Wednesday, May 16, 2012
My daughter loves foxes and so do I. Here in Maine, we have red foxes, like the one in the photo above, and gray foxes. Growing up out in the country, I would occasionally see a fox crossing the fields, bushy tail floating along behind it. In the winter, it was fun to see a fox hunting for mice underneath the crust of the snow, cocking their ears to listen for the rodents running along and then pouncing when a mouse showed themselves on top of the snow.
This fox lives at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. It has been there my whole life and I love to visit. Wild animals are brought there because they have been hurt or people have picked them up when they are young and brought them home as pets. Oftentimes, people think that the babies are abandoned when the parents are out finding food or are hiding when people intrude into their area.
It is ironic - I was taught to leave wild animals alone when I was a child, but we also had a raccoon for a while and a great horned owl. The raccoon was a baby when it's mother was killed and my father brought it home to raise. It was fun for a while, but then it grew up. One day, it climbed on top of the oven and started feasting on a cheesecake that was cooling there. My father went to get it away from the food and the raccoon (naturally) bit him. After it finished eating, my father put it in a burlap bag and took it to a remote wooded area and let it go. I sometimes wonder how long that raccoon survived after it was let go.
My father also brought home a great horned owl because he was driving home from work and saw an owl that a local doctor had captured and staked out in a field. Its natural enemy, crows, were coming down to plague the owl and the doctor and his friends were shooting them. My father ran out in the field, pulled up the stake, got the owl, and brought it home. It stayed with us for a little while until its wing healed. It was very expensive to feed it raw meat!
I have taught my children to leave wild animals alone, and I practice what I preach. It is fun to go look at the animals at the Wildlife Park, but sad to think that some of them are there because people interfered.
On a happier note, if you like foxes, there is a talking fox in my book "Spellbreaker". My daughter and I also love fairy tales, so Tansy, the main character, gets pulled into a fairy tale. The talking fox is named Reynold and of course, Tansy loves him, letting him cuddle up beside her at night and eat off her plate. I will let you know when "Spellbreaker" comes out as an ebook but in the meantime, support your local Wildlife Park!