After foxes were mistaken for kittens, Valley animal experts tell public to leave baby animals alone

Apr 30, 2024, 9:00 AM

The two grey foxes were found in April 2024 behind a shed by a good Samaritan who thought they were...

The two grey foxes were found in April 2024 behind a shed by a good Samaritan who thought they were domestic animals. (Arizona Humane Society photos)

(Arizona Humane Society photos)

PHOENIX — After a pair of foxes believed to be kittens were given to the Arizona Humane Society earlier this month, Valley animal experts want the public to know to leave baby creatures alone.

Two foxes were found behind a shed by a good Samaritan who thought they were domestic animals, according to the AHS.

The local shelter then turned the kits over to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale for rehabilitation and release.

When will the baby foxes be released into the wild?

The foxes will be released as soon as they are ready, probably by the summer or fall, Kim Carr, animal care manager at SWCC, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

They still require formula before they can graduate from the animal rehab facility.

“Once they get a little bit older, and bigger, they will go outside and they’ll probably be introduced to other foxes that are releasable and then, eventually we’ll find a really good release for them, away from people, and they’ll get a chance to live in the wild,” Carr said.

She said the kits are males about 4 weeks old, and she believes they were found in the area of South Mountain in Phoenix.

“They’re just sort of an elusive animal, so you’re not going to see them as often as a coyote or a javelina. They are out there, they’re just good at not being seen,” Carr said.

However, grey foxes can be found everywhere across the Valley, including downtown Phoenix and the ASU campus, she added.

Here’s what to do if you found a litter of kittens

Even if the fox kits had been baby cats, AHS would advise against trying to help them right away. The rescue group says anybody who finds a litter should leave the kittens alone for at least eight hours, allowing enough time to determine if the mother was out hunting.

If the mother returns, it’s best to let her take care of them.

In the case where a mother doesn’t return within eight hours, then the kittens are likely orphans and should be watched over, AHS said.

Since Valley shelters are usually overrun between early spring and fall, anyone who finds the litter could foster the animals until they’re 8 weeks old.

AHS offers care kits for underaged, orphaned kittens until they’re old enough to be spayed/neutered.

Found a wild animal? Here’s how to get it proper care

Wild baby animals can be found injured, abandoned or displaced due to development.

“If you think that you have wild animals near your home or in your backyard, you want to call us or another wildlife rehabilitator,” Carr said.

“We have a 24-hour hotline, so we always encourage people to call before they do anything because sometimes people have no idea that baby animals will be left for a long time without their moms. Moms have to go out and hunt, they don’t take the babies with them.”

Anyone who believes they found wild animals was asked to call the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center hotline at 480-433-5656.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel contributed to this story.

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After foxes were mistaken for kittens, Valley animal experts tell public to leave baby animals alone