Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother Fox

As you have probably gathered from my previous post, we have 3 baby foxes in our back garden. Brendan saw one about a week ago, and we then saw 2 of them on the decking at the back of the house last Friday night and Saturday night.

We had noticed that a hole had been dug at the side of our decking. While Willow was initially blamed (he had very mucky paws that day!), we realised that it was too small for him, plus cats don't burrow, as far as I know. We had also seen that Willow was a bit reluctant to go out the back in the last while. Now we understand why. While I'm sure he would love to play with the cubs (like cats do - he would probably break them.), he must have seen the Mammy, and she is big and lean and strong-looking.

Have a look for yourself:

This footage was taken by Brendan on a webcam, using movement-activated video software. The light isn't great (they seemed to be very active between 11 pm and 4 am last night), but you can see her quite well.  We're going to try to place the camera in the Shomera tonight, and hopefully will get a better close-up.

There is a good bit of space under the decking, and our back garden is an ideal safe place for babies - it's got high walls on all sides, a gate that closes it in completely, a large decking area with 3 points of access and also an area at the back of the Shomera where we never go. There is a string of bird feed hanging from the roof of the Shomera - with seeds on the ground just beneath it. A compost bin full of slugs and worms. And abandoned terracotta pots full of snails and slugs. They haven't eaten the kibble we left out for them (the chicken was eaten 2 days ago, but the video footage shows a healthy magpie eating it around 5:20 am!), but as you can see, the Mammy carried the full tray away. We found it at the back of the Shomera, along with feathers and chicken bones... Her pantry, no doubt!

We'll keep you informed on their progress. If you want to know more about foxes in an urban environment, check out this excellent factsheet from the Mooney website:

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