The foxranch presently is back to it's original pair of foxes, a Silver female and a Marble male. Since beginning the foxranch, we have cared for eight foxes over the past four years. Some have been with us for many months, others many years, still others only hours, (until new homes could be found).
In addition to our foxes, we have two German Shepherds, who love playing and running with our foxes and one overweight Golden Retriever, who after two years still barks at the foxes, like they were strangers crossing our yard. Don't be surprised to see pictures of my two Shepherds, as they seldom leave my side and always insist on helping with the foxes everyday.
As the old lady of our fox den, Hallie is eight years old. We rescued her from a fur farmer, who was about to destroy her, if a home could not be found. At first I thought I made the mistake of a lifetime, by bringing her home. She was very aggressive and attacked anything I put into her kennel. In the 4 years that I have cared for her, she has become my favorite. Though still extremely timid, she allows me to pet her whenever I give her a marshmallow (the favorite treat of all my foxes). After spending her first 4 years in a tiny fur farm cage, she now lives happily in a 4 room kennel.
Over the years that I have cared for her, she on a few occasions has had the chance to escape, but every time she could have left, she chose to not even leave the security of her kennel. In this picture, she is fully winter prime, she has the most beautiful coat (her brother was once a national champion). I have a nice selection of 35 mm reference photos, taken over the years.
As the dominate male of our den, Marble is now four years old. We saved him from a drowning, as his pelt was of no value to the fur farmer. We raised him in our home, where he was allowed full access throughout our house. He is both our dominant male and our baby. He whines and throws a fit, if I don't pet him and rub his belly, every time I enter his kennel. Like Hallie, he loves marshmallows.
This picture of him, is a summer time shot, I have the most reference photos of him (from a pup to adult). He is a ham when it comes to being photographed. Many close-ups are available for reference photos. Even though is color is white and black, he still has the anatomy of a Silver fox.
This past December, we lost our first Arctic male (Cole), during minor surgery at our veterinarian's. Cole was a favorite with the staff at the animal hospital we use. At only a few weeks old, he needed surgery to place a pin in a broken leg. When he first visited the hospital, he was still in his baby blue coat. As the summer passed he turned to all white. Late in the fall he had a tick on his tail, and chewed at the site, causing an open wound. He began receiving steroid shots, to allow the wound time to heal.
The wound began to clear up, but then the effects of the steroid shot wore off and Cole began chewing at the area again, causing the wound to reopen. The decision was made to amputate his tail (as the wound was causing him so much irritation). Cole went in to the hospital for a few hour procedure, but when the veterinarian called, it was with sad news, Cole reacted to the anesthesia and passed away at the start of the surgery.
As sad as I was with the death of Cole, it hit my wife (Nancy) even harder. Cole was our first fox, that she really connected with. Cole always loved being held and cared for by Nancy. He did his little belly walk to her, whenever she was in sight of his kennel. He whined and cried until she would go to him and give him some attention. Each of our foxes have their own unique personality, Cole's was one that we certainly were sad to lose.
About the middle of December (2000), I received a phone call from a Deer Park, inquiring if I would be willing to take an arctic male off of their hands. As we had just lost Cole, I very interested and drove over to the park to take a look at their arctic fox.
According to the park's caretaker, the owner was not aware of the odor that is given off by foxes and did not wish to keep the animal anymore, because of the odor. Upon seeing the fox, I informed the park, that he was a Silver fox, not an arctic, but would gladly add him to my den.
As foxes mate for life, and Hallie has cried every mating season since we adopted her, I was happy to find her a mate. Barry was taken home and placed in Cole's kennel (right beside Hallie). She was so excited, to see Barry. She acted like a pup upon his arrival.
Barry was roughly 7 months old when we put him beside Hallie and after seeing that the two would get along, I just waited till the end of the mating season, before putting them into the same kennel. In the meantime I spent several hours in Barry's kennel, getting to know each other. In just a few weeks, I was petting Barry and could get him to jump onto my lap for treats (yes - marshmallows)!
Following the mating season, I attached the two kennels, allowing Hallie and Barry to come in contact for the first time. My daughter (Danielle) had the neat pleasure of being present as the two Silvers had their first contact. It was like watching a flower bloom. The pair hit it off right away.
Sadly about a week after pairing the two together, Barry chewed a hole in the floor of Hallie's sun room and escaped. Initially we saw Barry several times the first few days, but we were not able to coach him back into his kennel. It has now been several weeks since anyone in the family has seen him. It is our hope that he quickly adapted to the wild and not only survived, but now thrives with his newly found freedom.
Hallie did not follow Barry out (she refuses to leave the safety of her kennel), but she still can be heard with the occasional cry for Barry. We hope that this coming January and February we see Barry, as Hallie goes into heat and begins to seriously call Barry back to her.
Sam and Bear