Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Fox in the Afternoon, May 29

This is continued from the last email I just sent.

After a while the little guys left the egg dish and disappeared beneath the house.

When I looked out the window again.... another adult fox! Was I seeing things? This animal was robust, handsome, and a stranger, at least to me. He finished off the egg soup, then skulked and slinked around some distance from the den opening, sniffing and looking nervous. Do male foxes eat pups as males in some species do? Was he stalking them? I watched as he crept closer to the house and disappeared into the den.

Next, I heard commotion on the back deck. There the handsome fox sat with the pups scampering around him. He even briefly groomed one of them. Since that moment I have relaxed a lot. I do monitor the energy of the pups to make sure they are being fed. So far, they seem as peppy as ever. I am so grateful. And, no mice to cut up every few hours! (My friend Ronnie James says you can buy frozen mice, probably not in the frozen food department at Harvest Market, though. She buys mice to feed to her rescued raptors. Yum!).

Here is a photo of the handsome fox. Notice how chunky he is! No thin lactating mom here. He also has an aggressive personality, in contrast to the more cautious mom. In fact, he growled fiercely when I walked out the door, and chased after me for a short distance to make sure I left the yard. I am now definitely the intruder. I wonder if the mother fox had kept him away from her den and he was actually her mate. It is also thought that foxes use assistants to help raise young. In any case, I hope he sticks around.

Sigh, Erica

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