Under the shed

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.

Garden Sheds

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).

Vixen Poorly

Contrast that with the healthy dog fox (that I think and hope is her mate).

He is bushy tailed, alert and bouncy.

Fox OK

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???


14 thoughts on “Under the shed

  1. Hi there, Jane 🙂

    Good to see you back home safely. Gosh this sounds fascinating – foxes giving birth under your shed!! I cannot imagine that 😮

    I wonder if the building of a new school a few streets back from us will drive the foxes in our direction. We have seen a very occasional visitor walking up the street in front of our house.

    I hope you manange to sort the mange out soon. Just before Christmas we had a guinea pig with this and we were close to loosing it. The vet gave her a steriod injection and put drops on the back of her neck her with more drops two weeks later. She is still with us. He said she could have been born with it. She never liked to be handled at all before she was treated and now I can lift and hold her! She screamed dreadfully when the vet handled her. They must be in a lot of pain with this too – we were told she could have scratched herself to death. Of course you are not likely to be able to help a wild animal like this – good luck with your treatments.

  2. Thanks for the welcome home Shirl. No, my treatment will have to go in the honey sandwiches. They’ve eaten the lot tonight, so I’m hopeful they will take their medicine once it arrives. I hope the foxes come and see you! Jane

  3. Wotcha Jane!
    Welcome back to balmy blighty!
    I’ve never seen a fox with mange that bad – good luck with helping her out – I’m sure you’ll be successful.

    You said “Why do you do this?”
    The answer’s simple of course! –
    Because you care.

    I really look forward to the adventures of your fox family in the spring!

  4. Thanks Black Rabbit. There was lots of foxy action on the CCTV last night, so I will keep you posted. Counted four foxes on the camera (and one cat!). Looks like there might be some competition for the “des res” under the shed. Jane

  5. Hi Jane, you must be feeling the cold after sunny Florida.
    Hope the treatment works keep us all posted, this will be interesting to watch.

    I have just been catching up on your posts and you have stunning photos of an amazing array of animals/birds and I’m sure you have loads more, look forward to seeing them.


  6. Mike. Blimin cold! I haven’t seen the mangey fox for 3 nights now. It may have been too late. Will keep you posted.

    Yes, lots more from Florida to show you, plus so much going on at home. It’s finding the time to stick it all on the blog that’s difficult.

    Thanks for your comments. Really appreciate them.


  7. Good to have you back Jane – shell shock for the first week or so and then it’s ‘what holiday?’!

    Interestingly I’ve mange in the cattle this winter too. Apparently there’s much more around. We also have foxes with it – they pass it onto the dogs. It’s a horrid distressing thing.

  8. Thanks Misti. It’s quite big in English garden terms (about 1/4 acre in all), I guess in American terms it’s probably quite small. It is lovely though. Hopefully can show you some of the flowers and other stuff in the summer. Jane

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