Foxy Romance on Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve
There are many well-appointed holes with planning permission for use as fox dens spread over Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve. These desirable properties have excellent views and a wide range of well stocked local facilities. A modern vixen with an eye on rearing a new family would do well to consider one of these as her family home. Some vixens, though, will prefer to dig a new den.
I haven’t seen evidence of test digging by the vixen yet this year. It’s early days, I suppose. I realise I’m too eager, but there can be rich rewards for the early bird. I should restrain myself until late April/early May, when the cubs are born and have ventured above ground. It makes more sense to carry out my searches then, otherwise I could frighten her away.
I’m guessing, if there is a mating pair of foxes on the marsh this year, that the vixen will den earlier than usual. I’m assuming that she won’t want cattle stomping over her den roof and worrying her cubs. So I reckon she might commandeer an empty chamber in one of the many vacant, secure and secluded badger setts. Some of these vacant badger setts are fenced from the cattle.
The vixen will take the cubs above ground for the first time on a warm day in April. Some time in May, the vixen will ween the cubs and entice them out of the den by leaving food at increasing distances from the den entrance. It is at this point that a den is more easily spotted: food litter gives away it’s position. It will not be long before the cubs are able to anticipate their parents arrival at the den with food. As their confidence grows, the cubs will spend greater amounts of time waiting outside the den entrance.