Fox Trots Free, Finally


  Four fox kits — of five total — go for a romp through Billy Anderson’s property at the edge of Cloquet.



A fox kit trapped in the split trunk of a tree.


 Billy Anderson of Cloquet began to wonder when he started seeing chicken feathers, rabbit fur and whole egg shells on his property at the edge of town. Then he did some snooping and discovered a fox den near some outbuildings, he said. The mama fox had some young.

    "For  almost a week, I’d sneak out to check on the kits and try to get pictures," Anderson wrote in an e-mail to the News Tribune. "I’d been hearing a crying that I figured was just the runt, hungry, begging for food in the den."

    Then he went looking and discovered a fifth fox kit — a very stuck fifth fox kit. The kit was caught where the trunk of an old tree was split, Anderson said. He figured the kit had been there for at least five days. Consultations with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a veterinarian and the Cloquet Fire Department produced recommendations such as Vaseline or dish soap to lubricate and free the hapless kit.

"But he was stuck worse than that, so I sawed, chiseled and chipped away at the tree’s burls to free him," Anderson said. "I also tried driving wedges, using a scissor jack , etc., but to no avail. Finally after a couple hours, my brother-in-law [Steve Johnson of Cloquet] cut down most of the tree and then used chains, straps and his truck to pull apart the tree trunks enough that I could pull him free. No worse for wear, he ran right to the den when I put him down."

  When Anderson checked on the family a few hours later, all five kits were playing.

  "So, all is well again," Anderson said.

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