A very nice lady called us a couple of days ago regarding what she believed to be a Coyote pup or a Red Fox kit that had fallen into her window well. She thought perhaps it had been down there a couple of days given that her dog had been scratching on the top of the deck over the presumably (externally) inaccessible window well. As she spoke, I heard a noise and advised her that it sounded like she had a Fox kit rather than a Coyote pup.
She retrieved the kit from the window well and brought it to us. The Fox kit was in excellent condition – not even suffering from dehydration and clearly had not been in the window well for days. It looked, rather, that the kit had fallen into the window well the night prior.
We kept the Fox kit overnight while plotting the best way to try and safely reunite her with Mom. She ate well but made very clear her displeasure about being with us.
The kit was too old to place her outside in an unconfined space as she would wander off, perhaps never finding Mom and dying – all without us ever knowing. We had to find a way to reunite them so that Mom would find the kit in a confined space that still enabled Mom to get her out. This was the conundrum….
The next morning, we finally hatched a plan. The homeowner agreed to buy a 3′ high pet excercise pen. These are the metal pens that stake into the ground – often used to contain puppies, thus creating a confined play area. Our thought was that the kit would bark or yip, the Mom would eventually hear her and come to her aid and that the Mom would dig under the excercise pen to release her. Wanting to avoid nocturnal predators such as raccoons, we felt it was safer to being in the afternoon and pull the kit back inside at dark. The homeowner agreed to keep vigil from inside her house and intervene if the kit was in danger.
We put the kit in the excercise pen at around 2:00 pm, hoping for the best….As we thought, the kit started barking about 45 minutes later. About 5:00 pm, the mother Fox arrived. She circled the pen several times and then started digging. Soon the kit was able to crawl under. Mom and kit wandered off together back towards the den.
We couldn’t be happier that Mom was smart and tenacious and that the homeowner was committed to do her part to reunite mother Fox and her kit. We only wish that we had pictures to share with you of this happy ending. Hopefully neighbors will witness the joy of the Fox kits playing together and socializing over the coming weeks. If we get photos, we will post them for your enjoyment.
Please consider covering all window wells. We have seen many animals trapped in window wells that dehydrate and starve to death, or young that subsequently die of hypothermia like a fawn we saw last year. Even window wells that seem inaccessible can often be accessed by young animals.
Our thanks to the homeowner!