Tensions begin to show in the fox family
Updated: Jan 27
The cubs are becoming more and more active. Their behaviour is changing as well. They are becoming less naive and more skittish, much more like their paraents. Their play, while being incredibly entertaining to the viewer, is often resulting in fractious scuffles. Mum, White Eye, continues to hunt and provide for them, and was witnessed this week bringing a rabbit back. We've also seen her hunt squirrels a few times without success. She is also still allowing them to nurse, which is remarkable as they are about 75-80% of her body size.
It was very noticeable that dad, Imposture, is losing patience with the constant pestering he receives from the cubs who are either looking for food or to play. His displeasure is shown by opening his mouth wide, to reveal his teeth, while simultaneously holding his ears flat.
I'm increasingly convinced that the cubs we are seeing comprise a creche of two different litters. There are now eight cubs present, two of which appeared around the same time as the second vixen 'Auntie'. I saw Auntie nurse at least one cub this week, confirming it must be hers, while it is normal to see two cubs greet her with enthusiasm. Auntie and White Eye are very content in each other's company, so I assume they have a mother - daughter relationship. Combining two litters in a creche is pretty rare from what I've read but not unheard of. That said I'm obviously incredibly lucky to be witnessing this.
Meanwhile my DSLR camera trap has been busy. I smeared a little honey on the trunk of a small tree which certainly attracted the cubs attention. It's safe to say the cubs are unfazed by the flashes.