Second Chance Wildlife


“Until we extend the circle of our compassion to all

living things, we will not find peace.”

Albert Schweitzer

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Coyotes and foxes are born in the spring. At birth they are covered with short, dark fur. Even red foxes have dark brown or black fur when they are born. Their eyes are closed and will remain closed for several weeks. Both coyotes and foxes have wide, blunt noses; rounded ears; and dog-like paws. As they grow, both their ears and noses become more pointed in shape. Coyotes take on a mottled grey-brown appearance, and red foxes develop their characteristic red coat and black paws. Coyotes have a black-tipped tail. Red foxes have a white-tipped tail. Gray foxes have a black-tipped tail. Pups whose eyes are closed, who are not well coordinated on their feet, and who lack adult coloration are normally found inside the den at all times. Once their eyes open, baby foxes and coyotes become more active inside their dens.

Pups begin to emerge occasionally from the den as the weaning process begins, at approximately four weeks old for red foxes and three weeks old for coyotes. The babies begin to play and fight outside the den and are brought food by their parents. The first week after red fox kits emerge, their fur may still be brownish in color, but it shortly molts into the reddish color typically seen in adults. The fur on their legs is black.

Juveniles are still being cared for by their parents but are learning to hunt on their own and are gradually spending less time at the den sight. By late summer and early fall, juvenile foxes and coyotes are becoming increasingly independent. The age at which they become totally independent varies by species and other factors.  Juveniles seen alone at this time of year, or even those juveniles known to be orphaned should be monitored for signs of deterioration such as weakness, lethargy, or human-friendly behavior before any intervention is considered. Older orphans may not require intervention.

If baby foxes or coyotes are seen in early to mid-summer with no adult present, but appear to be healthy, active on their feet, and wary of people, monitor the pups from a distance for several hours to see if a parent returns before intervening.

Any young coyote or fox that appears weak or lethargic, is seen sleeping in an exposed area, frequently vocalizes or approaches people should be rescued. Call a wildlife rehabilitator BEFORE attempting a rescue.