Reading the foxes’ track book

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Mon, 19.02.2018 - 10:29
Autorid

Photos Arne Ader
Translation Liis

Estonian text posted 14.02.2018

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Foxes courting

Body

 

Fox; Red fox          Rebane or punarebane      Vulpes vulpes

 

Last year in the beginning of autumn when the young foxes became independent they left the nest den. From then on and until the springtime  breeding period foxes have no permanent living space. In winter the fox uses  the den in its territory very rarely. Either in really cold weather or in case of danger, to hide from enemies.

What place does a fox choose in winter for a rest? A higher site or a hillock that offer a good overview of the surroundings is always a good choice; sometimes they also climb up on a silage or straw bale at the verge of a field where the mice that foxes hunt like to be busy.  But observations  indicate that from the latter half of winter that began with Candlemas Day the resting periods are rather spent at forest verges than in open spaces.

The predator with the fluffy fur curls up in a ball for the rest, nose hidden in the fur at the root of the tail but turned towards the wind to catch any threatening smell. The trace of the sleeping site  is barely visible in dense snow – shaped as a small half-circle it will already be hidden by the next snowfall or snowdrift.

The mating period lasts and makes the foxes much more mobile and reduces their caution. While foxes usually move in dusk we may now meet them even at midday. The action area of a fox pair moving together is quite large and it is marked by both the female and the male on rocks, tree stubs, stakes, shrubs, trees … The foxy smell is quite noticeable for a human nose, it is produced by urine together with the secretion from a specific tail gland. When we move in nature during the mating period we may happen to hear a high-pitched intermittent yapping or occasionally even an outright shrill shrieking.

 

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