The township's animal control officer, Sharon Wilkinson, on Friday said the three young cubs discovered this week on a Van Holten Road property have been identified as fox, instead of coyote, as initially believed.
Paul Josling, a Van Holten Road resident, a 13-ounce cub which he said crawled to his feet, and said he found two other living cubs on Wednesday.
Those two other cubs, also believed to be just a few weeks old, immediately were taken on Wednesday to an animal "rehabilitator" out in Hunterdon County, Wilkinson said. It was the "rehabilitator" who on Friday identified the cubs as baby fox, she said on Friday afternoon.
The first cub, was treated and identified as a coyote on Tuesday at the , before being taken that day to the rehabilitator in Pittstown, Wilkinson said. Such animals are usually released later into natural surroundings, she said.
"They are all doing very well," Wilkinson said of the young cubs on Thursday. She said the facility in Hunterdon also is qualified to check and feed the animals.
Josling said it appeared the young cubs had crawled under a shed near his property border. He said he also discovered a baby cub, then believed to be a coyote, who had died on Wednesday.
The cubs were all obviously very hungry, said both Josling and Wilkinson.
By now, Wilkinson said it is believed that the cubs' mother also is dead, since the young cubs, believed to be about two to three weeks old, are not young enough to survive on their own.
She said coyotes have been living in the vicinity of Mountain Road, and elsewhere in the area, for decades. She said on Friday she had rescued older fox, but never young cubs. On Monday, she had said that baby coyote were similar in appearance to the nearly-newborn fox.
Josling said he at first theorized the young cub who crawled out to his feet, crying, on Sunday may have been a woodchuck. He said he initially fed the cub with milk through a dropper and placed the animal in a box before he realized its mother was not coming back.
Wilkinson said she rescued the first cub on Monday, when it was taken to the animal hospital to be examined. The cub was also given "puppy milk," she said.
Josling said he heard other cries a few days later. He said he called Wilkinson, who arrived to rescue the second and third cubs. He said he does not believe that any more cubs remain in the area.
"The cubs were very, very cute," he said of the young animals, covered with a greyish-brown fur. And, he noted, "I keep looking."