Fox noms, damages, and absconds with GoPro camera

This video shows two things:

1. These cameras are pretty indestructible.

2. This fox’s teeth are in good shape.

The backstory from GrindTV:

You could say that Jonathan VanBallenberghe was outfoxed by the critter he was trying to videotape recently during an expedition to Round Island, Alaska.

VanBallenberghe was part of a group from the University of Alaska, capturing footage to showcase the wildlife of Round Island, which is at the northern end of Bristol Bay. He had set his camera on the ground, hoping for a low-angle closeup of a red fox approaching on the trail.

But the fox had its own idea. It decided to run off with the camera, and use the expensive device as a chew toy.

“My friends were photographing and filming sea lions when I spotted this fox come along,” VanBallenberghe states in the YouTube video description. “So I stupidly put my GoPro on the ground in hopes of getting a closeup. When the fox ran off, I thought I’d never see my camera again.”

Viewers can see the fox grab the camera, and the inside of the critter’s mouth as it gnaws on the unit with incredibly sharp and pointy teeth.

After several minutes of looking, VanBallenberghe and a friend locate the camera, with its face plate torn and the lens area badly damaged.

“It turns on and records, but the lens is messed up and I’ll need to have it repaired,” VanBallenberghe states. “I’m glad the fox itself didn’t get hurt or swallow anything that could have harmed it.”

The film project director told the Alaska Dispatch that the 30 or so red foxes on Round Island enjoy an ample food supply, thanks to an abundance of voles and other small animals.

Perhaps out of boredom, they sometimes kill voles without eating them, and are “used to going after little things just for entertainment.”

The GoPro is a little think with a blinking red light. In hindsight VanBallenberghe should have known better. But he did retrieve his camera, and some very unique footage.

“I don’t care really,” he said of the damaged camera. “I’m excited to have something different.”

h/t: Scott


  1. GBJames
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Beats my fox video!

  2. Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This fox’s teeth are in good shape.

    I’d love to hear from a vet, but that was my first thought watching the video — pearly whites, no sign of plaque or inflammation that I could see.

    …and it also looked like the fox was having a bit of fun….


    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it must be a young fox to have such lovely teeth.

  3. krader1961
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    At last! A reason to buy a GoPro: it’s a chew toy for Canidie. My 1.5 year old dog loves to bring sticks into the house to chew on and would be thrilled to have such an upscale alternative.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      My dog isn’t allowed to come in with sticks. Those are outdoor toys. She decides which she’d rather do, come in or stay outside with the stick.

      • Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Does she have indoor and outdoor shoes as well? ( not to mention voices)

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          No, but she does have specific toys she is allowed to bring outside and others she is not. She knows the difference but if she asks to go out with an indoor toy & you tell her, “That is an indoor toy. Go get an appropriate outdoor toy”, she scrambles to her toy box & picks out one that is allowed to be taken outside.

          • Posted July 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Smarty pants houndie:-). Mine knows the names of most of her animals. Her Wiley (coyote) is her fave. Also a huge iguana, octopus, many ducks, etc. Nobody spoiled in our house:-)

          • Mark Sturtevant
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            Smart dog! Our current dog understands only a few words.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

              Yeah I was surprised how smart she is esp with language. When you teach her a new word, she stares at you intently to learn it.

            • Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

              I’m sure she especially understands the word “appropriate”. 🙂

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:13 am | Permalink

                Ha ha. Yeah, I think she just knows “toy”, “not”, “outside”. I had to rename her one toy a “Squeaky bone” instead of “blue bone” because she would mix it up with “chew bone” since the words were too close in sound.

              • Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

                CC forbid that a blue bone would get mistaken for a chew bone :-). Currie never mixes her platypus up with anything else, notbeven her pentapus.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

                I ask her to get her toys by name so she needs to hear what I’m saying so she will bring the right toys.

