Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Island Fox Pups

Across the Channel Islands, island fox pups are being born. For their first months of life they look more like little brown bears than their dramatically marked parents. 

Typically, island foxes become parents in their second year, but sometimes a male or female may become a first-time parent before they are a year old.

Most island fox pairs have 2-3 pups in a litter, but a young female like our Twitter fox, Tani, might have only one pup. 

This year rainfall on the Channel Islands has been low to normal. Weather can also affect the number of pups born because rainfall can impact food resources. Annual rainfall.

island fox bringing 3 deer mice home for family, photo courtesy NPS
While female island foxes are in their dens with their new born pups, the fathers play the role of providers, bringing food to their mate and eventually the pups. 

Over the last year Friends of the Island Fox has followed Tani, an island fox character, as she grew up and became a mother herself. Join us as we follow Tani's mate, Tiptu, and get a male fox's perspective over the next few months on Twitter and Facebook. Tiptu, is "big ears" in Chumash, the local native American language. Tiptu has befriended another rare animal only found on the Channel Islands - an island scrub-jay. 

Island scrub-jays have a family structure similar to the island fox, so Jay will have insight to help his friend the island fox through his first year as a father. The island scrub-jays are nesting as well. Spring brings all kinds of new life to the Channel Islands.