Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Red Fox

This spring I had the pleasure of watching a family of foxes that were located on a farm where I do some work.  I first noticed an adult Red Fox cross the yard and the barn yard in broad day light,  This was very unusual.  Then one day I was driving by the barn and saw the adult fox duck into the barn through a hole, between the door and the wall, but behind her I saw a little gray ball of fuzz run in after her.  Then I knew there must be a den near by.  So I backed up and went to the other side of the barn.  By this time the mother fox was laying in the grass out side the barn watching over her young.  As I approached she barked at me and trotted off, but she left behind three kits.  They were dark grey and quite small.  I did a little reading up on them and figured them to be about five to six weeks old.  They leave the den for the first time at around four or five weeks and their fur was still grey, another indicator that they were still rather young. 


I watched them for a long time, and would see them periodically through the weeks.  They had little fear of me, even the adults didn't seem to afraid although they would always trot away sometimes laying down close by to watch.  Both male and female foxes help feed their young.  The female hunts once the kits are able to leave the den, but she hunts closer by so she can nurse them,  the male however, hunts on a wider range and doesn't spend as much time at the den site.  The male will bring the female part of his catch.  Once the kits are old enough the adults start to feed them regurgitated meat from what they catch.  They mostly eat mice and rabbits.  I found rabbit fur, a duck wing, and turkey feathers around this particular den.  Foxes will take an old ground hog den and dig them out a little because they are too flat, and use them to raise their young.  The den will have multiple entrances although they may prefer one over the rest.

I began to take my camera with me in the hopes of getting some good pictures.  I never got any good opportunities until the day I took these.  There was an adult but the photos I took were not so clear.  I think there was only this one kit there but there may have been two.  By this time they were old enough that their fur has turned red. 

This little fellow was not very camera shy, I got nice and close, and as long as I didn't make any sudden moves he was O.K. with that.

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