[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
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:
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.
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.
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. . . .
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.
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