Grey Fox Pups, Playing Quietly
After Clay and Seamus cleared out the high weeds – and it did take the young men all day – I walked down to take a look at their work. Sure enough, the rocks were now visible, the knee-high weeds had been whacked, and the sun was already down. Just another quiet evening about to unfold in the Texas Hill Country.
Something caught my eye near the five-foot high pile of giant limestone rocks we had bulldozed into the pasture. Small animals, about three of them at first count, were running and chasing each other in the rock pile and among the agarita and small cedar shoots near the rocks. I thought they were squirrels, since that’s about the only thing other than cotton-tail rabbits that are the size of what I had spotted. I stopped dead still. “No, those are…oh, man, those are little fox pups.” They were playing with one another, chasing, ambushing, climbing up the rocks to get a better angle, then going down a hole in the rocks above and coming out of the apparent entrance to their den.
I watched them for a good long time, just because it was so amazing to see. One, they played silently. No noise. Regardless of the jolt of the jump on top of a brother or sister, there wasn’t a peep out of any of them. And two, their mother must’ve been out hunting. She was nowhere in sight.
They looked to be about six or seven weeks old. Three of them having the best time of their lives in the fading light of day. I went back this evening, thinking maybe I’d see them again. No luck. I’ve got an idea, however, that they’re still around. Playing silently. Running free.