Despite the annoying song that made the rounds a few years back, we may never know exactly what the fox says, but thanks to nature photographer Roger Stevens Jr. we’ve now got a lot better idea of what a pack of fox kits do when they’re hanging out with their mother.
I’ve been a fan of his work for years, and have written about many of his projects. Earlier this week, I got an email offer from Stevens that I knew I couldn’t turn down: “Interested in another story?”
Stevens published a book five years ago that featured foxes, but while photographing that fox family, he was at a property that had no human residents at the time. The new site — about three-quarters of a mile away from that first one — does. And the family that lives there has learned to live with its wild neighbors, which often take up positions right next to the front door.
The system seems to work.
“They don’t care [about the presence of] people,” Stevens said. “They sit on the front porch and watch people go by on bicycles, and people with carriages walk their babies. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“They’re getting older now and they’re so curious, I’m so afraid they’re going to get in the road,” Stevens said. “They can’t be more than 10, 15 feet from the road [most of the time].”
Related: Fox kits found hanging out in Lincoln neighborhood
“Her mate might have got hit or killed or something. I don’t know. She’s shouldering the whole load, having to give them milk and find animals for them [to eat], and feed ’em. And she’s so attentive,” Steven said. “She takes each one of those kits, by itself, and gives it a bath, makes sure it’s had food. She does this for every one of them. I don’t know how she knows and keeps them straight, but she does.”
After years photographing wild animals, Stevens realizes how lucky he is for this opportunity.
“I’ve never had the good fortune to be around foxes in this kind of proximity,” he said. “Because of the fact that they’re not that upset about people, I’ve been able to get some incredible pictures.”
“Now, people have said, ‘well, you’ve got to do another book,’” Stevens said. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
In the meantime, Stevens said he’d welcome readers to visit his Facebook page, where you can find all kinds of other great photos.
This article originally appeared on www.bangordailynews.com.