Thursday, 26 May 2011

Going on a Fox Hunt

Elliot was assigned a project this week in science class, and he chose to study the red fox.  Why?  Probably because we have two little foxes that live on our property.  I wish I could insert a photo here, but they tend to come out REALLY early in the morning, and I REALLY do not function at that time.  I am more of a 7am girl, and even then, my brain doesn't kick into gear until at least 8am.  

Anyhoo, back to the foxes.  The majority of the project will be completed in school (yippee!), but he needs to construct a fox's den out of a shoebox, and Elliot is pumped!  Everyday he comes home from school eager to learn more about foxes.  So last night, Derrick and Elliot googled "fox's den" ( I really feared that Hugh Hefner's den of debauchery would pop up, but to Derrick's dismay it didn't. Tee hee!), and all these little holes appeared.  Who knew that the red fox digs holes in the ground to live in?  Okay, maybe you are smarter than me, but I was shocked.  They had all these little "caves" either in the ground or in the crevices of rocks.  They were really cute!  I can just picture a mama fox all cozy in her little hole with her babies snuggling up to her.  Perhaps I should dig a hole?  Oooh, this could fit in with "The Vision"! Tee hee!

When Elliot arrived home from school, he was adamant that we needed to go on a fox hunt.  He wanted to find out where our little foxes lived and to take pictures of their den to include with his project.  Being a teacher, Elliot's enthusiasm to see a fox's den for real was difficult to resist so the boys and I grabbed our rubber boots and headed for the shoreline. 

Avery took a picture of his brand new boots.  He is convinced they have super powers. 

Every time we have seen the foxes they were close to the shoreline so we figured that this was the best place to start.  In my heart, I was scared that we would not find what we were looking for and my little boy's curiosity would be squashed by our failure, but thankfully, we were actually quite successful.  Now, I am not sure if the foxes actually live in any of these hovels, but the boys were convinced that they could see the reds of their eyes peeking out at them.  Yikes!  We may have some evil foxes out there. 

Being the thoughtful mother that I am, I sent the boys in to take the pictures so that they could take ownership of the project.  I promise that it had nothing to do with my fear that perhaps the mama fox may go into a rabid frenzy and lunge at the paparazzi outside of her door.  Seriously, it had nothing to do with that.  That would be wrong . . . tee hee!  And it's not like my boys were unprepared.  Trust me, my boys love their weapons, and Avery stood on the periphery with a stick just in case he had to smash some heads. 

But how exciting is this!  We were able to take some facts off of google, and then head out into nature and witness it for ourselves.  This whole experience could spark a lifelong interest in science for them and maybe they will become world renowned biologists someday.  You never know!

Then again, though, when we climbed down over the rocks, there was a flat muddy section with little green fiddleheads growing sporadically across it, and Avery exclaimed: "Look! It's their little fox garden! I bet their dad planted it so the babies would not be hungry".  Tee hee!  Okay, so he has a lot to learn, and perhaps we need more of these hands-on nature lessons and less reading of the "Franklin" series, where all the animals live like people, before we start hitting CBC up to add the "In the Wild with the Websters" show to their fall line-up.  But someday, my boys could become the next David Suzuki or the Kratt brothers, and all because a little boy got excited over his end-of-the-year science project.   In the meantime, while I wait to cash in on my boys' good looks and enthusiasm for anything wild, I will simply enjoy going on fox hunts and listening to the insights on animal behaviour from a boy wearing super-powered boots.

The Wild Websters!

By the way, Elliot's next plan of action for the project involves the two of us waking up at the crack of dawn and waiting in our backyard to take a picture of the foxes.  For some reason, I am feeling less enthusiastic about this idea.  Who knows, though, I am a sucker for that sweet little face.

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