Guess Who Fell Under the Spell of a Newborn Fox?

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on October 21, 2011. Enjoy! 

More and more these days, we’re hearing stories of orphaned animals who turn to foster ‘dads’ for help. All kinds of species, from chimpanzees to cats, have been seen forming these tender bonds which challenge the often under-appreciated role of male animals as caregivers.  Today I’m delighted to share one such example.

Too Little To Survive Alone, But Would He Imprint on Humans?

“A one-week-old baby red fox was found by the side of the road by a family,” Joan Campbell of the New England Wildlife Center explains.  ”His eyes were not open yet. At first, our hospital staff were not sure if he was a fox or a coyote because he was so young.”

“Our veterinarian Dr. Cartoceti was concerned about the baby red fox imprinting on his human caretakers,” Joan continues.  ”However, another orphaned fox was brought in and both of them were ‘adopted’ by an adult male fox!”

Would The Pack Remain Together in the Wild?

When they were all healthy and strong, the three were returned to the North Shore of Massachusetts and wildlife staff held their breath as they waited to see evidence of the pack’s continued bond.

“When they were released, the male and the older kit ran off immediately,” Joan explains. “This little one was unsure of his surroundings at first.  He was still for a while, but then he slowly made his way to the other two who were waiting for him!”

When You Find Young Wildlife

Please be advised that if you find a newborn wild animal alone, it may not be in distress.  Often the mother is off collecting food and she will return. Unless there is imminent danger, you should resist the temptation to move young wildlife.  It’s best to safely observe from a significant distance and it could be hours waiting for the mother to return.  When in doubt, call a professional wildlife rehabilitator for advice.

In any given year, the New England Wildlife Center cares for more than 2,000 injured and orphaned fox, bats, rabbits, hummingbirds, snakes, ducks and more.  Learn more about their work here.


Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

The spell of love and liveliness

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

Amazing that a male fox would take on the parenting role, but then many animals have the ability to decide what it takes to keep their species going. I'm glad to hear that they all were able to be released back into the wild. I NEVER move baby animals unless I've observed them for at least a 12-24 hour period to make sure mama is really not around. Doing that risks problems if it's really cold, but in my mind the worse thing to do is separate a baby unnecessarily from it's family. And it's very common with deer, rabbits and others, for the mother to go off for hours at a time to eat and forage.

Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

PETROPOLIS : now you can help the sanctuary that is home to farm animals, victims of exploitation, of abuse, and all kinds of cruelty. Some comes from Pétropolis some from other places around this city. Today there are 150 lucky animals, please give, for keeping them and to rescue other ones : ♥ Fairy sanctuary - or - ♥ Doe

Thank you for sharing

Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

ANOTHER THREAT on Petropolis animals, they need again your help
to stop a project of a vivarium for laboratory. You know what's
happened to the horses in the streets outside, imagine for pets in cages. Please sign the new petition here :
STOP Petropolis vivarium project

Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

For the horses and goats from PETROPOLIS thanks you to sign the petitions :
Care 2 - and - ♞
To see more : misfed. - Rip - Rip - misfed - Rip


Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

❦ ❦ ❧ DON'T WEAR FUR ❧ ❦ ❦

luna starr
luna starr3 years ago

so happy and so sweet

Debbi W.
Debbi -3 years ago

I love good endings.

A note on finding 'abandoned' baby animals. I was asked by our local vet to foster two two day old kittens. She found them and waited for the mother to return, but she stayed with the kittens. IF the mother returned she wouldn't approach her kittens with the woman there. The kitten had gotten too cold to survive even though they were wormed. It was very sad, even my young cat was upset.

Manuela C.
Manuela C3 years ago