Foxes are a common site here in Hokkaido and can often be spotted in the early morning or evening and it's not uncommon to hear their eirie howl or scream at night. The character below was spotted from the spare room window early one April morning. Upon realising he was in front of the lense this little red fur ball became coy and camera shy and after a fleeting moment of curiousity bounded off into the snow covered brush faster than you can say Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
So are Hokkaido foxes friendly? As cute as they maybe unfortunatley Hokkaido foxes shouldn't be treated as friendly. In recent years foxes have found easy meals from tourists at hot spots like the Lawson Convience Store in Hirafu but this is a big no no, please don't feed the foxes. They are a wild animal with very sharp teeth and are known to carry a particularly dangerous parisite called echinococcus. It is also important foxes stay in the wild rather than seeking food from urban environments. For these reasons it is important not to encourage foxes to interact with people be they at the ski resort, in towns or at the golf course!
The foxes you may be lucky enough to see around Niseko will be the Hokkaido red fox or kita kitsune (北狐) or by their scientific name Vulpes vulpes schrencki. When not being fed by tourists that shoud know better the kita kitsune will usually eat birds, rats, rabbits and during the fall will indulge themselves on fruit and nuts (wildly foraged and guaranteed organic of course).
If you are lucky enough to find yourself close to a fox it will likely behave as this one did and after giving you a cursory glance will disappear into the nearest bunch of trees. Sometimes though they will sit and watch you with curiosity equal to your own. In this case we reccomend you enjoy the moment, take a picture if you're quick enough and go your seperate ways, please don't feed the fox.
Check out the little guy below, foraging the way he should be.