Fox News Update.

Shortly after the last time I posted about the vixen and her fox kits living under my porch, the entire family became mobile enough for the vixen to move them. Considering how destructive the five kits had become, I imagine she probably wanted a den better-suited for her family - not to mention less human-y smelling.

Here's a video to refresh your memory:

As you can see from this video, these little kits are quite invested in chewing on anything they are curious about. That means the garden hose, my rosebush, tools, any shoes left outside - the list goes on and on. Clearly they had been getting too rambunctious and accustomed to the world of humans, and the vixen made the wise choice to move the family further away from the cabin.

(The fact that I like to listen to a lot of Cream might also have contributed to the move. Foxes don't seem to share my love of Clapton.)

The last time I spotted the family of foxes, it was in the distance, and the mother was leading away four of her kits. Only four. I have no idea what happened to the fifth one, but not seeing it take off with its family made me fear the worst.

I was also sad because I thought the family had gone for good. Days went by after that last sighting, and I didn’t see or hear any sign of the foxes.

Then last Saturday, I spotted this little one lounging on the deck in the sun, as if he or she had never left.

This kit hung around all weekend - but no sign of its mother or siblings.

And now I haven't seen this one, either, for a week.

I don’t want to believe the worst. Instead, I tell myself that it’s possible that this single fox is the fifth kit. The runt of the litter who wasn’t strong enough to range away from under the deck along with its mother and four siblings, and who has been sustained all of this time by the vixen. I picture her returning quietly, night after night, with a mouse or a mole for this little straggler. I’ve even managed to convince myself that, after dark, I can hear critters on the porch making a fox-like rumpus.

But while I don’t want to believe the worst, I fear it. Is the simpler, more horrible explanation the likelier truth? Top predators are my neighbors (not to mention large, unfriendly dogs), and a little fox kit is a trifle for any one of them. So I must face the likelier possibility that this fox the only one in the litter to survive. If it has survived at all.

And having to face that fact is pretty damn awful.

But owls, hawks, bobcats and cougars have to eat, too.

Besides, I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Nature isn't cruel; just indifferent.


Look who just showed up outside of my window as I was preparing to post this missive to my blog...

This little one just popped out from under the deck for a drink of water from a bowl I had left out and kept full - even as my hopes had dimmed that any of the fox kits still survived.

The moral of this story? Well, there are a few...

1. The world of foxes is a mysterious one.

2. When you have no way of knowing what is going on, assuming the worst rather than the best is a bad strategy. After all, if you have no way of knowing the answer, then assuming the best is just as valid as assuming the worst. So, if both assumptions are equally-valid, then why not smile over thoughts of a positive outcome - rather than obsess over an outcome that makes you anxious and sad?

3. Embrace with gratitude moments of real happiness. My heart sang when this little one reappeared.

I want to live in this moment forever.



The warming Golden State
Is not at Liberty
To celebrate Independence
With sulfur.

The eternally blazing sun
Independent by Nature
Celebrates nothing
By setting.

Happy Independence Day.