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Old 11 December 2017, 12:30 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,439

Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
One of the biggest problems with foxes in the UK is caused by people thinking they are cute little harmless creatures, when in reality, they are wild vermin perfecly able and willing to kill native wildlife, birds, and pets.
Foxes ARE native wildlife, thanks. To the extent that they kill birds, that's part of the ecology. Maybe you're thinking of cats...?

Of course, some animals, birds and plants do better in the sort of suburban environments we've created around ourselves, and foxes are certainly able to do well in this environment. I've never seen why that's a problem, really. They rarely if ever attack humans - there was one case a few years ago that the tabloids picked up on where one might have bitten a baby - and people don't run chicken farms in suburban neighbourhoods.

For many people, the suburbs and town is pretty much the only environment they ever see, so they might be overemphasising its importance and think that "the whole country is like this now", but it's not - you don't have to walk (or drive) far to get into actual open countryside in most places.

Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I wonder if someone had made a pet of it. (That isn't legal here, but it can happen. I don't know about the UK.) That seems to me to be extraordinary behavior for a fox otherwise...
I don't think they needed to - young foxes are pretty tame, or at least unafraid of people in this environment (us townies tend not to chase them on horseback with packs of dogs) and this is one of the times of year at which they're active. The fox I photographed in my parents' garden a few years ago was quite happy to sit round sunning itself with half my extended family - ten or fifteen people - having a noisy barbecue a few feet away. It stole one of the balls that the children had been playing with, and it (or a different one) was also keen on stealing any unattended shoes it could get its teeth into. My parents often leave their kitchen door open when they're around working in the house and garden during the summer, and random bits of wildlife occasionally go in for a look - I'm fairly sure we found the fox checking out the kitchen once or twice. I took a picture of one crossing the road a couple of years ago, and that one had been sitting right by the edge of the pavement on a busy road, waiting for a gap in traffic.

That reminds me that I saw a fox of about that age on my way back from town a few nights ago (Friday). It's the first I've seen for a while, and I was pleased because a couple of the places on my road that would clearly have been good fox habitats - an overgrown garden and some waste ground - have now got new-build houses on them, and I wasn't sure if there was anywhere left for foxes. They've still got the railway embankment though.
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