Tag Archives: vixen

Fox Cubs 2021 Part 2: Feeding Time

I’ve been watching families of foxes visit our garden for over 15 years and in that time I have only seen a vixen feeding her young via remote trail cam footage, and even then only very rarely. Our latest vixen, Stumpy, is generally more cautious than some others we’ve seen; and although she lets us know she is around she rarely approaches too close, always allowing a self-determined distance at which she is relaxed (somewhere in the region of 10-15 feet). Despite that caution (or maybe because of it) she has provided one of my best moments of watching these fascinating animals.

I took the following sequence of photos on 22nd April, only the second time I’d seen Stumpy with her brood. The cubs were born very early March (estimated) and so are around 7 weeks old in these photos. I was about 20 feet away, keeping very still and hoping that the remote flash unit was positioned well enough to throw some light on the scene. The sequence begins when a couple of cubs start pestering mum.

A couple of fox cubs start to pester mum
It quickly became clear what they wanted

I don’t think Stumpy was too comfortable being quite so exposed in the centre of the garden. She quickly ushered both cubs over to a corner where there is more undergrowth and cover. She may have also been aware of the rest of the brood, which quickly emerged to surround her.

Stumpy surrounded by her brood

It very quickly became clear that the cubs wanted feeding, and Stumpy was happy to oblige. I just held my breath!

The cubs start feeding
Stumpy was making low grunting sounds throughout this sequence
Close up of fox cubs feeding from their mother
Close-up of two of the cubs feeding

I watched Stumpy feeding the young cubs for several minutes before she moved off to a neighbouring garden, with the brood following. I felt privileged to have witnessed the scene which is undoubtedly one of the highlights of many years of observation.

A few nights later the trail camera caught a short video sequence of her feeding the cubs. She was partially out of shot, but there’s enough in frame to make it worth posting. It’s just a 10 second clip.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

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The Vixen (video)

As a postscript to yesterday’s post, here’s some recent footage from the trail camera 🙂

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Meet the Vixen

She’s cautious, but a new mother’s first responsibility is to her young and the vixen ventured into the garden tonight and kept a watchful eye on the cubs. I just took a couple of shots of her from a distance.

vixen

Lactating vixen keeping a watchful eye at the rear of the garden while her cubs venture forth

The cubs were as playful as ever (and greedy). A couple of them had a good scrap with each other (but the photos aren’t up to scratch… focusing moving targets in the dark isn’t easy), but in the main they were just very cute.

fox cub

This one is definitely on the greedy side of things

fox cub

This little one stayed out later than the rest.

fox cub drinking

At the water trough

The final photo is actually from last night, but I like it and it rounds things off nicely by including the dog fox.

fox cub

Fox cub and adult (male) fox

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

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