I have been feeding foxes here for nearly 4 years now and have watched cubs grow up and families come and go. This year, I am pretty sure I have three vixens expecting cubs and have been able to watch them on footage captured from my night cameras. Last week, they did not appear much and then, when they did appear again, it was obvious they had had their cubs and were now lactating. Their nipples become increasingly obvious as they feed the cubs.
I have been searching for some time for their dens (called an Earth) and have et Bushnells up at lots of different holes to no avail. However, a few weeks ago I found 2 entrances to, what appeared to be, one den. I positioned trail cams on both sides and left them for a week.
On retrieving them, I discovered that the clear, easy to film at entrance was not being used much…. but the one partly hidden by a fence, barbed wire and twig debris was being regularly used… typical!
What was really exciting is that this is one of the vixen’s sites and she has young cubs down there. Once the cubs are born, the male will bring the vixen food and I captured a number of clips showing him doing just this! I also captured some clips of the vixen emerging from the den, with prey that has been brought to her. I think if it is big, such as a rabbit, she may well bring it above ground to eat it.
The vixen can be recognised by the narrowing of her brush (her tail) as it joins her body. The male’s brush is much thicker, all the way along.
I am excited to have found a ‘live’ den site and will attempt to improve the Bushnell angle as time passes as I only want to visit the site sporadically for short periods so not to disturb her.
Here are a few clips that I captured.
The first shows the den site in daylight, with the male passing through….
These 2 clips show the vixen emerging with prey… one looks like a very stiff rabbit… may have been left a while…
This clip shows the male bringing food in… turn up your volume, as I can hear some whimpering… not sure if it the vixen responding to his arrival …..
This clips shows a male (possibly a related individual) showing interest in the den site and then being chased off!
I am keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to use this den site and that I can position my Bushnell to get some better footage, especially when the cubs start emerging!