I’m glad my worries were misplaced. Although bobcats will kill foxes and fox trapping season continues until March 15, no harm befell Pretty Girl. Whether the appearance of the bobcat and the disappearance of the fox for five days was mere coincidence or not I can’t say. Could it have been that we are approaching mating season? I don’t know if that triggers female foxes to roam leaving scent trails for males to follow like female black bears do. I just know the sense of relief when I looked out my window shortly after noon and saw Pretty Girl right there maybe five feet away.
She was her same old self, full of life. She saw me get up and go toward the door, but she first had to leap up on the railing and narrowly miss a squirrel before settling for anything I might have. She then came and rose up to take a slice of bologna from my hand. I thought she might be very hungry after her trip, but instead of immediately eating it, she carried it down the steps and across the parking lot where she often buries food. Instead of immediately coming back for more, she stood on a snow mound watching and listening toward a couple deer that were down by the lake.I grabbed a camera to document her return. She glanced at me when I came out but was more interested in the deer. When I got in position, I made a high ssssss sound that made her look momentarily, but she focused right back on the deer. Finally satisfied about their sounds, she came back to my window to let me know she was ready for more. She ate a mini-muffin, took another from my hand and went off to bury it—not overly hungry. The last I saw her she was running into the open carport, perhaps to use the long woodchuck burrow that I wondered if she would ever use after the bobcat came through it.
The internet says that red foxes in Minnesota “mate in February and 52 days later 5 to 10 young (called pups) are born. The pups nurse for 10 weeks and are fully independent at seven months. Foxes reproduce at age one. They often den up in woodchuck or badger holes.”
We’ll see what happens next.
We’re coming into the winter finch period, and I saw my first one today—a female common redpoll.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA