TRR photo by Ed Wesely
A flash, used to shoot this May 13 photograph, is mirrored in the fox pup’s eyes. For scale, the vertical post is 17 inches high. (click for larger image)

Stray fox pups. Orphaned wild young are common in late spring, but to encounter a stray fox pup, such as the one in my picture, is pretty rare.

The vixen -- from “fyxen,” archaic English for “female fox”-- had been raiding our chicken flock in early April before vanishing from the neighborhood. Later, a pair of fox pups began visiting local yards, but the one I encountered on May 13 was alone and seemed disoriented.

Thanks to a Elise Able, director of the Foxwood Rehabilitation Center near Buffalo, I learned the youngster was healthy, and might be old enough to survive without its mother.

“On carefully examining the picture you e-mailed, I would say that this fox is about 10 weeks old. It does not appear to have mange [a scourge of wild fox populations]. However, I do think that Momma may not be around anymore.”

Elise advised me to set out Blue Seal dog food once a week “well off the road in a spot where they can find it.” But eight days later, the dog food was untouched and no fox pups had reappeared.


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