Spring is in the air. Flowers are poking up through the soil, trees are turning bright green and many animals have begun adding new members to their families.
One baby animal in particular has been popping up quite a bit — often, in suburban backyards.
Mother foxes know large predators, such as bears, coyotes and mountain lions, avoid places where humans live. So when it’s time to start a family, foxes have been making their dens in backyards, hoping to keep their families safe. Normally, foxes avoid people, but in this case, they understand that the short stay is worth it.
“I usually tell people, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend,’” a representative from Critter’s Caretaker, a wildlife sanctuary in New York, told The Dodo. “Meaning the fox doesn’t want to make a home close to us, but we offer security from their biggest enemy — the coyote.”
If you see foxes in your yard, you shouldn’t be afraid. In fact, you should feel free to enjoy your new visitors at a careful distance.
“A fox will often den under a porch, shed, garage, barn or side of a hill,” Critter’s Caretaker wrote in a Facebook post. “Please offer them a short-term rental because this is not a permanent situation. If you are lucky enough to see how beautiful an adult fox is or witness the kits playing (at a distance, of course), you will be glad you did!”
Baby foxes, or kits, will stay in the den with their siblings and mother for about a month. Eventually, they’ll leave the den, feeling confident enough to start exploring. By the time fall rolls around, these kits will be ready for a life on their own. Homeowners don’t have to worry — they won’t be in the backyard forever.
“During the summer, as the kits grow older, you will see less and less of them,” Critter’s Caretaker wrote. “By September, everyone will have packed up and moved on.”
Though it may seem tempting to call a wildlife removal service when you see a fox, Critter’s Caretaker strongly urges anyone who sees one of these families to leave them alone and let them grow up without interference.
“Please do not hurt me or my mom,” the sanctuary wrote, from the perspective of a baby fox. “We just temporarily moved to the neighborhood so we could be safe.”