For the second year in a row, a family of foxes has moved into Jeff Manchen's backyard in London, Ont.'s Old South neighbourhood, turning the space under his shed in into a den for six kits.
"It's a lot of fun," said Manchen. "They just come out when it's nice and play in our backyard, and they go absolutely bananas, and wrestle each other and drive their mum nuts. It's pretty funny."
Manchen first spotted the six pups in March, and if they're anything like the family of foxes who took up residence last year, they'll stay put in the backyard until late fall.
"It's really fun to be able to look out my window and see foxes playing," said Manchen's 14-year-old daughter Jillian. "Sometimes you can hear the noises they make during the night, too, which is cool."
The foxes are also loud.
"The mother is teaching the babies how to hunt," said Manchen. "We can hear them talking to each other at night with the windows open, so it's interesting. At three in the morning, it's not as interesting."
They often see the mother fox holding a rabbit in her jaws, trotting back to the den.
"It's definitely a preferred snack, but we found squirrels as well," Manchen said.
The Manchens have been giving the foxes a wide birth in hopes they don't become habituated to people. Juno, the family's yellow lab, doesn't get to go out in the backyard as often either.