Monday, April 8, 2013

A Fox Family

Red fox are raising pups this time of year. Although we've not been fortunate to have a den near us, some friends have enjoyed a fox pair and their four pups the past two weeks. The den is in a thick pile of brush about 40 feet from their house. They shared the following photos as they've quietly watched the den.
These pups seem a little young to be outside the den. Typically they stay hidden for about a month, by then their coat has started turning a sandy color. The adult red fox is a surprisingly small mammal, weighing less than 15 pounds. It's luxurious tail makes up one-third of its length.

After the pair mate in late December, the female establishes several den sites in case she moves the pups, which is not uncommon. Sure enough, a few days ago, this mother suddenly moved all the pups. Perhaps the den was too crowded or perhaps there was some disturbance. Apparently wild turkeys were active around the den; that combined with nearby road traffic may have prompted the move. Here she is toting the pups to some new, unknown location.
In a couple months the fox pups will be on their own. Until then they are well cared for by the adults.
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Spring continues its slow roll-out and yet signs of spring are emerging. I heard wood frogs "quacking" from woodland pools on Friday. A phoebe returned, although not yet to our yard. A tree swallow soared over a wetland, while twenty painted turtles basked on logs at the water's edge. We've enjoyed our over-wintered spring spinach in two salads. The delicious texture and flavor of this fresh garden spinach is so vastly superior to store-bought packaged stuff. Note to self: plant more spinach next fall.

5 comments:

  1. What a treat to see all these gorgeous photos. Thanks to you and your friend for sharing them!

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  2. Ellen, thank you for sharing these remarkable photos that were shared with you via your friends! And thank you for adding your insightful commentary to accompany these images.

    Yet another of your thoroughly enjoyable blog reports!

    John

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  3. Hi John,

    Thanks for your kind comments. It was nice that my friends sent along the photos, so that we got to see at least part of the pup's lives. It can't be easy for the parents to tend to all those pups.

    Regards, Ellen

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  4. Hi Longerway,

    Thanks for the nice comments and I will forward the thank-yous to my friends. I too was glad they shared.

    Regards, Ellen

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