[b-hebrew] Offend/dealt corruptly - chet bet lamed (nehemiah 1:7)

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Jun 24 17:58:33 EDT 2004


Dear Karl,

My idea that foxes have a winter hideaway is only partly true, but 
the part that's true may fit with Song of Solomon 2:15. The following 
concerns the red fox in Illinois, so I don't know exactly how 
transferable the information is.

Song 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the 
vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

HH: The phrase "little foxes" might suggest especially the younger 
foxes, since QF+FN ("small") is used to mean "young" (Gen 9:24; 1 Sam 
17:14; 2 Sam 9:12). Of course, it could just mean small.

HH: The foxes because of their fur apparently can feel warm all year, 
and the only time they use dens is when they breed, but they happen 
to do this in the winter (see the section below on reproduction). 
Females have a breeding period of only two to four days a year. Since 
the foxes usually give birth at the end of March and beginning of 
April, the pups would be running around by the time the vineyards 
blossom in June.The article notes that about eight to ten weeks after 
birth the pups start taking short trips along with their parents.

HH: So perhaps spring was the best time to work at reducing the fox 
population. Here is some material from an article on foxes:
http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/dnr/fur/species/redfox.html

While not as abundant as they once were, red foxes are still common 
in Illinois. During late spring or early summer, densities of up to 
three red foxes per square mile can be found in the best habitats.

Habitat

Red foxes use a wide variety of habitats but seem to prefer 
grasslands and other open areas, especially those along the edges of 
forests and woodlands. They make use of crop fields, but do much of 
their hunting in marshes, woodlands, and brushy fencerows. Crop 
fields that are left fallow and allowed to grow over with grass and 
weeds are another favorite place to look for food. Reports of red 
foxes in urban and suburban areas seem to be more common in recent 
years, probably because coyote numbers are low and rabbits and 
rodents are abundant in these areas.

Habits

A fox's dense fur allows it to curl up on the open ground and stay 
warm in even the coldest weather. It's tail is used to cover its nose 
and feet. Red foxes rarely use dens except while raising their young. 
Burrows dug by woodchucks, badgers, or other animals are the most 
common den sites. They seem to prefer burrows located on the sunny 
side of a hill in a grassy field, along a fence row, or in a wooded 
area. Burrows under abandoned buildings are also popular. . . .

Most dens have more than one entrance. Entrances are 8-15 inches 
across and lead to burrows up to 75 feet in length. A chamber with a 
grass-lined bed for the young is hollowed out about four feet 
underground. Bones, fur, and feathers are often found near the den 
entrance once the pups are weaned. Some foxes maintain smaller, 
temporary dens nearby where the pups can be moved if danger 
threatens. . . .

Adult red foxes tend to stay within a mile of their dens while 
they're raising young, especially if food is plentiful. At other 
times of the year, they live in an area 5-10 miles across. . . .

Reproduction

Mating takes place from late December to March, but peaks in January. 
Females have a short period when they're receptive, lasting just 2-4 
days once a year. The gestation period (pregnancy) varies from 49-56 
days with an average of 53 days. The single annual litter is usually 
born in late March or early April. Litter sizes vary from 1-10 with 
an average of 4-6 pups.

The female, or vixen, chooses a den site for raising her young, but 
both parents help to care for them. The female stays in the den with 
her pups for the first few days after they're born. The male, or dog 
fox, brings food to her during this time. Later she hunts at night 
and nurses the pups by day. While rare, it's been known for two 
females to share the same den while raising their litters.

The pups, or kits, are blind, helpless, and weigh about 3 1/2 ounces 
at birth. Their eyes open at 8-9 days of age. At 4-5 weeks of age, 
they start spending much of their time outside the den entrance. It's 
not unusual to see them playing with each other or with leftover 
bones, fur, or feathers while waiting for their parents to return 
with food. The parents try to carry off some of the droppings and 
leftover food, but the area outside the den entrance is often 
littered and has an unpleasant odor by the time the family moves on.

Pups are weaned and begin taking short trips with their parents when 
8-10 weeks old. Some families move to temporary dens or other hiding 
places like road culverts at this point in the pups' lives. Pups 
start fending for themselves at 16-20 weeks of age, but don't stray 
more than 1/2 mile from their den for the next few weeks. By fall, 
they're fully grown and leave the area where they were raised. Young 
males travel an average of 25 miles from where they were born. Young 
foxes can have a litter of their own when about a year old.

					Yours,
					Harold Holmyard



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