A family rescued a dehydrated fox who confused their dog as its mum and followed them back home – and the tiny creature has now been nursed back to health.
Rosalyn Caballero, from Tempe, Arizona went on a walk with her family and their dog, Olive, when they spotted a tiny baby grey fox trotting behind them.
The poor creature appeared to have mistaken Olive as his mum.
When the fox reached their home, she hastily drank water coming from their sprinklers in their garden and the family realised she was very dehydrated.
The tiny fox was about 20 centimetres in length and was just 6 weeks old.
The family said it wasn’t the first time they spotted grey foxes in the area.
Last year, they saw a pack of foxes walking past their garden – however, this baby fox was alone, dehydrated, lost and stressed.
The family scooped the fox in a box, nicknaming her “Fox in a Box”, and brought her to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center where professionals nursed her back to health.
They fed her using syringes at first but after a few weeks, the fox has now learned to eat from a bowl on her own.
“She appears to be doing quite well,” Jim Mitchell of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center said. “She was a little dehydrated when we got her, but otherwise healthy.
“She was already eating solid food, so we’ve managed to fatten her up a bit in the short time she’s been at Southwest Wildlife. All indications are—from a health perspective—that she’s like to grow up into a strong, healthy girl.”
The fox is now being taken care of at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.
They are hoping to bond Foxy with some of the other foxes that have recently been sent to the centre, and release them all together in the wild as a pack when they are strong enough.
“The process is a little more complex than ‘nurse and release’. Once they’re able to be moved to an outdoor enclosure (they start in the ‘maternity ward’ of our onsite clinic), we’ll see how they act—do they eat well? Do they cower from humans? Do they make normal animal sounds?” Jim Mitchell said.
“If all of those is yes, we move them in with other animals of their species in our rehabilitation area. In ‘rehab’, they usually get a foster parent (or parents)—and adult of their species who can’t be released (usually for medical reasons), but retains many ‘wild’ traits. While they get fed by humans every day, rehab is a ‘no talking’ zone, and our staff and volunteers try not to make eye contact with the residents.”