox standing on the side of the road. I pulled over to the side (this is also frowned upon) and took a few quick photos through the open driver’s side window. The fox didn’t stay around long and trotted off into the woods. Veronica and I looked at each other and smiled. Maybe they are back! We drove to the southern most part of the park and didn’t see another fox. We headed north and were about a mile from the main entrance and still no foxes. We did a u-turn and made another round trip without a sighting.


We were beginning to think that we might not be as lucky as we have been in the past and decided to call it a day. In almost the same place that we saw the red fox on the way in – we saw it again. We were so close to the main entrance that we didn’t dare park on the side of the road so we made another u-turn and drove to the first parking area which I think was at least a half mile from where we saw the fox.


We grabbed out winter coats (it was about 40° F) and my camera and tripod and walked down the road. We saw a few cars stop and admire the fox. Veronica said that she felt that we should run as not to miss the fox. I told her that if it was still there in all the time that we were in the park that it was a good chance that it would be there if we walked. As we approached the area, the fox was in the middle of the road and when it saw us, hot footed it towards the parks entrance. We weren’t sure what to do so I set up my tripod where we had seen the fox and Veronica walked towards the entrance. She saw the fox trot into the brush after a rabbit and decided to head back towards where I was. Low and behold, about two minutes later, the fox trotted onto the road south of our position and stopped across the road from us. There was something to eat along the side of the road. I don’t know what it was but we could smell something foul.

I think that we were out of the foxes discomfort zone because it acted like we were not there. It would retreat into the brush when cars would drive by. When a passing car stopped to talk to us, the fox trotted into the road to see if they had anything to offer. They were more concerned about our safety because the driver had been bitten by a red fox. We told them that we were fine and did not feel threatened by the fox.


It was nearing sunset and the light was getting very low when the fox decided that it was time to leave. Veronica and I stayed at our site for about fifteen minutes to see if the fox would return. It did not and we made the long walk back to our vehicle.

There are so many crazy things going on in our lives right now that we have neglected some of the things that we love the most. I don’t know whether this is the only red fox to return to Island Beach State Park but I wish the fox well. It provides an incredible view of wildlife that most of us don’t see. I remember my ride to work last week on the Garden State Parkway. A red fox was in the middle of four lanes. It looked like it had already been hit but was sitting up – swaying from side to side like someone who has had too much to drink. It broke my heart to know that I couldn’t help the fox and that its lifespan was limited. Now I wish that he had found his way to Island Beach State Park.

Tp see more of my red fox photos, visit the  red fox section of my photo gallery.

© 2009, Herb Segars. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2009 Herb Segars Photography Blog

31 Comments so far »

  1. Colleen
    11:48 pm on February 16th, 2009

    Your pics of the red fox are great.

  2. Donna
    10:54 am on February 19th, 2009


    Thank you again for this wonderful journey to Island Beach State Park and the Red Fox. This is another story you shared that helped me realize that living in NJ is not that bad. I have inquired about Island Beach not too long ago from colleagues and have been very eager to visit when the weather gets warmer. But after reading your story, it made me even more excited to check out Island Beach and you have definitely taught me to open my eyes to many more incredible wildlife in my backyard.

  3. dave
    12:38 pm on February 24th, 2009

    Wow. How fortunate is that to see a fox there, when that is just what you wanted to do. Thanks for sharing this story and the great pictures. Island Beach is a real treasure!

  4. Harold Douglas
    12:22 pm on March 5th, 2009

    Was at the park last week saw a red fox last weekend. March 09 took a few shots and some video.
    I also saw a seal resting on the beach

  5. Anne
    10:16 pm on March 7th, 2009

    My husband and I were just at Island Beach SP today (3/7) and we were lucky enough to see two foxes from the road, both within about 1/4 mile of the entrance kiosk, as we were leaving the park at 5:45. (We hadn’t seen any at Island Beach for years but I didn’t realize that this is because there had been none to see. The first couple of times we visited we saw several.) Anyway I googled them because they were a color form we’d never seen–red with a gray “saddle” across the midsection (one of them was especially dark) — and we wondered whether these were unique to Island Beach.(?)

  6. Geri Oliva
    6:29 pm on March 29th, 2009

    I saw a red fox in my backyard last night at around midnight. I was actually looking out for an opossum who has been around recently. The fox may have attacked something shortly before I looked out because I heard a disturbance. Would the fox attack an opossum? I’ll keep an eye out in case the fox returns and try to get a photo. I live in Upper Freehold Township in Western Monmouth County (near Allentown).

