The Great Fox Den Shuffle
Easily the best encounter we had in 2017, as far as documenting cool behaviour goes, was the chance to observe a fox family move its den. The circumstances were a little troubling: The family had taken up residence in an abandoned building and the kits used the entire structure as their playground. However, when we arrived one early morning, we noticed numerous broken bottles and came to realize that some people had used the space for a large party the night before (even though they were likely aware of the fox family in residence). Yet the fox vixen seemed to take it all in stride. When we arrived, she was in the process of moving the kits to a new den – foxes will often have multiple den sites ready-to-go in case of threats, change of food sources or even to prevent insect infestation. She started with the smallest kits and then worked her way up to the biggest. And the largest kit was massive, meaning it almost didn’t fit in her mouth. And the kit’s distaste for the idea of moving was obvious. It wailed. It bit. It generally gave the vixen an extremely tough time, something I suppose many mothers can relate to. It was so hard on the vixen, she had to drop it multiple times and snarl at it to behave. The entire experience was unlike anything we have ever seen and our enduring memory will be the vixen’s look of pure frustration and the priceless face of the kit’s utter unhappiness with being carried (in public?). (A month later, the foxes returned to the abandoned building when it was clear there was no partying happening on the upstairs floor.)
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