'Kittens' dropped off at Arizona Humane Society turned out to be something else

A well-meaning person dropped off a litter of what she thought were kittens to the Arizona Humane Society in April. They were actually baby foxes. (Arizona Humane Society)

The Arizona Humane Society is warning people to be certain that baby animals are actually orphans before attempting to rescue them — and to be sure of the species of the animal.

"Last week, a Good Samaritan found a den behind their shed full of tiny baby animals," Jennifer Armbruster, senior manager of public relations at the Arizona Humane Society, told Fox News Digital via email. 

The Good Samaritan, not knowing what else to do, brought the critters to the Arizona Humane Society, thinking they were domestic animals in need of help.

There, it was quickly discovered that these animals were not typical house pets. 

They were baby foxes.

"The tiny babies were then transferred to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, which identified them as gray foxes, where they will undergo rehabilitation and [be] released to the wild when they are old enough to be on their own," said Armbruster. 

She continued, "This story also serves as an important reminder that animal mothers offer the best chance of survival for little ones like these," especially as spring is known as "kitten season." 

Well-meaning people often attempt to aid litters of kittens they encounter, said Armbruster. 


The fox kits are now in the hands of a wildlife rehabilitation center. (Arizona Humane Society)

This, however, is typically not necessary.

"Human intervention is typically not required … The best thing we can do is leave the kittens alone," she said.

The mother cat will likely return to her babies before too long, and "it's critical that the kittens remain in her care as she offers the best chance for survival." 

Rather than immediately intervene, a person should instead keep an eye on the kittens. If, after eight hours without their mom, "then it is likely the kittens are orphaned," said Armbruster.


The Arizona Humane Society and other animal organizations "offer Care-In-Place kits for underaged, orphaned kittens to be cared for by those who find them until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered," she said. 

If, as in the case of the Good Samaritan from earlier, a person were to come across a litter of wild animals with no mother in sight, it is best to contact a wildlife rehabilitation organization, she said. 


When people come across a litter of baby animals they suspect may be orphaned, they should not immediately intervene, the Arizona Humane Society said. (Arizona Humane Society)

Gray foxes are commonly found throughout the United States, said the website for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. 

They typically grow to be about four to five pounds, and they are about a foot tall at the shoulder, said the museum. 


Female foxes typically have litter sizes ranging from three to seven kits, the same source said.

Fox News Digital reached out to Southwest Wildlife for an update on the foxes.  

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