Follow my posts by email

Thursday, 23 April 2015

fox in a box

This week I have had to face a dilemma. Do I or do I not rescue this fox cub? Given my feelings about the wild and freedom it seems wrong to take care of a fox cub in a domestic situation but this one had the grim reaper at his side and I just felt I couldn't let that happen if there was a way to save him. I think his siblings and mother were already dead but here the facts are a bit hazy. He was handed over by a gamekeeper.

 Fox Diary day 1.

He seemed much bigger than I’d expected, 5 weeks old approximately and although he has not been sexed I think because of his size he may well be a dogfox. Anyway, for now he is a kit, which is the name given to fox cubs. He was unceremoniously tipped into a huge dog carrying cage the size of a condominium which only just got into the back of my car. When I got home and the coast was clear I struggled up the path with it and put it on the table in the dogs room so that he would be my height and I could sit by the cage and talk to him.

 Weasel (temp name) will only allow me to within a foot of him before he shrinks back and bares his teeth. I am learning the art of patience. All day I've been periodically sitting infront of the cage with the door open, putting my hand in and talking nonsense. I think he suspects I may be mad, certainly not to be trusted though. He has hidden the little egg I gave him in the straw which is what the website on foxes says they like to do. He may or may not eat it. I will leave the radio on all night so he gets used to human noise.

Matt came round and suggested I stroked the fox gently with a stick so he gets used to being touched. I’ll try it tomorrow. Good progress though for a creature that must be traumatized. He even nodded off at one stage when I was talking to him. He must have thought the conversation very boring indeed. Later on in the evening when I came down he’d moved up to the front of the cage and stayed there for a while until Pocket jumped on my lap and he retreated to the back again. Then Pocket jumped on top of the cage and sat there chewing the stick I’d put up there to use tomorrow. All the animals were very interested and Nancy wanted to get in the cage and Pixie was lying underneath it.
 Only Beezle has feigned disinterest. He is probably sulking because Weasel sounds very like his own name.


Weasel is asleep. This is not surprising as he his a nocturnal creature – but it’s either  a good sign because it means he feels more relaxed or he is snoozing because he’s getting fed up with the stick. I suppose I should be leaping out of bed at around three in the morning to check on his activities.I chose a soft pussy willow and have been stroking his head and back with it. He doesn’t seem to mind and I think he secretly rather likes having his ears touched. He makes them go flat when the stick touches them. But if my hand holding the stick goes nearer than about eight inches he snarls and bares his teeth, leaping to his feet and going into attack mode. He still hasn’t eaten the egg and likes to tip his bowl over and hide the food under it so it’s difficult to tell how much he’s actually eating. I think he’d like to eat my hand.

As Beezle and Antoine de Saint-Exupery would say "Men have forgotten this truth. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

The fox.

The shepherd on his journey heard when nigh
His dog among the bushes barking high;
The ploughman ran and gave a hearty shout,
He found a weary fox and beat him out.
The ploughman laughed and would have ploughed him in
But the old shepherd took him for the skin.
He lay upon the furrow stretched for dead,
The old dog lay and licked the wounds that bled,
The ploughman beat him till his ribs would crack,
And then the shepherd slung him at his back;
And when he rested, to his dog's surprise,
The old fox started from his dead disguise;
And while the dog lay panting in the sedge
He up and snapt and bolted through the hedge.

He scampered to the bushes far away;
The shepherd called the ploughman to the fray;
The ploughman wished he had a gun to shoot.
The old dog barked and followed the pursuit.
The shepherd threw his hook and tottered past;
The ploughman ran but none could go so fast;
The woodman threw his faggot from the way
And ceased to chop and wondered at the fray.
But when he saw the dog and heard the cry
He threw his hatchet--but the fox was bye.
The shepherd broke his hook and lost the skin;
He found a badger hole and bolted in.
They tried to dig, but, safe from danger's way,
He lived to chase the hounds another day.