Mother Gray Fox and pup
These are our new residents who use our deck as an AirB&B. The first time I saw them, I couldn’t believe my eyes. What were they? Since then I have swallowed Wikipedia and discovered that they are Gray Foxes. They are indigenous to the Americas (with a range from Canada to Venezuela) unlike the red foxes which were introduced from Europe to hunt. Red foxes are now predominant in the eastern states but our gray foxes are not at risk.
Felicia, the mama, is sharing a burrow with the armadillos – I wondered why it was so big… From our nighttime camera we can see 2 adults and 4 puppies. Since the pair are monogamous we assume it is a breeding pair with their litter. I believe that they have recently moved into our area from other green belt areas that houses are being built on. We live in a protected forest environment and back onto a reserve (behind that fence).
Look at those brushes!
Felicia is about the size of a cat with longer legs. Their coat is exquisitely patterned and lush. I have had so much fun watching them play and hunt. Mama is mostly silent but quietly mewed at the pups when she returned with a baby squirrel from a hunting trip. They ran out from the deck, one went straight to her teats but she slapped him off to encourage them to eat solid food. They first appeared in the Americas in the Pliocene Era, about 3 and a half million years ago. Gray foxes are the most basic type of canine species and are related to Fennec Foxes.
Like cats, Felicia can hiss and climb trees to hunt or escape predators. She comes down backwards like a cat. I found a large dead wood rat on the deck – do you think it was rent for the deck burrow?? They are crepuscular in nature so that is why we have some shots in daylight but mostly they are nocturnal. Now we finally know why our squirrels are called fox squirrels – they have exactly the same gray with amber coloring.
They have provided much needed balm to my fragile soul over the last few weeks but also terrified Katniss our outside feral. She finally came back after a couple of weeks, very skinny, so I have been feeding her up. The foxes still come and go, so she has fixed her timetable to adjust. The foxes are not a threat to her but she doesn’t perceive that. I guess they all scent where they have been.
My psychiatrist suggested that I should write another post after the last one about suicide and here we are! I have taken two months off work and am beginning to feel better. My apologies for my absence around my friend’s posts – I need to relax. These little foxes have made 2018 a marvelous year, especially since so few people have seen these little critters in our area. I hope you enjoy watching the video of the pups playing in my plants – so cute!!!
A Chihuahua in Mexico
I love all animals but I am really a cat person. Dogs love me, though! I loved the idea of seeing a real Mexican chihuahua and he was very nicely behaved.
I can’t resist puppies and this one was playing with his plastic spoon. I wonder what he was imagining about the spoon? There may have been ice-cream on it… I doubt he was a special breed but he loved being cuddled.
Look at that sad face… This is Sally, one of the Hacienda dogs, who was really full of fun. The Hacienda owner had been manipulated into taking her in as a puppy because the original owner threatened to drown her in the river because she was an unwanted litter pup. Sally really landed on her feet, having the run of a glorious home. I snuck her some breakfast and she followed me everywhere. She even wanted to share my bedroom. It was the only offer I got…LOL!
Well, I slept well last night and am almost back to my usual self. Above are our beloved Baladi dogs, Poochy and Puppy, that we looked after in Egypt. The word Baladi means local in Arabic and usually it is used to refer to the ubiquitous yet delicious flat breads sold on every corner. The expats, most of whom had never come across feral street dogs, referred to them as Baladi dogs. They all look much the same – skinny, sandy, short coated dogs about the size of a labrador. Normally, they are naturally cautious of humans and behave like a coyote would, especially when it comes to howling at night. Poochy, the mother dog, had been looked after by a Western expat from puppyhood until he left, so she didn’t know whether to behave like a pet or a coyote. She used to run to me for cuddles and I remember she put her paws on the shoulders of my clean white dress which was then covered in camel poop and goodness knows what else. “Poochy!!!”, I yelled, to no avail…
Just before a trip back to the UK we decided to take them to a Westernized animal boarding kennel where Poochy could recover from being neutered and they would be safe together for a couple of weeks. As soon as she was neutered by Dr. Farouk and safe to move we took her and the puppy across the Nile to the pyramid side of Cairo where the boarding kennel was. There was a new bridge but we got hopelessly lost so I made my husband stop the Jeep at a snack shack just before the flyover and ask for directions. Despite the impression you may get in my book, most Egyptians, especially Bedouins, are incredibly hospitable and the owner insisted that his son go in the car with us, onto the bridge and then he would get out (on an interstate) and walk back. Nothing we could do could persuade him otherwise.
The son jumped in the front with my husband and then glanced back to the back where Poochy and Puppy were whining inconsolably, throwing up and generally smelling awful. He looked at us in horror and incredulity – who would have Baladi dogs in their car? After he got out (and was paid handsomely) we knew that he would have ran back to his Dad and said, “They have Baladi dogs in the Jeep!” We just knew that his Dad would have said, “Don’t be ridiculous – they must have been Pharaoh Hounds! Rich people like that don’t keep street dogs”. It was a terrible journey but we all survived it and yet again had something to laugh about in Cairo.
Just another teaser to tempt you to buy the book – flagrant advertising!
This is the link to the book on Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Cairo-This-memoir-travelogue-ebook/dp/B015JFY1F0
If you read it (some may be able to borrow it) please give me a review.
I had the great privilege of guest blogging on Jumbled Writer’s blog. It is entitled ‘The day the war started in Cairo’ and is a memoir from living in Cairo during the second Gulf War. One day I will complete the final version of my book, ‘Letters from Cairo’… Click on the link to read more and find out about the puppies.