At this time of year foxes will be abandoning their earth and cubs will be sleeping above ground with their parents and going on foraging trips. Like puppies, fox cubs are very playful and will play tug-of-war with objects, chew on them and ‘hunt’ them. Playing is a natural behaviour that helps the cubs to learn vital skills that help them survive in the wild as adults. They are not born with the innate ability to hunt, but must learn this by experimenting with things in their environment. Unfortunately when foxes are living in close proximity to people they often have access to a wide array of ‘play items’ including shoes, gardening gloves, laundry, golf balls and sponges. I do not know why a sponge would be particularly attractive but it may just be something to do with the size and texture.
For all wildlife questions and information, please contact WildCall - Sussex Wildlife Trust’s wildlife information service
This hole could well have been made by foxes, as they often do breed underground in gardens. By now any cubs living there should be fairly bold and will regularly emerge from the earth (the technical name for a fox den). You may see them playing in your garden, even during the day. If there is a family living in the hole, then I do not think they will be there for much longer. Generally foxes abandon their breeding earth around June and instead the adults and cubs start to lie up in sheltered locations above ground. That said they will still use the garden and surrounding area for foraging, resting and playing. Normally cubs stay with their parents until the start of winter when families start to break up and start new territories.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust encourages people to take and interest in the wildlife visiting their gardens, however if you wish to deter these foxes then we recommend only humane methods. If you would like further information on this or have any other questions please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.