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Fox found with shoe collection in Ocean City, MD

By Jennifer Sabini Evans

There are a lot of stories about foxes. Foxes and Hounds, foxes in winter, Fox in Socks, foxes and falling leaves. Then, there is this dog. She boldly goes where no fox has gone before. Meet the Red Fox on 92nd Street, known around here as “Penny” the Fox.

Red Fox on Beach
Red Fox walking on coastal beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. David Unger, Getty Images

Penny may look like a normal, adorable red fox, but she (I’m guessing she is a she) is really a sneaky shoe thief. She walks miles and miles around the resort and nearby condominiums looking for her precious loot before taking her haul back home to her den in the sand dune at The Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort on 92nd Street.

Guests of the resort would claim that their shoes would go missing after placing them on the dune crossing before taking a quick stroll on the beach. Others would place mismatched shoes lined up along the fence line, with hopes guests would claim their belongings. No one suspected this fox had a foot fetish until the day I took a walk on the beach in front of the Princess Royale.

While there, I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but Penny, the red fox, stole my shoes while I was making a phone call. A Cole Haan Argento Metallic Leather Nantucket Loafer, if you’re interested.

The General Manager of the resort had no idea how dumb I felt when he stared at me from the dunes, while I was aimlessly searching for where I thought I had left my shoes. In an act of kindness, the General Manager looked through the resort’s security camera footage while I went back to the dune to look for my missing shoes one more time.

To our surprise, he spotted this sneaky ninja swiping my loafers and running into the dune to hide her newfound treasure. Not only did Penny swipe my loafers, we also found many mismatched flip flops and sneakers, and a Wiffle ball in and around her den.

While it may seem odd to see foxes in a city like Ocean City in the summertime, it is actually not uncommon. Fox families have been seen playing on the dunes of 134th Street, outside of The Dunes Manor on 28th Street, 83rd Street and now most recently on 92nd Street. I’m sure if you look closely in the dunes where foxes breed you will find not only shoes, but paper, plastic, balls or anything leather.

Wild Red Fox - Kim Johnson Photography
Wild Red Fox in Ocean City, MD at sunrise. Photo captured by Kim Johnson Photography

Fox cubs love to play and foxy parents love to bring their children “toys” so they can learn valuable life skills. Through play, cubs learn important behavioral patterns for later in life, like how to fight, mate and hunt. This play enables the fox cubs to become familiar with its body as well as learning to live with its fellow foxes. And when the foxes mature, they still enjoy bringing their new found treasures home.

Penny is one smart, devious and frankly adorable thieving fox. Next time I take a walk on the beach, I’ll remember to take my shoes with me, or leave them in the car. For more information on this beautiful Maryland mammal, check out the latest info from Maryland DNR.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. This fox showed up at my Irish-American grandmother’s memorial service on the beach in Ocean City a few years ago. We were all surprised to see a fox with so many people around and my sister later found that the fox represents a spiritual guide to the other side in Celtic mythology. She got a tattoo of the fox in honor of our grandmother. When I read this article, I knew Penny AKA Reggie (we now call the fox Reggie after grandma Regina) was her spirit animal. Both our grandmother Reggie and the fox love(d) collecting shoes!!!!! Thanks for writing this article, our family loved it as it brought back memories of that day and our beloved matriarch!

  2. One year we had some young, partying, very noisy neighbors next door keeping us up all night. We called the local police to encourage them to go to sleep and the next morning all of our flip flops (some very nice leather brands) were laying strewn in the sand and looked like they had been cut with scissors. I thought the kids next door did it in revenge and made my complaint to the owner who rented to them. He graciously offered to pay for them. A few days later we witnessed a fox trying to take the rest of our shoes! I had a lot of apologizing to do and learned a lesson.

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