Mid April I received a call from a concerned man who had a fox den underneath his deck. He was concerned because he had seen the vixen move 4 kits and he had not seen her since, but he could still hear kits underneath the deck.
I asked him to make sure not to be the disturbing factor that would scare of the vixen, but to very carefully keep an eye out for her. I also told him that as long as the kits stay in the den they are okay, but if they start coming out of the den as young as they where at that time there is a problem.
We kept in touch over the phone over the next two days until he called me and told me they where starting to come out of the den. I drove down immediately to go and have a look.
I am passionate about not making orphans where there aren’t any and sometimes mother animals are simply not seen when they go and spent time with their babies.
In this case the kits proved to be true orphans because they where weak, lethargic and dehydrated when I arrived. I retrieved 5 fox kits and brought them back home to Hobbitstee.
They where still pretty tiny and underweight. For the first while they received intensive care and stayed under neath their heat light. Handling with foxes is always at an absolute minimum because they are easily habituated to humans and that will get them killed as adults.
One did not recover from it’s dehydrated state and passed away, but the other 4 grew fast as they ate me out of house and home.
About a month after arriving we moved them to our outside enclosure. After this move the care was reduced to hands off only. That means that feeding was done while they slept (when possible) and all though I would catch the occasional glimpse of them playing and running around, they did not see much of me.
We needed to give them the opportunity to learn how to hunt their own meals and so we started introducing live mice into their enclosure. Mice are a staple in any wild fox diet.
Last Saturday it was finally time for these guys to return to an undisclosed location close to their point of origin.
The release went well and the location was perfect.
Often people ask me why I do what I do…This is why. I love the moments where I can release these animals back into their habitat knowing they have all the skills they need to survive. To me it feels like a job well done. It balances out the often brutal nature of wildlife rehabilation and it softens the sadness, frustration and heart aches that come with the job.
We now set our sites on raising the money to expand the fox enclosure so that we can do an even better job next year. We welcome all donations…(see our website at: http://www.hobbitstee.com to contribute)
All of us at Hobbitstee wish our 4 fox kits a happy life!