Thrilled by a fox

Red foxes mate in winter, usually February or March, and the gestation period is 50 to 51 days. The young are born in a den, a hole in the ground or an excavation beneath a tree. It’s frequently the one-time home of a woodchuck though foxes do sometimes make their own dens.

Young foxes are blind and helpless at birth. Their eyes open at eight or nine days and they’re able to venture out of the den when three or four weeks old. Male and female foxes raise the brood together, the male even supplying all the food for the family the first few weeks of the kits lives.

A pair of foxes often has more than one den and if the den  where the kits are is disturbed the vixen will move her family. When the kits are too young to follow her she carries them in her mouth, one at a time.

Foxes are called cunning and they must be or they wouldn’t have survived, as much as they’ve been hunted and trapped. They’ve not only survived, they’ve learned to live near the homes of people. As boys my brother and I stayed on an aunt and uncle’s farm during the summer two years. There were chickens on the farm, and there were foxes. A pair had a den in the pasture.

Uncle Joe showed us where the fox den was and told us not to disturb it.  He said he liked seeing the foxes, hearing them bark now and then. Once, he said, he had seen a fox scream. To he and my aunt those foxes were a little wildness in their farm. I think they were thrilled when they saw a fox. Just as I am.

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