Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It’s a Jungle Out There

Remember the frantic repetition from MGM’s The Wizard of Oz— “Lions and tigers and bears, OH, MY!”—?

It’s beginning to resemble my back yard.

In addition to deer, (& their babies) and raccoons, (and their babies) and opossums, and squirrels, and small snakes, and crows, and swallows, we now have…

And we live in the city.

The Mama doe chased my cats away from her babies, who were larger than my cats. The foxes, on the other hand, played (yes!) with my cats. They rolled on their backs on the ground, teasing as dogs do when they frolic about, and then played chase. But I imagine that if any of my cats were to approach the den where this pair of foxes has their babies, the parents would get ferocious and forget about play chasing. They'd likely cause real damage.

What a jungle!

On our part, we watch from the distance our small yard allows, no more than twenty feet, and try to photograph our guests with a zoom lens. 
We assume their habitat must have been nearby, and somehow got disturbed. Because until this spring none of these wild animals ventured into our small back yard so close to people. It is definitely unusual for foxes to come out for hours in the middle of the day, and let us get this close.

I do worry about my cats. I make sure they have a way to come inside in a hurry. But still…

Of the whole menagerie of uninvited guests, it’s the foxes that captivate me. They are monogamous, and raise their kits together, male and female sharing equally in the care of their young. Call them perfect!
They typically have six to ten kits at one time. I haven’t looked for their den, so as to not disturb their family. But three young'uns have been spotted at one time, playing with tennis balls left behind. They push them with their noses to one another. I kid not. The next thing you know I'll be reporting their newly invented tournament. Stay tuned.

I remind myself they are wild, and must stay that way. We do not feed nor offer our guest room to them. I hope they leave soon and find a home where they can properly roam.

The other day one of the foxes stopped by my window, not even three feet away from me, and we looked at each other.
“No cookies for you,” I said. The fox cocked its head a bit and kept looking.
“Nah-ah,” I repeated. Fox lowered its tail, and a second later was gone. Had it not returned with its mate the next day, no one would have believed me.

I hope we all have a happily-ever-after picture book ending. Oh, my.


  1. They are so cute! Thank you for capturing them on film and sharing them with us. We get our share of wildlife ... but then again, we're at the edge of the wildness and expect it. I enjoy their presence -- it is a gift.

  2. What a fun post! Perhaps you have the making of a back yard critter picture book. We had baby raccoons in our back yard last week. By the time I found my camera, though, they had disappeared. Your snapshots are wonderful!

  3. Wow, how amazing is that! I get possums, skunks, feral cats, squirrels, and birds by the dozens but never a fox? And with a mate and family? You are so lucky!

  4. So cute! I love having a family of deer in my yard. I'd love a fox too. Snakes are not welcome in my yard though. Ew!

  5. I foresee a pb about a fox family playing tennis. ?? Thanks for the pics, Mirka. My kids would love your backyard!

  6. How interesting! We often saw deer in town during a drought season when they would come in closer foraging for food, but never anything like this. It must be fun to watch the foxes so close up. Let's hope you don't see any cougars in your back yard!

  7. Foxes are so cute! We get raccoons and possums in our Sacramento backyard (and sometimes skunks, too!), but no foxes. What will you do with them? Have them taken out to the wilds and turned free?

  8. That is amazing! I've had a lot of animals in my yard but never foxes.

    I attended a house warming at a friend's new digs one time and we were talking about critters in the yard. Literally, within ten minutes of me mentioning that we had never had foxes in the yard, a young fox meandered past the screened porch where we sat - like we weren't even there. Amazing.

  9. They're gorgeous and how amazing that you have a wildlife habitat in your back yard! We have a lot of wildlife too but I wish we'd see foxes. :)

  10. So adorable! It is hard to remember they are wild animals, especially when they come up to the house like that. We've had lots of (nesting) birds, squirrels, and bunnies in the yard this spring, along with the occasional deer or turkey.

  11. So cool!!! I'm envious. Foxes are fascinating little things and how cute that they play with your cats. Sounds like a story book to me. :)

  12. Goodness, they are so cute! It's hard to imagine you live in a city, Mirka, with so many 'guests.'

    1. It's a guess, but the California drought may have something to do with it. It could be that the wildlife's water sources have dried up. We don't leave water out, but no doubt our plumbing in the city must have cracks, and animals are experts at finding these.

  13. Soccer Fox - you might have something there... They're very sweet, but how strange they've just shown up now.

  14. Loved hearing about your menagerie. Those foxes are adorable.

  15. Wow! I can't believe the foxes played with your cats. What an incredible jungle you do have out there!