Well I’m back in darkest Dorset, and now that I’ve been back a couple of days I’m starting to surface from my jet-lag. While we have been away there has been quite a lot of activity in the garden. Under the shed to be exact.
I thought I’d better give you an idea of the shed/garden layout. The end of the garden is quite a hodge-podge of sheds, hedges, lawns, flowerbeds and bushes (as you can see from the picture above… Andrew will kill me if he sees this!).
The shed on the left is where the “activity” is taking place. Every year, since we moved in, a vixen has used an earth (den) underneath the shed to give birth and raise her cubs. It looks like she is sussing it out again this year as there are signs of digging at the front, side and back. Plus “something” has been collecting bits of old pottery and leaving them outside the hole entrance. Very strange. Maybe they’re into ceramics.
However, there is some bad news. Not only might our shed fall down (from all the digging) but it looks like the preggy vixen has Sarcoptic Mange. Mange is a horrible, painful illness, and will kill a fox in about 3-4 months if not treated. If you’d like to know more about this illness there’s a very good website (where I have ordered up some free homoeopathic mangey-fox-medicine) run by the National Fox Welfare Society. I only found this today.
Here are three pictures of the vixen taken last night. As you can see she is very skinny, and has lost a lot of fur from her back-end. In fact her tail is completely bald (as you can see from the second picture).
Contrast that with the healthy dog fox (that I think and hope is her mate).
He is bushy tailed, alert and bouncy.
These pictures were taken with my infra-red camera, which I have set up in front of the “earth” shed next to the newer greenhouse. Once they have got used to it, I will move in a bit closer and zoom in on one of the entrance holes.
Hopefully, if she does give birth under the shed, I’ll be able to get some film and pictures of the cubs in April/May. Fingers crossed.
First things first… I need to get the vixen healthy. So tonight she has had honey sandwiches, raisins and nuts – oh, and cat food. If I can get her on the road to recovery before she gives birth in mid-march, she might stand a chance of rearing the cubs. Tomorrow I will also try to buy some worming tablets from the vets and animal vitamins to put on her nightly feast.
Oh, why do I do this???