  7. keith
    1:17 am on April 4th, 2009
  8. Courtney
    2:35 am on April 19th, 2009

    I have some information for you- I live in South Seaside Park, about 5 blocks from IBSP. I agree that these animals are gorgeous and wildlife itself is a spectacular part of NJ to take part in. However, this past month I spotted a red fox in my backyard. It is expected because of how close I am to IBSP but was concerned for my dog and 2 cats. In the last month I have seen 4 fox running around together and I am not sure if there are more. They have made my street there new home and I hear cries all throughout the night of them chasing stray cats and other animals. They’ve come out to try and attack my dog. During the day they run through my backyard and at night they run up and down the streets. I don’t know what to do about this issue because I am frightful for the safety of my pets, myself, and the soon arrival of the summer vacationers who will have children running around the streets. I have no information on red fox and am afraid to call animal control because I don’t know what they will do to these misplaced animals. Any info or help you can give me I would greatly appreciate. my email is Maybe, just maybe, I have found your fox!

  9. Phyllis
    6:24 pm on June 7th, 2009

    I live in South Seadise Park next to an empty lot & since Memorial Day I have spotted a red fox walking on the road and resting in the vacant lot during the day. I agree that the Red Fox is a beautiful animal but I also must admit that I am very uneasy about them walking the streets of a community. I contacted the Berkeley Police Dept. to capture the fox and return the animal to Island Beach State Park. I was advised that there is nothing that they can do. In fact, I was told to bang some pots in order to frighten the animal. I really do not see this as a solution. I agree with you that they are beautiful animals and I strongly feel that they should not be roaming the community.

    I would appreciate your input on what can be done to keep them away from the residents in SSP.

  10. Karen Weinberger
    7:40 am on July 14th, 2009

    I live in the pines in south NJ and just spotted my first red fox in my yard! (prompting me to do some research). I own five acres of land, most of which is wooded.
    Is it odd that they are this far up into the pines?
    They are a beautiful sight to behold!

  11. Pamela
    10:18 am on September 7th, 2009

    I was at Island Beach State Park yesterday and we decided to trek through the woods there. We came across a fox that literally stared us down. I do not profess to know much about nature, or a fox’s temperament but I was scared to the point of shaking. I have heard conflicting reports of how a fox will react to people. On another note I am interested if you can offer some insight into the story behind the houses in the woods at Island BEach?

  12. Herb Segars
    4:13 pm on September 7th, 2009


    I really don’t know anything about the houses in the woods at Island Beach State Park. I would suggest contacting the Friends of Island Beach State Park and e-mail them your question. Their url is I am sure that they can give you the information. I understand how you were nervous about the fox but I have never seen one go after a person. I think that they get used to people because people feed them and that may be the reason that the fox didn’t just bolt when it saw you.

  13. Mary
    4:40 pm on September 21st, 2009

    We saw two red foxes (not together) in Island Beach State Park on Saturday, September 19, 2009. The were crossing the road somewhere between the gate and the first nature center.

  14. joyce
    11:18 am on January 10th, 2010

    january 9, 2010

    saw two healthy looking red foxes cross the road between 1 – 2pm.

  15. Jay
    6:01 am on January 11th, 2010

    I saw a fox for the first time in my life last night going onto GSP in Bloomfield, NJ. It was suprising and caught me off guard. I never saw a fox in perosn but knew instantly it was by its trot and size and color. It made me wonder if other people saw foxes in the area. Even in the dark I could see what a beautifiul animnal it was. Never thought I’d see a fox in this area of NJ…Has anyone else seen them in the area?

  16. Susan
    3:45 pm on January 30th, 2010

    Just saw a large Beautiful Red Fox on Bridge Ave in Bay Head last night. It waited for a car to pass then ran across the road towards the lake. I had seen one of the foxes on IBSP in Nov 2009. I never expected on in Bay Head!
    I hope it will always have safe journeys.

  17. carl
    10:40 pm on February 23rd, 2010

    Red Fox
    this is the First time I see A red fox around woodland lake pompton plains Nj07444
    feb23 2010

  18. Dan Evers
    9:36 pm on March 23rd, 2010

    was in south seaside pk the past 2 weeks and saw fox on a regular basis. The last time i saw a fowx was mar 21 on ocean ave and avenue h. The thing snarled at me and ran up the dune and just looked in my direction. I was about 6 feet from it.

  19. Louis Alessi
    7:15 pm on April 5th, 2010

    I went to IBSP today because it was a beautiful warm day for early April. As I paid my $5.00 to enter the park I traveled down the road at a slow 20mph. Up ahead I could see a figure standing in the road, and a person sitting on the side. As I got nearer I realized I was seeing a fox. It looked at me and then went across the road to where the person was sitting. I couldn’t tell if that person was taking photos but I continued driving down the road. On the left side of the road I saw another lone fox going through the brush. By now I was thrilled to see two foxes. I then saw an osprey nest on top op the pole. A lone osprey was sitting on the side of the nest, but I couldn’t tell if there were young ones in the nest. It was worth it to pay $5.00 to see that wildlife in the park.

