Late one morning, the supervisor of a construction crew, working at the old Lowry Air Force Base, called us concerned. He had
found a baby fox dead on the road and another one had been sitting under a tree for hours, all alone.
He had contained the young fox in a box. We asked him to bring it to us, which he did.
We removed the fleas from the baby, put him on heat and provided him with water and food. Once he was
settled in, three volunteers jumped into the van and drove to the site.
We located a fox den very close to where the young fox was found alive. It was perhaps eight feet away.
There did not seem to be any recent activity around the den. There was no fresh dirt from a parent enlarging and cleaning the den.
We found no remnants of birds or other parts of animals around the entrance to the den.
We discussed options and concerns, and finally decided that we had to dig up the den. With no evidence of a parent, one dead
baby and one lone, lost baby, we felt we had no choice. There may be other starving fox kits in the den. We were
fortunate in that the construction crew was deeply concerned about the welfare of the remaining young foxes. The
supervisor offered the use of a backhoe and the crew. We gratefully accepted, as digging up a den is hard. The packed
dirt would be very strenuous, backbreaking work.
As the huge machine rumbled and bounced towards us, we worried that it would cave in the den. As the operator and
the machine started digging, we were sure that it would dig so deep as to injure any babies there were left.
We were incredibly impressed at the control of the operator. Each time he lowered the blade, he only took off a
few inches at a time. As he came closer to the tunnels, he reduced that to only an inch at a time. Pure talent!
As we reached the main room of the den, an adult fox suddenly poked its head out and bolted. She was a block
away before we could even react. Once we got over our shock, we found ourselves looking at the main room of the den. Indeed there were fox kits, six all together. The amazing and confounding thing was the age difference of the kits. Four of them were about five weeks old and two of them were about three weeks old with their eyes just beginning to open. It was obvious that there were two separate litters living together in the same den. We had never heard or read anything that indicated that different parents shared the same den. Absolutely amazing! Unfortunately, we found two kits dead as well, one of the older ones and one of the younger ones.
We were faced with a heart-breaking dilemma. We knew that there was one adult present. We did not know if
it was the male or the female. The den was a mess and we had found two dead babies in the den. Did we
take the babies or leave them? We also needed to keep in mind that the construction crew was there for a reason.
Lowry Air Force Base was (and is) being heavily developed. We gave the matter serious thought and discussion. Balancing
all the information, we decided to take the babies. Something was wrong with the situation and their future was skeptical.
Because of that, we had the operator expose all tunnels to make sure we had all of them. Good thing we did. We found one
more kit hiding in a narrow opening beside a slab of concrete. We had them all.
Eleven fox kits were found all together, including the dead. The ones that were alive were in fairly good condition. None
were emaciated or severely dehydrated. Although, they were covered with fleas and filthy, because no parent had cleaned them for several days.
Once they were back at the facility and the fleas removed, they were examined closely. They would be fine once they were
furnished with water and food.
We would like to thank the caring, compassionate construction crew. What would have taken us all day to accomplish, they did in
45 minutes. Not only did they help save the lives of eight foxes, but also, our energy and sore muscles.
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