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Saturday, May 26, 2012

South Beach Baby Foxes ~ 2012

My photos of baby foxes on San Juan Island have been some of my most popular blog posts over the years. Last weekend a sighting of a baby fox along the road tipped me off as to the location of this year's den. They weren't as young as I've seen them some years, but they were still pretty darn cute. I saw at least two orange ones and one black one. What was amazing about this year's den is how close it was to one of the remaining rabbit warrens near South Beach! That's the fox in the front, and all the brown lumps in the background are rabbit holes.

Baby foxes are never too skittish - more curious than anything else. I'm hoping that's not because they get fed by humans! Last year that was definitely the case, as the den was right by the road. This year, they were a little more remote.

All these foxes were kind of squinty-eyed. Was it just too bright that day, or was it some genetic trait? It seemed to me they looked different than other baby foxes I've seen.

There's always been a lot of debate on San Juan Island as to whether the foxes eat the rabbits. They're both introduced species, but there's been an effort to eradicate the rabbits from at least the prairies at American Camp, where the National Park Service wants more native plants to return. Personally, I've never seen the foxes catch anything larger than a rat, and doubt that a fox could take down an adult rabbit. Maybe the adult foxes can take baby rabbits, but I don't think they're a main staple of their diet. Plenty of people will disagree with me, but there's my two cents! Still, that doesn't keep the fox kits from getting some good sport out of chasing adult rabbits. Check out this little guy stalking a rabbit that was probably his equal in size, if not bigger:

The rabbit probably knew he was just fine, but when the fox got closer he bolted down his hole anyway. The fox looked like he thought about pursuing him, but he didn't:

The black fox wasn't interested in checking me out, but he too came on scene with the rabbits. Notice the rabbit in the background:

Next up, a trip southbound. Birding from Stanwood to to Saint Helens will get me back into the year list race with Dave!


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

(Red) foxes certainly eat rabbits (also introduced) here - one of their main staples.
A trip southbound eh...just knew my lead wouldn't last! Enjoy



Lois Evensen said...

Foxes certainly eat rabbits around here. Since deer have returned to our deep in the city area, the coyotes have returned, too.