May 9, 2014
The first week of May is about the time when Red Fox kits are old enough to start exploring outside of their dens. A friend of mine told me of one den in the shoulder of Hwy 61 that had eight fox kits in it. I think eight is the largest number of kits that I have ever heard about. This den is dangerously close to Hwy 61 traffic so I was wondering how many might get hit by cars.
I drove up to the den and parked along Hwy 61 to see if I could get a photo of all eight sticking their heads out of the den. After about an hour with no sign of the kits I was just about to leave when I see mom coming out of the woods. She goes right up to the den so I know the kits are going to be coming out soon.
Mom stands by the entrance and calls to the kits with this soft whining sound. It took a few minutes but soon one little head pops out. It starts to walk around mom looking for something to eat. I am expecting to see more kits coming out but to my surprise she picks the one lone kit up in her mouth and starts up the hill. The poor little guy wasn’t expecting that and he starts to yelp and kick with all his strength. The sand was flying as he was trying to get away. You would think she was killing it by he sound that was coming from that little fox kit.
Apparently this mom is a wise old fox. She knew that when the kits started to explore outside of the den that it was to dangerous of an area so she moved them to a new den site farther back away from highway traffic. Fox normally use two den sites to raise each litter. I was fortunate to have come along just as she was moving the last one.
About the Photographer
Paul Sundberg started taking nature photos in the early 1970\’s while serving in the military at Fort Bliss, Texas. Photographing the North Shore became a passion when he and his wife moved to Cascade River State Park in 1976. In 1983 he relocated to Gooseberry Falls State Park which he managed for 28 years.