Friday, February 04, 2022

Love is in the Air for Island Foxes, Too

February isn't just the month of romance for humans, it is also when island fox pairs find a den and mate.

Island foxes are more monogamous than their gray fox ancestors. Territory and resources are limited on the Channel Islands and a pair of island foxes works together to protect their territory from other island foxes. They also work together to provide food for their pups. 

For the first month or so of the pups' lives, the female island fox stays close to the den to feed the pups and help keep them warm. She needs a male partner she can depend on to bring her food. A male island fox may bring his lady love a dead deer mouse or a small bird, to show that he is a good provider.

He also will protect their territory to keep the pups safe (and to keep other male island foxes away from his mate). 

A mouse gift may not seem as romantic as chocolates to us, but to a female island fox the gift of a deer mouse means her mate will be dependable and committed to helping her raise healthy pups.