Interesting Times in the Cemetery

IMG_6104Dear Readers, for some time now the two foxes above have been seen together almost every day. They play together, wait patiently for their jam sandwiches and dog food together, and sometimes groom one another. Occasionally they bicker, but generally all is serene.

IMG_6105The one laying down is completely mange-free, and a beautiful fox – I’ve seen him several times before. The one standing up still has a touch of mange, and is also losing her winter coat, but her skin is definitely improving (so much for my initial scepticism about the homeopathic remedy). She has now developed a limp, so I’ll be putting some arnica on the sandwiches along with the mange remedy. However, she still has quite a turn of speed, so I don’t think her leg is bothering her too much. It isn’t showing any signs of a wound, and it’s not at an unusual angle, so I’m hoping that it will just sort itself out.

When I was in the cemetery with my friend J (another dedicated cat lady like myself) the two foxes were waiting for us, and I had a chance to get quite a few photos. And then, when the vixen moved, I noticed something.

IMG_6108Apologies for the quality of the photo, but I am sure that she has the low-slung look of a mother fox.

IMG_6110 (2)To me, this confirms my initial hunch – the female is lactating, which presumably means that she has cubs back in her earth. No wonder she looks exhausted.

To say I am excited would be an understatement. Excited, and nervous. Cubs are so vulnerable, and this is the middle of a city, after all. But at least this litter will  have lots of people looking out for them – B who feeds the cats, the Dog Unit man and myself to name but three of the small army of folk who seem to spend time watching the wildlife in the cemetery. We shall have to be hopeful that these two will manage to raise their family and, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see the cubs. In the meantime, I am going to be dropping some dog food in addition to the jam sandwiches – lactating females of all species need all the food they can get, if my foster cats are anything to go by. I’m hoping that by just putting out a small amount, it won’t make the foxes dependent, but will help with their energy requirements. They spend very little time hanging around the feeding site (less than 30 minutes a day I’d say), and so they are obviously getting the rest of their food from the usual sources – insects, scavenging, and probably the remains of the lunches of wasteful humans.

The dog fox waiting for his dinner

The dog fox waiting for his dinner

The vixen, with the muzzle of the dog fox just visible behind her

The vixen, with the muzzle of the dog fox just visible behind her

And, to round off my fox report, I looked out of the window last week to see this beautiful creature in the garden. I guess a tiny portion of dog food might be useful for this one, too. I am intrigued by how different every fox’s face is, when you look at it closely. Just like humans, they are all individuals.

IMG_6082

Seen in my garden during the week. What a beauty!

The dog fox from the cemetery

The dog fox from the cemetery

The fox from my garden

The fox from my garden

The vixen from the cemetery

The vixen from the cemetery

To read the whole of the fox story so far, with all its ups and downs, follow the links below:

Jam Sandwiches in the Rain

Copper

News from the Cemetery

Distressing News from the Cemetery

All photos copyright Vivienne Palmer

12 thoughts on “Interesting Times in the Cemetery

  1. Anne Guy

    Stunning photos of the foxes let’s hope your intervention means they successfully raise their young and lose the dreaded mange and limp in the process! You are such a kind lady I am sure the foxes know that…that’s why they are so confiding!

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I do think that they get to recognise the people with the jam sandwiches, Anne – they’ve gotten much less nervous around me, though I’m glad that they don’t allow anyone too close. I like wild animals to be aloof, for their own sake. My camera has x50 optical zoom, so they probably look as if they’re closer than they are.

      Reply
  2. Beach-Combing Magpie

    That’s so amazing to see these foxes, almost as if they were feral cats, roaming around. The female has such a ‘sweet’ expression. As you said before, they really are very different from each other, aren’t they?.
    On the subject of snakehead fritillaries, do the white variety have the chequered petals too? I saw a beautiful Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) the other day – they’re stunning too, with strange feathery, almost fluffy leaves. Pretty nasty, however, if you touch them…

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Hi Beach-Combing Magpie, in fact the foxes often sit with the feral cats waiting for their hand-out…
      Good question re the white fritillaries – I had a really close look at the ones in my garden, and they don’t seem to have any chequerboard pattern at all. And yes, pasqueflowers are gorgeous – I didn’t know that their leaves were an irritant, very interesting!

      Reply
  3. squirrelbasket

    Beautiful animals – and great pictures. They do have lovely faces.
    We usually have two foxes in the garden, although I haven’t seen them for a while – but I am unable even to work out what sex they are.
    I look forward to more good news about yours 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      HI Squirrelbasket, I hope you’re having a nice Bank Holiday Monday! Yep, working out the sex of foxes is difficult – I only know about the vixen because I managed to get a close-up of her tummy. You get big vixens and small dog foxes and it’s all very confusing. But I suspect someone more expert than me would be able to work it out from behavioural clues. Maybe when I’ve been fox-watching for about another twenty years I’ll have it figured out….

      Reply
  4. Teresa

    I’m so glad the foxes are accepting of you so that you can monitor their progress. I, too, had doubts about the efficacy of the homeopathic remedy, but it does seem to be doing the job. 🙂 You are such an admirable person…

    Reply

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