NEW KITS ON THE BLOCK
My new neighbors live in an unassuming grassy plot about 30 yards from our back deck. They can probably hear my wind chime but they haven’t complained about the noise. So far, the Missus hasn’t asked to borrow a cup of sugar, the Mister has yet to introduce himself, and the children love to somersault and frolic in our yard. Hello, Fox Family, and I’m not talking Michael J.
The Foxes of Oak Street have adapted well to the leisurely pace of Kennebunk Beach. Momma sleeps in until 7:30 (remember, this is a resort town; no dawn commute for her). With the kits peeking out of the lair and eyeballing her every move, Momma then heads off to nearby woods to scavenge breakfast, returning soon with a fat mouse or tender chipmunk.
Post-prandial playtime then yields to morning naps inside the den. Lunch is at 1, dinner at 6. There’s always a lawn show preceding and following each meal. They appear to be having the time of their lives!
Two words describe their attitude: guarded nonchalance. The other evening a friend and I sipped our adult beverages on the steps of my deck watching the kits. We could have been in Timbuktu for all they cared. They scampered and romped. However, earlier in the day a hawk had swooped overhead and they quickly leapt into their den, and stayed there for a good while.
Obviously, predators abound, even in this neighborhood of homes and swing sets. Early this week there were four kits; by Friday there were only two. I’d been worried about what was going to happen when the fox family grew up and maybe decided they really liked life at 32 Oak Street. Now my concerns have turned to sadness at the loss of these darling kits.
Not knowing much about foxes, I turned to Wikipedia. Apparently, foxes are family-oriented, “often forming lifetime attachments when it comes time to raise young ones. During the rest of the year, however, the male (dog) fox and the female (vixen) live separately, mostly at the insistence of the highly territorial female.”
“When Autumn rolls around and the vixen starts feeling amorous, she lets the male know by her scent marking. At this point the male will reappear and court the female, and will hang around through the Winter until the kits are born and the vixen can hunt for herself again. He stays into the early Spring to make sure they are well provided for, then takes off for a Summer of fun and frolic.”
Other fabulous fox facts! The bushy tail covers 30% of its body. Their incredible hearing allows them to hear rodents under the ground. And Wikipedia adds, “Foxes are wary of humans, but will not fear them unless given a good reason.”
They’re getting nothing but good vibes from us.
Thank you, Ken Janes, for your fabulous photography of our fox family!