Barbara’s Fox – the single father, bringing up his cubs alone
We live in a mainly residential area in SE Essex – although there is an ancient oak woodland within 50 meters of our house, which has one particularly unspoiled area, locally known as a nature reserve.
I have lived in the same house since 1999; we have always had fox visitors to our garden, although my GSD didn’t make them feel particularly welcome. He died in 2002 and – since then – the foxes have become more relaxed in my presence and generally more bold. I regularly put scraps out for any passing wildlife and have a specific call I use to let the foxes know there’s food for them.
Over the last two years, an inseparable pair of foxes have been frequent visitors. They played together in the garden and proved to be expert thieves, stealing toys from our next door neighbours’ dog – and a small doll and a toy windmill, belonging to their daughter. On more than one occasion, they dragged an old towel (used to clean mud and muck off the dog) into our garden through a hole under the fence.
A month or so ago, I noticed one of my foxes was lame in one of his back legs, so increased the amount of food I was leaving for him. He trusts me enough to come within three meters of me – and this is when I realised he is also blind in his left eye. He now comes to the garden by himself – there’s no sign of the vixen.
I noticed he carefully gathers as much food as he can in his mouth and trots off with it, returning a few minutes later to collect more. He is very persistent, returning to the garden repeatedly and sitting patiently, staring into the conservatory, until I’ve taken more food out for him.
Last week I discovered the reason; a cub accompanied him when I called him for his dinner. My dog fox is caring for his cub alone – something has happened to the vixen.
Yesterday evening, I put some food out for him – and then caught a fleeting glimpse of TWO cubs. No wonder he comes back for more food – he has two cubs to feed all by himself.
This fox is an exceptionally caring father.
This dad fox won’t be the only one feeding his cubs alone. Barbara is doing all she can to stand between him and the difficulties he faces. But for many fox families, there will be no one to defend them when the hunts come for the cubs. One of the most effective things we can do is spread the word. We all know the difference between right and wrong, even if no one explains it to us. Cubhunting speaks for itself. Download our leaflet, print it and stick it on noticeboards. Or order 250 for cost price of £5, incl postage. Please help. Time is running out.
Pip AAF 30 July 2018