Fox’s den, or badger’s sett?

3rd February 2012: This week I returned to my quest: finding the marsh vixen’s birthing earth. I’ve searched the marsh and Hoo Wood for likely locations many times, but without success. I have spent a lot of time pondering on where the den might be. I’ve followed fox runs during summer and winter, hoping they would lead me to me to the den. I located the vixen’s summer den last year, where she takes her cubs in late May. I suspect that she is using an old badger den to have her cubs, but I am having difficulty proving it. There is one particular sett that I suspect of being the den I am searching for, and there have been many fox paw prints around the entrance. My problem is that I have photographed foxes and badgers entering and exiting the sett through the same entrance, at different times. I have witnessed a badger chasing a fox out of the sett, but I am still not sure that my suspicions are correct. Obviously, the den will be in dry ground, which rules out most of the marsh. Another thing I am certain of is that badgers and foxes are not going t0 be living together in the same sett. It has occurred to me that the foxes might hassle the badger inhabitant until it abandons the sett. I also know that the foxes visit all the badger’s setts regularly. Whenever I put a remote camera close to a sett, I get fox and badger images. Maybe, just maybe, I am barking up the wrong tree … or should that be, barking down the wrong sett?

I can’t help thinking that, if the birthing earth is on the marsh, I should have found it by now. I might think this, but I am not yet ready to believe it….

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8 Comments on “Fox’s den, or badger’s sett?

  1. Is that a woodcock? Don’t see them where I live any longer.
    Your search is exciting! Thanks for bringing us along.

    • Thank you.

      The vixen is shown in the photograph to the right. It is just a matter of time until I find the sett. I have around four months to find the den this year. Next month the vixen will be confined to her den with her new cubs. When the cubs are born, the vixen will not leave them for at least ten days.

      During April, the cubs will be allowed aboveground for short periods. 🙂

  2. Sounds like a hard task to me, especially as your are capturing both foxes and badgers in/out the same hole. I suspect you will find the answer the day after you stop looking.

    • Hmm … maybe I will, Vickie. I have a strong feeling that I am looking in the wrong place. There is a small part of my brain holding me to the badger sett being the fox earth theory. February, March and April are the best months for me to solve the mystery. I am now wondering if the den that I have called the summer den is, in fact, the birthing den, after all. I will keep an eye on the summer den as well as the badger sett. One way or another, I am determined to get decent fox cub images this year.

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