But 2013 was a drought year in CA, and the kit fox pair only had one pup.
So, since this El Nino-ish season had reasonable rain on the Plain, we thought we'd try again.
And this time we tripled our fun: a mom, dad, and 3 pups.
Here's a sampling from the set, starting with 5 nights in late March...
Dad SJ kit fox next to the natal den
Taking a break - while he can
Pups coming out of the den to greet dad
You'll note there's a bit more green on the ground this round.
A sign of the better season. Unfortunately, much of it is non-native filaree (Erodium cicutarium). However, much like cattle, the local kangaroo rats and pocket mice, including the endangered Giant Kangaroo Rat, Dipodomys ingens, like to eat filaree. And their populations do well when the filaree does well. Which benefits the kit foxes and other rodent-dependent predators.
Mom SJ kit fox dropping off 5 k-rats she brought back for the puppies
That's mom with the radio tracking collar. She's part of a broader study to understand their movements in the area. And that's 5 k-rats at her feet the pup is going after. Nicely done, mom!
Dad under tail attack
Junior explorers - "follow me!"
"Ow, ow, ow - you're so fierce and vicious…"
Notice how the puppies are more using their ears than their eyes to track and look for each other...
Nothing cuter than scampering puppy butts.
Dad with a mouthful for the puppies
Next up: Morning w/ Mom - the 3 kit fox puppies hanging out in the morning sun with their ma.
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - In a Family Way
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - The Terrible Twos
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Kit Fox Family - Bonus Tracks
- 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