Spring Foxes! This is Their Time.

Spring Foxes! This is Their Time.

Checking out the surroundings

I have so many photos of foxes, it is fun to share them with my readers. The featured image was taken by my daughter Helen.

One of the joys of spring is the site of newborn animals and their mothers. Watching females feeding their young is special. From foals and calves in fields by the road to more hidden animals like foxes, opossums, groundhogs, rabbits, ducks, and geese, spring is the time of rebirth. It brings forth new life, and hope for the future. Everywhere lush groups of saplings, buds, spring flowers pushing up through the soil to reach the sunlight. Good vibrations spring from the vibrant green grass and moist earth. Everything is fresh, often newly washed by spring rains.

March and April are the months for foxes to den and give birth to their young. It takes these youngsters 4 or 5 weeks to mature enough to leave the den. During that time, they are vulnerable to predators like hawks and coyotes. A vixen (female fox) wants a place to raise her family safely; please allow her to do that. Don’t chase them away if you discover one living near your house or barn.

I have seen foxes live in the most unlikely places. I saw a fox in Spring Valley in Washington DC fifty years ago. At the time, I believed this was an extraordinary sighting. But foxes live among humans all the time. The Nations Capital has plenty of acres of wooded parks and lots of things to eat. It can support many animals, from deer to chipmunks.

Scratching an itch.

I have seen them at the property in Washington DC, where I grew up shyly avoiding the dogs and raising their cubs in relative safety. Over the years, there have been many encounters. Now that no one lives in the main house and the dogs have moved out to the country with me, the foxes have the run of the place. They frolic and play with each other and the natural things in their path. They are lovely, healthy, and relaxed. They are tamer than country foxes, seeming to put up with humans in a less frantic way. Not rushing away if they spot one, but keeping their options open, they saunter away into the brush. They seem to melt into the background silently, almost unnoticeably. But they do not move out of the property. Watching them is a pleasure. Here one sits just outside the drawing room window scratching itself while sunning. It is not unusual to see them as they must forage for their babies during the day and night. They are graceful and quick and entertaining.

Whose photo is this? Let me know how to give them credit.

Foxes generally feed on berries, grasses, birds, rabbits, and small rodents. Of course they do love chickens and can cause havoc within a hen house. They are solitary and prefer to be left alone. They are no danger to your domestic animals. And indeed, they will not hurt you or your children. They just want to be safe and left alone.

My dogs being dachshunds, want to hunt. They are off on the scent the moment I open the door. Whether it is rabbits, squirrels or foxes, they know how to hunt. Foxes are fair game for them. However, the foxes are cleverer than the dogs. My little female jumped up on the lowest part of the roof of my mothers’ house in pursuit of a fox. I snapped several photos of her trying to figure out how to climb further up the roof to reach her prey. Of course, the fox was much more agile than my little dog and soon escaped.

Sisi on the roof, no luck with the fox

As a retired fox-hunter, I appreciate the wily fox and his ability to outsmart hounds much of the time. These animals are extremely clever and seem to have a natural knack for outthinking most hounds and many humans. They are often the subject of fairy tails for their cleverness and furnish the moral of the story due to their actions. I love foxes. It is delightful that there are so many of them. I respect their lifestyle, and I am grateful to have seen such a variety.

Copyright©. 2022 Bonnie B. Matheson

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