If you've visited the zoo in the last month you will know that we moved our red foxes into the old 'Tiger Mountain' enclosure. However, the idea was always to rotate the silver and red foxes between this enclosure and the adjacent silver fox enclosure. Even though they are all one species (the silver foxes are just a colour variation of the red fox), the animals cannot be mixed as they would fight.
Bramble and Foxy, our red foxes, appeared to enjoy their time in 'Tiger Mountain'; they dug a cosy den into the side of the hill and were even seen trying to catch some dinner! After four weeks the keepers felt it was time for the first rotation, and to allow the silvers access to a brand new enclosure.
Both pairs of foxes are very co-operative and the houses have inter-connecting doors so the physical process of moving the animals is very easy and not at all stressful. Buddy and Jabba, the silver fox brothers, needed no persuading and were quick to enter the larger enclosure on Saturday morning. Bramble and Foxy were also keen to explore an area of the zoo they had never been into before.
Alternating the foxes in these enclosures is a fantastic form of environmental enrichment, by providing new sights, structures and smells on a regular basis. As territorial mammals, the task of establishing and defending a territory becomes a much more real one too. Bramble was this lunchtime busily scent marking, trying to cover up that silver fox odour! We aim to rotate the animals monthly as of now.