|island fox pup, courtesy of I. Rose|
Across the Channel Islands, island fox parents are finding hidden-away spots for a den where females can give birth to pups. Most island fox pups are born in April.
How big are island fox pups at birth? Small - about the size and weight of two AA batteries.
What do you call baby island foxes? Pups or kits. At birth their natal fur is a cocoa brown and their ears appear small and rounded. The pup pictured was born at a zoo in 2006–at that time there was a small breeding population in a few zoos. Island fox dens are not disturbed in the wild.
When do pups emerge from the den? Typically in June. When pups come out into the world they have replaced their baby fur with a coat that looks like their parents. Island fox fur
How many pups are in a litter? Typically, 2–3 pups are born in a litter. Play between siblings is an important part of learning to hunt and interact socially. If food resources are abundant, an island fox pair can have up to 5 pups. In years of drought, few pups are born. Drought year, 2021
What sounds do pups make? LISTEN to the sounds of a young island fox pup.
What do they eat? Like all mammals, island fox pups initially nurse milk from their mother. Gradually, they eat prey brought to them by both of their parents. The parent above is bringing 3 island deer mice back to the den. Both parents teach the pups to hunt and find plant foods. Island fox diet
Are island foxes born knowing how to hunt and find food? No. All of the island foxes currently in captivity were pups that were separated from their parents and did not learn how to provide for themselves in the wild. Island fox pups need their parents to teach them how to hunt and find food.