Posts Tagged ‘gestation’

Fox Update

I haven’t smelled the scent foxes use as an deterrent for Buffy and/or me. We went out before supper, walked around, even close to the barn, and no strong fox scent.

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These three pictures were taken last year. I’m hoping they return next month. They breed late January into early February. Gestation lasts 51 days.

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So, my fingers are crossed that they return before the young are born in late March or early April.

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There’s an old strip pit behind our house and it goes east for two miles or so. The road makes two right angle turns before it straightens out. There’s a house on the corner. Late last summer I would see the young foxes out playing when I was on my way to Ingram Hill.

So, I figure they have a den back there too … and maybe that’s where they are now. The den that they rear the young in is usually deeper than the temporary retreats.

So, I plan to keep my fingers crossed and keep a watch out for them. I will know they’re back if I see them or if I smell the strong scent they use as a deterrent to intruders.

Anticipation Rises

It had been so long since I’d seen the foxes that I thought they might have moved to another den. Then, when I least expected it, there lay the male fox napping.

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“As much as I hate to, I guess it’s time to think about getting up.”

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“No need to hurry, though. I’m not completely awake yet.”

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“A long slow stretch feels soooo good after being under the barn for so long.”

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“Nap’s over, and I guess it’s time to find our next meal.”

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Which would be the best route? Through the thicket behind the barn or

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across the backyard to the southeast?”

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Red foxes breed late January into February in Illinois. Gestation is 51 days. Since we live in southern Illinois, I assume these are more likely to bred in January and give birth in late March.

Fox Update

Please excuse the quality of these pictures. Thick clouds dulled the hazy day.  Sunshine’s been rare the last 2 weeks.

I hadn’t seen the foxes since before the heavy snow/sleet/freezing rain event.

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Then I looked out around noon, and there was a fox. It scratched and scratched and scratched.

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I figured the unusual upward position of the hind leg indicated this was the female.

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There’s no doubt that this was the female.

 Red foxes begin mating late January into February here in southern Illinois. Their gestation period is 51 days. So I figure she’ll probably give birth in a couple of weeks or so.

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…. And here I sat in the evening, working on the blog above. I looked out the picture window and there was a doe. A younger deer soon joined her.

A Fox Sign

I had a couple of things to do in the backyard this morning. As usual, Buffy went with me. I started toward the catalpa tree and came to an area that smelled strong like skunk, only not skunk. It was fox. One had marked its territory in our backyard! Luckily, the smell finally dissipated.

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So, obviously, the foxes plan to den under the barn again. The above picture shows Buffy one evening two years ago, waiting for the foxes to appear.

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From that look on her face, it was obvious she wanted me to help her evict them. Red foxes breed late January into February in southern Illinois. Gestation period is 51 days.

It’s looking good so far for the future possibility of little ones running around.

My fingers are crossed.

A Yard Possibility

I get excited over the some of the strangest things. Here’s a good example.

Buffy and I took the kitchen scraps to the compost pile this morning.

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I walked up to this first. It was completely dry, which was odd because it rained all day yesterday and until almost 10 p.m. last night.

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A second “bundle” was next. It contained fibers, hair, synthetic batting and other “stuff.”

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And the third contained more of the same. Then I noticed Buffy smelling along the side of the barn that’s above the ground.

We went in, and I started studying in my Mammals of Illinois book. To shorten the story:

Our habitat isn’t right for raccoons.

 It’s too early for groundhogs. They don’t breed until late February or in March. I only saw a fox in the yard twice last year. A groundhog lived under the barn for 2 months, at least. It would stick its head out in the evening and watch me working in my flower gardens.

This leaves foxes. They are monestrous — meaning they have only a single estrous cycle per year. They breed late January and February. Gestation lasts about 51 days. So the young are born late March or in April here in southern Illinois. Today is January 12.

I figured the hair and fibers etc. in the pictures were remnants of when the groundhog was under the barn, and a fox removed them.

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Here’s two pictures of when they had their den under the barn in 2012. There were 4 kits.

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So, now I wait and hope they’re going to raise their young under the barn again.

Looks Promising

Things are looking promising for the fox family to den under our barn this year.

I’d been working in the yard this afternoon and sat down to rest. Orange movement in the shrubby corner of the back corner of our 2-acre yard caught my attention. About the same time my presence caught its attention. It went back the way it came. At first it looked like a cat we have in the neighborhood.

It wasn’t long before it headed back toward the barn under more shrubby cover.

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The pair raised 4 kits in their den under our barn last summer. With them being so aware and on alert at all times, I had to take all my pictures through the picture window in my computer room. They would even see me in the house.

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Three were nursing here and the other one … maybe it was already full.

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I couldn’t fool them, even when in the house. She came to the water garden for a drink and let me know she knew I was watching her.

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Buffy knew they were under there,

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and wanted me to help get them out of her territory.

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I took pictures of the family from May 9-24 last year.  According to my Mammals of Illinois book, foxes breed late January and in February.  Gestation period is 51 days, and the young are born in late March or in April. Since we live in southern Illinois, I figure they breed toward the end of March.

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  I sat down at the computer yesterday afternoon, looked out the window and there was a fox coming up from the back corner of our yard! I managed, in all my excitement, to get 3 pictures. It’s cautious actions before going under the barn let me know it sensed me.