  4. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, I got myself a clone of one of those, with a waterproof housing, as my New Year pressie. Annoyingly, when I rolled the canoe a couple of weeks ago, it was in the car. And when I did my HUET (helicopter Underwater Escape Training, the crash, turn-over, flood and evacuate drills) the next week, filming wasn’t allowed.
    But it looks like these guys managed to lose one and only recovered it by accident.
    I need one of those “where’s the bloody remote?” buzzer-flashy-light things. If only I knew what they’re called.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I think StickNFind.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:19 am | Permalink

        I started getting hits with “key remote finder” ; unfortunately, when I get to add “waterproof”, it gets more restricted. and that reminds me to check if the camera is a sinker or a floater – I know my other one is a floater (OK, technically, it’s the wife’s camera ; but I chose her a compact that also had a diving housing ; two stones, one bird), and it’s much larger so easier to spot bobbing around on the surface. I’m not so sure about the GoPro-clone though.
        I could try the “avalanche cord” technique, but I’m not sure I want that much loose line in my diving kit, and for loss or drop situations, I’m not going to have time or opportunity to deploy something.
        Hmm, thinking.

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    The footage gives a little lesson in the kinds of teeth found in canids. Besides the canines, etc., canids have two functional groups of back teeth. The several premolars have long cusps, and they work as natural scissors for cutting. The back molars are much flatter, and are used for crushing and grinding.

    • noncarborundum
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      natural scissors for cutting
      Carnassials. (Not a correction, just a comment and a link.)

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    The fox had such a cheeky look on his/her face while chomping the camera. He/She wasn’t very afraid and just took off with it then kept a look out but didn’t appear all that skittish. You can’t help but admire the fox. It looked as though he/she swallowed some pieces – I guess that will coming out in the scat!

  7. grasshopper
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    My first thought is “how much Acme Fox Attractant was the camera smeared with?”.

  8. darrelle
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    love that. I have been meaning to get one of those go pro camera. this comment has done a test of my Google speech recognitionapplication. Spacenot too bad but the operator need some work

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Google speech recognition is quite good. I find my Nexus 7 to be superior for dictation.

      I want to get a gopro camera if I get one of these.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        $1,369, not cheap, but cheaper than I would have guessed.
        I think someone flew one of these through the 4th of July fireworks in NY. Really cool footage.

        • Mark R.
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          don’t think it was NY from the skyline…

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Well, that was certainly interesting, but I’m having some difficulty imagining intentionally flying a couple grand worth of precision equipment literally into and through a sustained and dense artillery barrage….


          • Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            At least a fox didn’t come out of nowhere and nom it out of the sky!

          • Mark R.
            Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            Very true…and if it did get hit, the debris could be a severe hazard for those below.

        • Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Yeah I saw that footage. There are cheaper models. The more you get with them, the more expensive esp if you get one with its own camera instead of outfitting it with a go pro or equivalent.

  9. eric
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Great. Now I know the last thing a vole sees before it dies…

  10. Richard Bond
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    This morning the BBC’s web site carried an article about filming wildlife that included a brief item about a a hyena doing the same thing.

    It is nothing like as good as the clip of the fox (being at night probably did not help) but still interesting.

  11. Posted July 24, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    I work in film and video production and these cameras have been almost everybody’s favorite toy since arriving on the scene. They are so much fun to work with. You can mount them almost anywhere. We’ve recently begun to use an ROV drone with 2 GoPros mounted to it to get aerial shots. Great little camera.

  12. Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    We have started to use these cameras a while back and I am still surprised on how versatile they are (and cheap!). High quality video from angles one would never had thought of a while ago. It also has an easy to use time lapse function. Recently we purchased a helicopter drone that can carry the camera. Amazing aerial shots. It is perfect for such wildlife imaging but one thing those guys should have remembered – always leave the underwaterhousing on. It is also a perfect protection (remember the famous grizzly ate my gopro video that went viral).

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