Here’s Hoping

Here’s hoping the fox family returns to den under the barn.

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 I noticed lately that Buffy had been sniffing around the same part of the barn. The dirt here definitely looked like there’d been some coming and going. According to my Mammals of Illinois book by Donald F. Hoffman, red foxes breed the latter part of January and through February. Since we’re in southern Illinois, I figure they’d breed earlier here. Gestation lasts 51 days.

They were under the barn only a few days last year. So, I’m hoping they will like our accommodations again.

Let’s all hope they return to our barn, and we can watch their early “childhood.”

Darn, false alarm … a groundhog feeds in the backyard now.


My hopes are up again!

Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow fell in a 24-hour event. I took advantage of these conditions and made a loop around the yard to see what wildlife visited  during the night.

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Accumulation added up to three or more inches.

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Fox tracks can be distinguished from dog tracks by perfect-stepping and the lack of foot drag.

The foxes went under the barn along the open space toward the back corner. The adults used the “square” as a lookout.

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  This picture also shows the distinctive chevron shape of the back pad. Continued snow fall altered the track somewhat.

The following pictures were taken in 2012.

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Sibling rivalry?

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There were 4 in the litter.

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Play time.

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Dad bringing in a meal.

I hope my wishful thinking just might manifest them coming back to den under the barn.

My fingers are crossed.

Are yours?



Buffy and I went out this morning. The groundhog ran under the barn when it saw us. I walked down to check for its tracks, and smelled skunk.

I should charge rent!


14 responses to this post.

  1. We occasionally see fox’s while bicycling the rural roads in Ohio. Can’t think of very many things that are cuter than their babies!


  2. Posted by Therese on March 9, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I miss the fox chronology.


  3. I do hope they return. They are such beautiful animals.


  4. I’ve got fingers crossed that my foxes return as well. We’ve had coyotes and dogs roaming the back 40, neither of which is conducive to fox families, but I do have my fingers crossed. I bought a blind and sat about 50 feet from the den last spring and got some nice photos. Hoping for more this year. If you would like to take a look:


    • Will check out your blog. The groundhog is still here and I don’t know a way to convince it to move out. The kits were running around when they moved under the barn. So I still have hopes.


  5. I smelled skunk the other day too. I wonder if the groundhog will be the reason the foxes return to the barn. He might end up as dinner if he isn’t careful.


    • He’s a puggy thing. I heard a strange calling outside the south side of the house last night about 10. It sounded like a bird. Had 2 parts to it. At first sounded like the calls of quail early in the season. My oldest son said it could be foxes, that they have various calls. I’m hoping.


  6. Fingers crossed :O)


  7. Fingers crossed both hands! 🙂


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