Play is an important activity in honing future hunting and fighting skills in birds and mammals. The activity level of the fox kits on the compost pile above their den must have been building their aerobic endurance as well as their hunting skills, as they chased each other over and around the pile, every now and then pausing to check out which sibling to attack next. They reminded me of my own children’s frenetic activity around dinner time — noisy, chaotic, and uncontrollable. Here are a few glimpses of what the action looked like.
One is poised to attack
Three kits continually engaged in chase and wrestle maneuvers.
Locking jaws with one another was also a popular game.
Practicing the pounce maneuver…
As more kits join in the fun, I was able to see that there are actually five kits in this litter.
The more I watched them, the easier it was to see that there were three fairly large kits playing quite aggressively with each other, and two more submissive and smaller ones. The kit in the center of the frame seems to exhibit dominance behavior toward the smaller, submissive kit in the lower right: ears slightly back, raised upper body, head and eyes staring down.
This might be the small, runty one from the previous photo. Developmentally, it is not as far along as the others: short muzzle, less black markings, short legs.
Compare the physique of studly big boy here with the previous photo. This is one of the dominant, aggressive kits.
Is there anything cuter?
Now, if you’re really into this foxy frolic, here’s a YouTube video I made for my little grand-daughter (and for Marcia, too, who loves foxes).