The young pup has been coming above ground for a month, is weaned, but isn't yet old enough to start seriously hunting with Mom and Dad, nor venture out alone.
Yes, that's right - it's time for the terrible twos.
Months, that is.
Which means a lot of hanging around the den.
Looking for things to do.
Such as playing with your food.
And playing with your parents.
And occasionally chewing on old bones and hooves.
A wise friend once told me a key to parenting young kids is learning the "art of distraction."
If so, these kit fox parents seem to have mastered that art.
Of course, while these family photos are a total joy, they are also a tad sad.
Because our little pup has no siblings, and growing up alongside sibs and learning life skills through play is such a canid thing. I.e., puppy piles.
Plus, it might have given these fantastic fox parents a few more chances to kick back and enjoy the sunsets on the Carrizo Plain.
That's the Dad, btw.
Sure looks like a proud and content papa to me.
Editor's note: this was post 2 of 3 of this kit fox family. The other two posts are here:
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - In a Family Way
- The Wasmann Journal of Biology, Vol 14, 1956 - Ernest C. Twisselmann - A Flora of the Temblor Range and the Neighboring Part of the San Joaquin Valley
- Natural Areas Journal, Vol 31, 2011 - David J. Germano, Department of Biology, California State University Bakersfield - The San Joaquin Desert of California: Ecologically Misunderstood and Overlooked
- CSU Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program - San Joaquin Kit Fox
- CSU Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program - Recovery Plan for San Joaquin Kit Fox
- CSU Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program - Giant Kangaroo Rat