  20. Bill Boland
    8:28 pm on July 7th, 2010

    I saw a red fox while playing golf at the Atlantic City Country Club this spring!!! (I think it was in March) I had always seen the signs saying “Don’t feed the foxes,” but I figured it was a relic left over from a different time in South Jersey!!! Really cool experience!!!!

  21. Sue Garrish
    12:02 pm on August 6th, 2010

    Really love the story and the pictures. I hope that the foxes return for you. I’m lucky enough to see them quite often ( Kent England) Thank you for your lovely site. Sue.

  22. Art Drescher
    5:38 pm on February 25th, 2011

    I was at the park yesterday and photographed dat least 3 different foxes. There might have been 4. Unfortunately I did see one of them cramming 4 dog biscuits into it’s mouth and trot away. So people are feeding them. They sit in the middle of the road at times and don’t move much for cars.

  23. Brigitte
    4:07 am on December 30th, 2011

    Love your photos. I wish I was prepared to see them today as I visited this park for the first time. Spotted one red fox just past the entrance as I pulled out to let a car pass. After the car passed, I looked up ahead, and within about 6 yards was the most beautiful fox I’d ever seen, looking curiously right at me. I could instantly tell that he was curiously looking for a handout. He hung around quite awhile. My hubby even stepped out to see get a better look and the fox came up a bit closer but since we didn’t have any food, he just hung out in the road near us waiting for other cars. It is sad that this wild animal has grown accustomed to being fed by humans – this shouldn’t happen. I hope the foxes remain in this park.. it’s great to see wildlife return, but people need to be respectful and not feed them and let them remain wild or they become a nussiance and sadly the will then be removed or distroyed.

  24. TonyK
    2:25 pm on February 18th, 2012

    My wife and I saw a fox, not sure if it was a Red Fox or not, looking a little haggard standing on side of the road about 5pm last night in IBSP. It was our first visit there since we moved to Brick last May. We were thrilled to see the Fox and guessed he was hanging out at a spot he frequents looking for handouts. We live in the West Mantoloking section of Brick and have seen a very large Red Fox in our neighborhood that is in the middle of the National Wildlife Refuge on the Metedekonk River. We’ve also seen road killed Red Foxes along rte 35 between pt pleasant and IBSP. For former city dwellers, all this nature is very exciting for us!

  25. PatM
    9:33 am on March 12th, 2012

    My wife and I go to Island Beach State Park quite often as I surf fish alot, we saw 4 fox one day my wife was saw thrilled taking pictures of them and talking to them as if they were our pets after that just about every time we go we see at least 2 fox evry time. We do see alot of people on bikes stopping and looking at the foxes right next to them. I think it’s great to see them out there the only thing that we have never seen is puppy foxes, has anyone ever seen them?

  26. Jeff
    3:53 pm on April 2nd, 2012

    I am going to Island Beach Park tomorrow and am hoping to have a Red Fox sighting like I had last year. Two Red Foxes came out of the woods by the first parking area. One went back in the woods after a minute or two. The second one basically hung out and posed for me and my camera for about 15 minutes . Awesome experience!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and photos. The photos are beautiful.

  27. Kathy
    3:02 pm on April 4th, 2012

    I saw a fox last summer when I was leaving the first swimming area parking lot around 5 PM. Thank you for posting these great pictures.

  28. Kyle
    5:21 pm on July 20th, 2012

    Rainy Friday. Drove my wife the park today and we were blessed to see a fox and an Osprey.

  29. Rene
    9:29 am on August 12th, 2012

    We were at IBSP last night. Right by the park entrance fishing on the beach during the sunset. 1 fox appeared around 8pm and played around for awhile. By 9:00 there was 3 foxes running around on the beach, seemed like it was play time. cool sightings for sure but by that time it was dark and we headed out. But seems as though the entrance area is where they live.

  30. Eileen
    5:23 am on October 21st, 2013

    I seen a red fox today on rt 70 in brick right near the pt border on the side of the road just walking.

  31. Eileen
    5:27 am on October 21st, 2013

    I seen 2 in the last 3 days walking in Brick NJ along RT 70 and thought I was seeing things but today I seen it for longer then a quick second so Im sure of what I seen it was walking along RT 70 in brick/pt amazing to see

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About Author

Herb Segars is a photographer who specializes in wildlife and marine subjects. He lives in Brick, New Jersey, USA with his wife, Veronica. Herb spends a great deal of time SCUBA diving and photographing in the nutrient rich Atlantic waters off his home state of New Jersey.

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