Foxy Lady

What with her winter coat in tatters and the strain of having recently given birth, she struggles (not altogether unsuccessfully) to retain her regal appearance.

foxHer two kit are delightfully rambunctious with a penchant for teasing and harassing each other.

foxfoxFoxy Lady is a no-nonsense kind of Mom but she tolerates them, for the most part, as they climb and jump all over her.

foxesfoxesBut patience, even for the biblical Job, has its limits.  A good mother has to be constantly alert, and pay attention to the possibility of hurtful things well beyond the limited experience of her playful youngin’s.


I watched her stress level skyrocket as she ran back and forth for several minutes with nose high, jumping up on logs and boulders to scan the surroundings.

Something was not quite right, and she sensed it.

Sure enough, a badger suddenly scampered past the den and her unsuspecting kit.  Fortunately, it was single-mindedly on its way somewhere else.

And sometimes, like with this badger incident when her nerves are frazzled, the kids simply get too much underfoot and snap at her once too often.

foxesfoxesFoxy Lady probably wouldn’t want me to post this picture but here she is losing her cool.  I mean, like, Junior was “only” chewing harmlessly on her back leg. 🙂

foxesTense relationship moments ensue.

foxesJunior is properly repentant.

foxesA little begging for affection from stern Mamma never hurts.

foxesfoxesMamma weakens and all’s right with the world again.

foxes🙂 🙂 🙂

12 Replies to “Foxy Lady”

  1. Oh what an odyssey, John. Absolutely incredible photographs, I’ve never seen anything like this. The one where you say Momma has had enough and the cub is under her on the run is breathlessly lyrical, that beautiful swoop of tail and heads all symphonic, what a treat this is to see.

    What on earth was your vantage point that she was unaware of you and there was no impediment to your view?

    This reminds me of Beatrix Potter’s tale of Peter Rabbit and the Badger. Peter and wife go out and leave the babies with grandpa who falls asleep and Badger steals the babies in a gunny sack and happens upon the fox’s house which is empty and he has a nap waiting for the soup pot to boil. It all ends happily, the fox returns and takes on the Badger. Peter R. locates the babies and saves them as Badger and Fox tumble through the woods fighting.
    Which made me think it not a fox enemy, at least in B.Potter’s mind, but I imagine the Badger could snatch the babies.
    Really lovely job you’ve done here. Thank you so much.


    1. There is an etched-in-stone National Park rule that everyone must stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves, 25 yards from any other type of wildlife. Serious photographers almost 100% are very rule-abiding, and thus some 50 of us with tripods were lined up right on the mark, exactly 25 yards away. The fox den was at the base of a pine tree and over several days of photographing she paid us no never-mind. The other part of the rule is that if we in any way (25 yards or not) stress or cause an animal to alter their behavior, we are too close. We weren’t. It’s a symbiotic relationship; we get pictures, animals tolerate us, Life goes on.

      We watched breathlessly as the badger sauntered by, fortunately not interested. The badger is a pretty tough hombre and my guess is that he could have his way with a fox.

      Oh, what an education, life in the Wild!

      THANKS as ALWAYS for your wonderfully insightful comments.


  2. What a delight to share with you your observations 🙂 The photos are great, sharp good focusing. Aren’t we so privileged to get a see the softer side of nature; rearing of young. Mums, the wildlife world over are so caring. I was interested to read the NP’s photography distance rule – not to intrude into the animals’ space and it’s interesting that the animals don’t feel threatened by humans with cameras and get on with their daily routine.


    1. There are even grizzly sows just South of here in the Grand Tetons that seek out humans, in the sense that they come down from the hills to raise their cubs close to the roads and the tourists. Apparently their predators (wolves, boars) will not venture that close, thus making it safer for the cubs.


  3. Oh, I’m so glad you’re back in Yellowstone so that you can share these wonderful wildlife tales. Glad also that the badger stayed away…


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