Picture Gallery: Spring on San Juan Island for Mama Foxes and their Child Kits

This kit on the west side of San Juan Island apparently approached his mother for permission to breastfeed.

There is a population of foxes on San Juan Island in northwest Washington state, where I live. They are non-locals who were brought here in the 1930s by islanders who were trying to find a solution for dealing with the island’s other major invasive species, the rabbits (which apparently arrived with early British settlers sometime in the 1850s) to find. . It didn’t really work – the foxes mostly just spread out all over the island while the rabbits stay centered on the south end. However, since foxes are not good swimmers, the species did not spread. They stayed here and became accepted members of the island ecosystem after surviving some tough years in the 1990s.

These are red foxes, but there is a black and silver (technically “melanistic”) variant among them. Some are red and some are black, sometimes in the same family. And every spring, fox mums carry a litter of their young, and island residents can enjoy watching them grow up trying to protect them from passing cars. (It’s also taboo to feed them – naturalists, studying the starving populations we saw in the ’90s, realized that the problem was addiction to people. They thrive when they’re alone because of it There’s a lot of loot for them here.) Event I was able to enjoy a few late afternoons last month and watch them from a reasonable distance with my telephoto lens in hand. I hope you enjoy the results.

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