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Friday, April 9, 2010

Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation - Red Fox Kit

Every Spring, the Park begins another year of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and 2010 is no orphan red fox baby (called a kit) was brought in recently to the Park. His eyes and ears were still closed which indicated he was approximately 1 week old...weighing only a few ounces, this little guy fit right into the hand of our state and federal licensed animal rehabilitator as seen in the first photo. In the second photo, this is red fox kit now...almost 2 weeks later...look how he has grown! His eyes and ears are now open. His nose has grown longer for a more characteristic fox look, and his fur color is lightening up just a bit. He is still a little wobbly on his legs, but just like most mammal babies, he will get more steady as he practices his walking. He is being fed and cared for until he is old enough to be safely released back into the wild.

Notice his dark coloration...he does not look much like a red fox! Red fox kits are born dark in color to blend in with the ground (where the den is located) as protection from predators. As he matures, his coat will change and could range in color to from a deep orange-red to a light golden color. In Illinois, the red fox breeding season takes place in January through early February (approximately a 52-day gestation period). Litters are then born late March through April. The mother fox is called a vixen.

While the rescue of the red fox kit was done properly, in that the individual monitored the kit to see if the parents came back and contacted WPSP for advice, many well-meaning people rescue animals they believe are orphaned or abandoned. Most baby animals are not abandoned, even though you might not see their parents. That is because many animal parents leave the nest to forage for food for the babies and themselves. Other animal parents stay away from their babies as much as possible to avoid attracting attention by predators. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple call to WPSP...we can advise you on the best choice of action when it comes to animal rescue.

Each year, WPSP receives or rehabilitates many, many animals and care is given by our animal rehabilitator and support from our staff. While the Park provides room and board, food and other supplies are funded primarily by our rehabilitator. Please consider supporting these efforts by our dedicated staff as a friend of wildlife rescue! Please call our main phone number at 676-0998 and make your donation. We, as well as the animals, thank you!


Blogger Unknown said...

Some years ago a mixed collie mother was hit by a car and killed when her puppies were only about 6 days old. I volunteered to try to save one of the puppies life (with the knowledge of a vet). She lived to be 11 years old but she was always my baby. Your red fox kit story brings back beautiful memories. Thank you for saving our young friends. Marilyn Lester

April 16, 2010 at 7:25 AM  

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