The titmouse and the fox: Soft fur for lining a nest

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Occasionally our cameras catch things that we wouldn’t believe if we hadn’t seen them ourselves. This is one of those things.

A fox snoozing in the sunshine outside a den was being disturbed by a tiny titmouse, who seemed intent on doing everything she could to be irritating. She pecked at the fox, jumped on his back, and launched little kicks at his side, and every time the fox stirred and tried to get her to leave him in peace, she flitted out of reach. And then she came back.

What on earth was the titmouse thinking? She could so easily have wound up being lunch.

Turns out this is what she was thinking: “This is a very furry fox. Fox fur makes a nice, soft nest lining. Surely this fox doesn’t need all his fur? Summer is coming, after all. Surely he won’t mind if I take some?”. And that’s what she did. Once she’d established that the fox wasn’t going to kill her, she went to work plucking out fur and the fox let her do it! We were astonished. She hopped around on the fox’s back, harvested a beakful of fur, and took off with it.

Eventually, the fox got up and moved to sit on a tall stump to consider his next move. The titmouse flew up and sat beside him. The best of friends, apparently.

The next day, the fox was sleeping in the exact same spot the and the titmouse returned to harvest a little more fur.

@TexasBackyardWildlife  #texasbackyardwildlife

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