Personal Development and Spirituality Topics

with Karen Scheel

Red Fox Kits

It has always been my belief that animals have more conscious awareness than most human animals realize. In my twenty plus years here at Frog Hollow, I have come to learn that unlike humans, animals do not produce more offspring than the land can support. We have always had a certain number of any given species – no more and no less. Although, land development has been forcing some animals out of their homes and a few extra mouths have been showing up the last few years to get a meal before moving on to wherever they go. There is no doubt the wild critters living here are well cared for and maybe too well, especially considering the harsh reality of the world their offspring must endure….

Our resident red fox couple has two fox dens that I know about – their winter home and their summer home, which is closer to my house. After the vixen becomes pregnant, she relocates to their summer home in late January or early February, and the male works like a dog to keep her comfortable. There have been occasions when I have glanced out the window to see him running by with a fresh catch of some kind. But the pickings are slim, so I have tended to leave a meal for two out for him because I know some will be taken back to his pregnant or nursing mate.

Shortly after leaving a meal out late one afternoon, I heard all kinds of screeching fox calls going on outside, which brought me to the window to see the entire fox family right there big as life. Mom and Pop were eating while their four rambunctious kits were romping all over the place. We have NEVER had six foxes – it has always been three or four foxes total and only for a number of months. It was like National Geographic right outside my window, and I called my neighbors to let them know about this first time sixer news event.

All appeared healthy – no mange, which had me feeling relieved but that would change. The following photograph is the best that I could come up with and reflects three of the four kits playing a game of tag. It is quite clear that the one running at high speed was totally oblivious to any human like me or my neighbors that had come to check out the show  – it was all about “catch me if you can” for this kit. S/he was fast as hell and had them all running in circles, which eventually tired them out!

Red Fox Kits Playing Tag

I began to leave six piles of food out each evening and kept a close eye on my fox family. The winter had been mild so it was a given that the mange mite population was thriving. Additionally, the vixen’s immune system was still recovering from giving birth and nursing four kits. Contrary to my hope, the dreaded scratching signs of mange began to appear within a matter of weeks. The kits would be leaving in September so I had approximately two and a half  months to focus on building their immune systems before it was time for them to venture out to locate a new home. Papa had the strongest immune system so he was the least effected. However, Momma and the smallest kit had the weakest and both became the major feasting sites for the mange mites. Momma was completely bald from the flank down within two weeks of noticing the initial signs and her inflamed pink skin was on the verge of transitioning to the next stage.

Clearly, there was no time to waste and I hit the entire family hard with mange treatments along with providing larger portions of high quality cat and human foods. Their coats are thin but all have fur and the rest is up to the “Forces That Be.” Momma lives here so she will get the care she needs, and I hope that her urban wildlife babies will go on to live long and healthy lives without suffering an excruciating death by mange. It is also my hope that they will choose a residence around humans that recognize their needs that will take good care of them. Aho! May this be so!

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  1. Hi there,
    I liked your article and was wondering how you dosed the babies ? What quantity of ivermectin ? There was a fox we dosed a few times in winter and now we found her in spring with her 5 babies. I’ve been reluctant to dose the babies because I was worried it could hurt them but in the past week it went from 5 babies to 3 so I’m concerned they might have died . Any advice is greatly appreciated . I’ve included a link to a video I made of them 1 week ago. Fox Kit Video

  2. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for sharing your video – so cute!

    ivermectin is something that has to be given daily for i think it is 10 -14 days in intervals – think it’s 5 days on and then every other day or something like that. Although, need to be very careful with dosage amounts, and may want to ask a vet or do some research online to locate treatment, and be sure to cross reference any information you do locate online.

    Momma is definitely in need of treatment but the kits look great in the video. I have had good success adding immune system supplements to the food. Vitamin C crystals ascorbic acid in powder form is extremely important. Sulphur 30C is a homeopathic remedy used to treat mange and many other skin conditions – cost is under $10.00. Although, homeopathic remedies need to be given alone. However, using the remedy on a very small treat also works, and then you wait about 15 minutes before feeding, which can be a real pain.

    Targeting each one is the challenge and the best bet is to leave food for each fox with several feet of space between each. This will train them to eat in their own area. Although, it is not uncommon for one to hoover his/her food and then move in on a sibling’s meal, so there is more risk involved if using ivermectin and is one reason i would exercise extreme caution and work on training them before using this drug. If you do opt to go this route then try to make sure the ivermectin is at the very top of the food so that it is consumed in the first or second bite, which may reduce the risk of poisoning one that might move in on another meal.

    Additionally, if you are able to access the area where they sleep then you might want to treat this area as well. There are many products out there but would look for one that is organic and non-toxic to use in their sleeping area. Hope this helps and i wish you the best!!

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