LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— A red fox has been spotted roaming the Saddlebrook and Bridlewood sub-divisions on the east side of Lafayette by neighbors.
They said the fox looked sick and could die soon if not treated.
"I thought it was a coyote,” said neighbor Julie Casetta.
People have noticed this animal roaming their neighborhood for about a month.
"People were wondering what this animal was because it was really hard to tell,” said Casetta. “Even some experts didn't know."
It was later determined that it was a fox suffering from a severe case of mite mange.
"After talking to experts they said that once mange sets in and they lose all their hair they kind of look like that, bigger,” said Casetta.
Mite mange is skin disease caused by parasitic mites. Executive Director for Wildcat Wildlife Center, Carol Blacketer, said this isn't the only fox roaming around Lafayette.
"So there are rural foxes and there are urban foxes and oppossums and raccoons and so forth,” said Blacketer. “They have learned to adapt to the urban areas."
She said because of urban development, seeing foxes in those areas isn't as uncommon as it used to be.
"Neighborhoods when they are built, put in all these culvert systems everywhere,” said Blacketer. “So the urban foxes are seen a lot more in these urban neighborhoods."
Julie Casetta said because the fox looks so sick, she and other neighbors have put together a plan to catch it.
"That's what we're in the process of doing now,” said Casetta. “Trying to set up like a feeding pattern. Where we can find out where he is."
Blacketer said people can safely capture a sick wild animal - but they should first talk to an expert.
"If you see something call it in,” said Blacketer. “I can talk to these people about what they can do and what they shouldn't do."
Casetta said she contacted DNR and they told her they couldn’t help unless someone was willing to pay a hefty price.
News 18 contacted the Tippecanoe County Animal Control and they told us while the fox is technically in their jurisdiction, animal control only handles domestic animals.