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OTHER VOICES: The Little Foxes

I received the following from one of my 2nd cousins, Jane. She is widowed and travels a lot in her RV. I found it interesting and told her so. She responded by telling me to share it as I wish. I “wish” to share it with you!


People who travel in recreational vehicles often hope to observe wild life on their travels.  Millie, a Jack Russell, made a 20,000 mile trek with me but it wasn’t until in West Georgia, at the end of our trip, that we had our real peek into nature.

Millie and I were parked in a semi-remote parking lot behind a church. The RV was there all the time but we visited only on weekends. The area was adjacent to a flood plain, rarely used by anyone.  It was said to be home to a family of foxes that had a litter of 6-7 kits in the spring that year, although we saw only 2 or 3 at a time.  We could hear them playing and yipping across the parking lot in the middle of the night, sometimes even bumping into the RV.  In the daytime Millie could see their poop left randomly on the asphalt.  Were they challenging Millie?

We camped every weekend after spring, but by August of that year, Millie didn’t want to walk around the area or “do her business.”  I thought that what Millie needed  was a smell that was her own, so next time we went out there, I brought a small freezer bag of Millie’s special poop.  There wasn’t time to dump it onto the ground, so I dropped the little zip-lock freezer bag in the weeds and left, returning that evening.

The television in the RV was softly playing the final round of a Tiger Woods’ golf tournament when the owner saw, out of the RV window, about 7 foxes that appeared to be similar in size and one who was smaller.  Then happened the rarest wild life observation—the foxes had picked up the Millie-poop bag and were playing with it, more like cats play than like dogs.  They threw the bag up, caught it, and played “keep away” for about 45 minutes.  Even though they were no more than 10 yards from the RV, the light and faint sound of the television didn’t seem to attract their attention, except for the smallest fox who kept a watchful eye in the direction of the RV as the “boys” played.

For about 30 minutes, Millie didn’t notice their playful noise or smells (perhaps because she already so frequently sensed those smells and that’s what she was trying to tell me).  Then Millie had to impress them with her alarm bark, so they finished off the game by dropping the poop bag.  One of them drowned it in pee and left it on the asphalt.

The smallest fox, that I suspect was the vixen of the den, dropped to the asphalt right out in plain sight, less than 10 yards away.  She hunkered down like a cat stalking a bird.  She didn’t think anyone would notice that another fox had ambled over to the darkened tree line and crouched too.  They were ready for Millie to take her evening stroll as, I’ll bet, they had watched her do so many times.

No walk for Millie this time, little foxes.

Little foxes, you made your point that the territory was yours.  We moved away that week and hope you all have long lives and many generations of healthy little foxes.

Aug.’08. Jane Cox


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