April 19, 2002

I've been going to the den several times a day, every day. But last night was the first time I caught a glimpse of any of the family when I caught a glimpse of the adult heading toward the den.

The "watchers" (a group of three or four of us who know about the den) have been concerned about the vixen. We have not seen an adult we could definitely identify as the male, and are concerned that the mother may be raising them herself. But this adult had no visible teats (I saw it sitting, face to). Could this be the male?

Whatever the gender, it ran through the cemetery and disappeared. I saw no kits last night. But today.....

I checked the den, with no luck, but then as I was cruising around the rest of the cemetery, I discovered this family group at an old alternate den site. One of the other watchers believes there are six kits, but she isn't sure. I think I count five here.

After nursing, the kits played, practicing their hunting skills on each other. This kit could be seen crouching with the rump tremor that shows his readiness to pounce.

And pounce he did, rolling on the ground with his siblings.

Mom watched all the while. Note that her teats are extremely visible. Is this just because she recently finished nursing? Do they disappear under her fur after a while? Or, is there a male after all?