He or she has been hanging around for at least a year. So it’s about time to name him … or her?

The name "Sly" comes to mind. It seems to me that "Sly" is the most appropriate name, because it aptly describes his behavior.

Of course, if someone can get close enough, or is brave enough, they could flip his or her tail up like Dr. Pol the veterinarian on television and announce that we have named it inappropriately. In which case we could name her the feminine version of Sly and call her Slyette, the Maple Park Fox.

I have a feeling that our fox is a he. You see, back in the spring a year ago, a couple of the neighbors claimed to have seen two of them. The only logical explanation at that point was that there was a he and a she hanging around, maybe looking for a den, wanting to find someplace to settle down, have some kits and make the neighborhood a place they could call home.

According to the latest neighborhood chatter, one seems to have disappeared. Sly is most likely the one who has remained.

Here is the logic behind my reasoning. Think about it. Sly and Slyette were chillin’ in the neighborhood for a year and Sly had yet to provide satisfactory accommodations. Food was not abundant in this neighborhood of manicured lawns, and Slyette was getting tired of his inability to find a suitable hole in the ground that they could call home.

She probably wants to raise some kits, and although the neighborhood is nice, she needs a den to call her own. Putting up with him for a year, Slyette had enough of his commitment issues and went back to the woods or swamp to move on from their failing relationship and court a fox with more to offer.

I am sure there is a lot of flawed reasoning in my version of this account, but it’s my story, and I am sticking to it. If we separate the facts from all of this speculation, I can tell you that the fox is real, he is hanging round our city neighborhood, and residents are talking about him. Other than that, everything else being reported by concerned citizens is simply hearsay and imagination.

Some of the neighbors have spread fear. Their thoughts are that this wild and starving animal is going to attack and eat their pets. Warnings to keep your dogs and kitties indoors have circulated.

Another alarmed neighbor reported that a colony of cats was seen chasing the fox down one of our streets. It’s my guess that this concerned citizen was afraid their ferocious lap cat might attack and bring the fox carcass back home for display on the doormat.

Obviously, there are conflicting opinions as to who, the pets or the fox, might dominate in a fair fight.

Others have expressed concern for the fox’s welfare. They wonder how he could survive in a city environment.

Well, let’s think about that. His basic needs are food, water, shelter and Palmetto Street traffic survival.

I’m not sure what a fox likes to eat. My husband says mice, snakes and bugs. I have no problem with that. He can dine on them day and night as far as I am concerned. As for water, I know where he gets a cool drink to satisfy his thirst. The other morning I rose early, gathered my copy of the Morning News and poured me a mug of fresh coffee with a healthy dose of French vanilla creamer.

Just out the window I saw movement. Sly had placed his front paws on the birdbath beside the backdoor and was lapping up water like crazy.

I think he might have found shelter. There is a drainage pipe under my driveway, and one of my closest neighbors reported seeing him going in and out of it late one evening.

His only other concern is the Palmetto Street traffic survival issue. I’m not sure who could help him with that. I sometimes worry about my survival as I make my way home.

In conclusion, I can report that many people in our neighborhood have seen Sly. There seems to be concern about him, and some residents have claimed to have reported him to Animal Control.

All I can tell you thus far is that he has outfoxed everyone, including Animal Control and Palmetto Street traffic.

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Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael. Contact her at citizencolumnist@florencenews.com.

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