Tag Archives: red fox

Animal Rescue – Newsflash 28/04/2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a fox cub my mother rescued after we found out the vixen had been killed. I promised you an update on her progress and I spoke to the lady who took her in last week so here’s the latest.

At first she weighed between 300-400g and was a little dehydrated but put on 100g in 3 days after becoming fully hydrated and taking immediately to a diet of fresh meat.

Hard to believe this little sweetie will turn into our apex predator!

She had a couple of tics and was infested with worms and fleas, which she generously passed on to her carers (just the fleas!), but was otherwise in good health. After a course of parasite treatment she came on in leaps and bounds and began to show signs of hunting behaviour by fighting with an old sock.

After a week and a half with her original benefactors she was passed on to a rescue centre near Kings Lynn in Norfolk where she was introduced to another orphaned cub. They had a good old scrap during which the pecking order was established and after that they knew their respective places and got along well. So everything is now being put in place for a release date in August, which is when a wild fox cub would be venturing out on its own.

So everything is looking good for a return to the wild for this little lady and I’ll hopefully get another progress report in about a months time.  I’ll try to find out if it will be possible to photograph her eventual release and I’ll share updates and photographs as and when.

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Animal Rescue

It was Easter last weekend and my parents were visiting. On Saturday I had walked the dog in the fields north of Histon and shortly after entering the field another dog walker told me there was a fox cub (Vulpes vulpes, Dansk: rød ræv) in the undergrowth I had just walked past. So I retraced my steps and sure enough there was this adorable little creature exploring the parapet of the ditch:

It’s body was only 6-7 inches long and I guessed it was the boldest of a litter which had taken the opportunity to wander whilst the mother was out hunting. So I took a few photographs and left it to it’s own devices, and when I completed my loop it was no longer there so I assumed it had returned to the den.

The following day my mother accompanied us for a walk in the hope it was still there, and indeed there it was in exactly the same place, but this time it seemed considerably emboldened and I was extremely concerned that a pet dog may kill it as this was right on a very popular dog walking route. My mother decided that my father should see it and she was going to return and fetch him, so I carried on to walk the dog.

When I got back my mother had been told by someone who lives close by that the vixen had been killed and the cub was orphaned so she rescued it and when I got back it was in a box on top of the piano. Which left me with a dilemma: what does one do with an orphaned fox cub at 4pm on Easter Sunday? It proved to be tricky to find somewhere that took wild animals, so in the end I rang up Wood Green Animal Shelter at Godmanchester, which is only about 12  miles from here, in the hope they would know somewhere that would take the little orphan. And luck was with us, they made some enquiries and gave me the phone number of a lady who lived fairly close by who had reared orphaned fox cubs in the past and was prepared to take ours. So self, mother, the children and the boxed up fox cub were bundled into the car and off we went, and an hour later our little cub was in the hands of someone who was skilled in the art of looking after wild foxes. Result!

It turned out to be a 3-4 week old vixen, who apart from being dehydrated seemed to be in reasonably good shape. She was expected not only to survive but was to be passed on to a wildlife sanctuary for eventual release into the wild. My fingers are crossed that this happens and she has at least one litter of her own cubs. I’m going to try to find out how she does and if I can get an update I’ll let you know.

Springtime song

The weather this  Saturday was glorious – no wind, blue sky and warm sunshine. Perfect for a stroll around the countryside. So I set off around 8am and apart from the warmth, the first thing I noticed was the air laden with the  fragrances of spring blossom.

In the last week the spring weather has caused trees and flowers including the willow to blossom…


Pussy willow – the furry catkin of the willow tree against a gorgeous blue sky, and a lone honeybee

Butterflies are waking up after hibernation. A red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) flew through my garden last week and a friend told me he saw a brimstone in his garden and another wended its way gently past a window at work today.

Red admiral on a bindweed flower
Red admiral feeding on a convulvulus flower

Red admiral are resident and can be seen all year round when weather permits. Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) are also resident and hibernate over the winter but they are now out and about aroused by the warm weather. Bumble bees have also become more abundant in the last few weeks and I now see them on most days.

The birds are all singing and a walk through parks and fields is accompanied by the song of greenfinch, blue tit, great tit, dunnock and robin, most noticeably. And on my hike across the fields abundant yellowhammer, reed bunting and corn bunting, three Emberiza species, were all in full voice:


E.citrinella – one of many yellowhammer, this one is a male, patrolling the hedgerows

E.schoeniclus – reed bunting male

E.calandra – corn bunting making its very distinctive call

Yellowhammer, reed bunting and corn bunting perch in hedgerows and  make feeding forays to the ground in the neighbouring fields where they feast on seeds and during the breeding season and  summer will eat invertebrates. I pass one location where there has been a mixed group of 20-30 reed bunting and yellowhammer present regularly over the last month. Corn bunting have made a recent comeback to the fields around Histon, they disappear at harvest time, middle to end of August, and reappear in the Spring when they can be seen perched on top of brambles, bushes and short trees making their very characteristic song.

Skylark were also singing constantly. Farmland species such as these have seen their habitat severely depleted in recent times, consequently their numbers are reduced as a result.

A red fox and a small group of roe deer put in appearances, the fox was heading a cross the fields to Landbeach heading away from a place I photographed cubs last year, so I hope they are breeding here again this year.


Roe deer – Capreolus capreolus – the leader on the right is sporting native antlers

A pair of crows chased off a buzzard which thermalled over the fields before disappearing into the haze towards Waterbeach and a flock of several hundred black headed gulls squawked noisily over the fields. I observed them for several minutes with binoculars and I think they were all black heads, but there could have been a few individuals of other species mixed in. A sparrowhawk flew at very high speed from the Linnet Hedge across South Bean Field before rising up and passing through a gap in the treeline, causing mayhem with the birdlife in the gardens beyond and a female kestrel was looking for rodents in the South Fallow Field. It was the first time I’d seen birds of prey here for several months so it was great to see three species on one walk.