The appearance of fox cubs and a dramatic change in behaviour of the fox population
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Given the number of nursing vixens in our local area I'd hoped to see fox cubs this year but didn't really think I'd see such young ones. After initially catching a cub on the trail camera I was lucky enough to see two of them just a few days later. The big surprise is that these cubs are the offspring of White Eye and Impostor. Why the surprise? Well I knew White Eye had cubs as she was lactating, but until this moment the feed site where I view the foxes has been the territory of a dominant pair, Limpy and Boyfriend. These two have exhibited considerable dominance over all comers, particularly White Eye, so I had expected any cubs turning up to be Limpy's.
The other strange development is that prior to the appearance of the cubs, the feed site had been visited each night by 5-6 adult foxes, sometimes more, including at various stages four lactating vixens and a similar number of dog foxes. Since the cubs showed up we've not seen another fox in the field, except the parents, and certainly not at the feed site. Trail cameras have revealed that Impostor is baby sitting the cubs throughout the night and he aggressively chases off badgers that wander too close. Perhaps he's keeping the other foxes away too?
As for the number of cubs, well that's revealed itself slowly. After initially thinking there were only two cubs that number increased to four and then eventually five. At least three of them have black spots near the base of their tail just like their dad, Imposture. Isn't genetics incredible.
I've also found the exact location of the Foxes' earth, which, incredibly, is placed adjacent to a well used footpath/cycleway and a busy development. I think this explains way the cubs appear to turn up quite late in the evening as they must have to wait for things to quiet down before crossing the paths and car park that lie between them and the feeding site.
As I don't have any spare weekends at the moment I'm gonna have to stay late at work and hope they turn up when the light is good. I also really hope some of the other foxes show up, even if only on trail camera, so that I know they are OK. Limpy in particular has been through so much, she really deserves to succeed.