Corsac fox switch

For the past year and a half, a couple of male corsac foxes (also known as steppe foxes) have been living at Dierenpark de Wissel. That is to say, they arrived at Wissel from a German zoo as a couple of males – but at the end of March, this pair had six young!
Just where the switch happened is not yet clear. It’s possible that, when the animals were examined, their sex was not obvious. Another option is that the zoo received a different fox than recorded in the accompanying documents. In order to understand what happened, the zoo will need to read the transponders (see below) of the fox parents, but this is being postponed to avoid unnecessary stress for the young family.

It’s fortunate that the keepers noticed the enlarged abdomen of one of the animals. To be on the safe side, hay and warming lamps were set up for the foxes. The big belly turned out not to be a consequence of illness, but resulted instead to the birth of six young foxes. Three of the young were not strong enough, and died shortly after birth, but the other three are doing well. Because this is this pair’s first litter, it remains uncertain how the family will develop. Both parents are being kept busy by their new task. The male makes sure that the female gets enough to eat, so that she can feed her young.

A transponder is a small chip that is placed under the skin. A great deal of information about the animal is recorded on the chip, including the registration and data on the life of the animal. All zoo animals have such a transponder implant.