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Mr. Ed

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A Father's Day Salute To an Animal Dad
By Mr. Ed
Last edited: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006

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Mr. Ed

• Very Sadly, Not Much Has Changed In The Last Ten Years
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A True Role Model






“Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death.

And certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting you into this predicament.  But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it.”


Clarence Budington Kelland



Very often in the animal world ( and very sadly, often in the human world, too), fathers have very little to do with the raising and the nurturing of their offspring.  This task is usually left to the extremely loving female of the species.


But there are a few exceptions, and the male Red Fox is definitely one of them.


I am very fortunate to have found a place fairly close to my home that is inhabited by these extremely intriguing animals – an old cemetery out in the woods.  I often journey there to observe these fascinating creatures, and the male Red Fox could truly be considered a role model for fathers everywhere since he’s an extremely attentive and extremely loving mate and father.


For the first month after the birth of his furry youngsters, the male Red Fox’s mate must stay deep inside their cozy den, doubling both as a food source and as a very effective thermal blanket for their newborn children.


Dad's primary job after birth is providing her with food every four to six hours until she can finally leave the den and start hunting again on her own.  And, besides being the diligent family provider, the male Red Fox also truly loves playing with his kids.


At the old cemetery, I’ve watched many a Red Fox Dad joyously cavorting about with his tiny children, playing with them endlessly, especially on magnificent warm Spring days.  Some of them even patiently wait for Mom to fall fast asleep before they very quietly call out to their little ones to come play with Dad.  I often silently sit out there, completely mesmerized, watching their utter joy.


But after about three months of fun and games with Dad, it's eventually time for life's first extremely harsh lesson for the kids: no more free meals. At this time, Fox parents actually start reducing their children’s food as a tactic to get their pups to move further and further away from the den; and it's usually the father who takes the lead with this sage parental strategy.


But devoted Fox Dads don't just leave their young to starve; they actually help teach them needed survival skills. I’ve even observed them burying food fairly close to their den, and then cleverly disguising it with leaves and twigs. This technique quickly teaches their pups to sniff out food and forage on their own.


The old cemetery area is also now populated by numerous coyotes who will often try to snatch a young fox pup as a needed meal for their own new families; so here, the male Red Fox also can be seen playing ‘ambush’ with his offspring, diligently teaching them extremely valuable lessons in escaping nature’s other predators.


The Male Red Fox – A Most Intriguing Critter – And  a Very Diligent, Loving, and Protective Father – A True Role Model for Fathers Everywhere.




Reader Reviews for "A Father's Day Salute To an Animal Dad"

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Reviewed by Charlene Iverson
Excellent work. As an animal lover, it intrigues me to read about the magic of the animal kingdom.
Charlene Iverson
Reviewed by Helen Downey
Enjoyed very much. Thanks for sharing such interesting information.
Reviewed by Chrissy McVay
I've seen this role played out as well, and dearly love our little foxes living on our mountain. Lovely father's day article and great photo.
Reviewed by Birgit and Roger Pratcher
Ed, this is one great pic and your article is just as great! Often we can indeed learn from the animal world, too bad that most humans don't want to... Thanks for sharing this nice write!
Reviewed by Cynthia Borris

What a terrific photo. So no more free meals - that's a hard lesson to learn. Just had the same conversation with a neighbor about her son. Three months in age for a fox cub equals what in a kid? Eighteen?

BTW, Happy Father's Day to the Pop of many!

Reviewed by m j hollingshead
ENJOYED this informative read
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

You are the TRUE Animal Dad; you have a big, caring, compassionate heart, and I am drawn in by your caring nature and your talents as a writer! God bless you, dear man, and Happy Father's Day to you! Kudo's!

((((HUGS)))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Peter Paton
An extremely interesting and informative write
The red fox is a very beautiful and shrewd animal, who well deserves the reputation of sleuth and cunning...
I have observed a red fox running along a stone wall, and doubling back crouched low to the ground, with a low center of gravity, through rushes, to evade its pursuers..
You gotta stay upwind of them to have any chance of observing them !

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