Birds Do it, Bees Do it, Even Carnivorous Mammals of the Dog Family Do it

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    Artwork via threadless.com
    Artwork via threadless.com

    This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

    My kids are 6 and 8 and a very young, immature, slow-cooking, innocent 6 and 8 at that.  It’s Mister Rogers over here, okay? Oblivious postcard Americana of the 1950s. So imagine the droppage of my jaw when we’re rolling up the wooded drive, home from some meaningless suburban errand — okay, if you must know, we were at Costco getting ridiculous sums of avocados — when my son shouts from the backseat, “Stop the car, Mom! We have to help those foxes!”

    Now, what foxes was he referring to? Why, the ones having en flagrante consensual back that thang up sexy sex in my driveway!

    Like dogs, foxes get stuck together after the act, because the fox’s you know cartoonishly, balloonishly expands. Did you not know this? Well, me neither. My biology teacher husband informed me. Apparently, growing up in rural Costa Rica as he did, he saw a lot of this kind of thing. I did not. I grew up in downtown Pittsburgh.

    My husband was so casual about it, “Yep, kids. Those foxes are having sex.” Which lead to an inevitable pause… and then, “What’s sex, Dad?” So he told them, in his teachery voice using teacher words. He rambled on about genetics. And evolution. I caught myself making extended eye contact with the landscape.

    You didn’t know where to look. The poor foxes. They tried to lope off, but of course, they couldn’t — they were literally the beast with two backs and four feet, and they would  scramble ineffectively in opposite directions and get nowhere. They were definitely looking ashamed.

    But my son said, “What’s the big deal, Mom? How else would there be baby foxes or people? It’s not like we can asexually reproduce like slugs.” Ahh, he is his father’s son.



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