What Does The Fox Say?

After watching this mother fox diligently tend to her young, I think she says “I’m exhausted!”

On and off for many years in the Spring, red foxes have made a den in the rocky ledges of friends’ rural backyard in the Kansas City. This year, there are two adults and six kits. A fox family consists of a male and female adult, plus their offspring, although sometimes a female from the previous litter will help. The gender of the second adult in this family wasn’t clear. The kits (also known as pups or cubs) may be about three weeks old in these photographs, taken April 5, 2014. They are gray and roundish, but are quickly turning red like their parents. Last year when I saw young foxes in early May, they already looked like smaller versions of the adults.

The foxes are very active in this rural neighborhood, and my friend Pat has seen all sorts of behavior, including adults carrying prey, burying it in leaves and then retrieving it; carrying tiny kits in their mouths; nursing the kits; and grooming behavior. Earlier, one of the adult foxes spent about two hours screaming as he ran around the area, possibly as a way to announce his territory. The screaming was so loud that neighbors called out of concern that something terrible was happening, Pat said.
About Foxes.

Click on a photograph to see a full-size version and begin a slideshow with descriptions.

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23 Comments

Filed under Animals, Kansas, Kansas City

23 responses to “What Does The Fox Say?

  1. Thank you for this charming post. They’re beautiful animals.

  2. Beautiful and poignant captures and story!
    Thank you, Katherine.

  3. Lynn

    This is a fun story. Thank you so much for sharing both the story and the photos.

  4. Michelle

    What beautiful creatures!

  5. We have so much urban wildlife in Southern California, but I have yet to see a fox (though coyotes abound). These are gorgeous animals and as a mother I can say is that I’m impressed with her parenting – it is exhausting!

    • I’ve rarely seen a fox in my area, too, and I wouldn’t have seen these foxes if my friend Pat hadn’t been watching them in her backyard and knew their habits. It was fun to see how the mother fox would need to take frequent breaks from her boisterous brood.

  6. Interesting activity. Is it too close for comfort near her backyard? I suspect they are territorial.

  7. Hi Catherine 😀 Brilliant video and photos. Well done. Ralph xox 😀

  8. Amazing photos and video. I’ve never seen foxes in my neck of the woods, but coyotes and wolves I’ve seen. And they can be very scary. I see that you took these one day after I took my bird photos. Guess that was a warm and welcoming weekend for us even though hundreds of miles apart.

  9. elissestuart

    I can relate Mrs. Fox – I’m exhausted too….and my cub still isn’t grown yet…..

  10. Great post and photos Catherine! I knew very little about foxes or their activities. I’m fascinated by the “screaming behavior.” Had you ever heard of that before? ~Terri

  11. I clicked on the above links you gave Terri, Catherine. What a strange sound; it certainly does sound ‘human’…
    I’ve always liked the fox. Here in Australia he’s seen as a pest. I can understand this, they are a predator. He is not a native to Australia, being introduced from Britain during the 19th century, along with rabbits. Unfortunately his prey are the small native animals; already a dozen or so have either been wiped out altogether, or are endangered. Such a shame – he does have to eat, after all.
    Having said all that – one of my little dogs looks very much like a fox. A cute little pointy snout, with the same red tones on his otherwise white coat; he is simply gorgeous.
    What a treasure they are for you and your friends to experience so closely! I’m a little envious…

    • I was really surprised to learn about the fox scream, despite hours and hours and hours of watching nature shows! Amazing what’s right under our noses.

      We don’t blame the fox for being a fox, but it’s tragic that so many native animals get wiped out when an alien species is introduced.

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