A new week has begun and, whether you’re excited about it, utterly indifferent, or up to your eyebrows in dread, this trio of interspecies orphan friends is here to transport you to an uplifting realm of cuteness, even if only for a few moments.
So let’s try to forget our worries and focus on Phoebe the fox kit and her two new bffs, badger cubs Betty and Bella. Foxes and badgers tend to give each other plenty of space in the wild, but these three pals are helping each other through a difficult babyhood now that they’re safe in the care of the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in North Yorkshire, England.
How did this unlikely trio come together? I’m so glad you asked.
Two-month-old Phoebe was brought to the sanctuary having been abandoned in a cardboard box outside a veterinary office in Leeds. Meanwhile Betty and Bella were found wandering a street in Meltham, West Yorkshire, most likely orphaned when their mother was hit by a car.
The sanctuary currently has no other fox kits with whom to place Phoebe. Not wanting her to habituate to human company, they decided to try placing her with the badger cub siblings instead. Happily the trio is getting along famously, eating, sleeping, and playing together in a cozy outdoor kennel with bedding and a heat lamp.
Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary Chief Executive Alexandra Farmer reports,
“Foxes and badgers would never mix in the wild, in fact they tend to keep out of each other’s way. But these three were wild animals without their mothers, all of a similar size and we thought we could place them together as long as we kept a close eye on them. We have been delighted to see they have bonded extremely well, it’s been lovely to see them feeding, sleeping and even playing together.’
‘They lap puppy formula milk from the same bowl – none of them are on solids yet – and they curl up together when they go to sleep. It was important that they don’t have too much handling and live with other wild creatures of roughly the same size, they can’t become reliant on human contact. When some more fox cubs arrive we will introduce Phoebe to them but for now she’s getting along with the badgers just fine.”
The hope at the wildlife sanctuary is that the fox and badgers will help raise each other until they’re ready to be released into the wild as healthy, grownup versions of their current baby selves. According to sanctuary staff, Phoebe has already begun picking up good habits from Betty and Bella and no longer shows any interest in human company.
Follow the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary on Facebook for updates about these three cuties as well as other creatures in their care.
Photos by Glen Minikin