Wildlife Column: Share your views on visiting foxes
This is a question asked by my research student, Charlie Flowers. Have you seen foxes in the urban area and if so when and where?
Have you had foxes visit your garden and if so, what do you think? Are you pleased to see urban, sub-urban, (or even rural) foxes? In your garden, do you feed them? One of my neighbours serves up freshly cooked, chopped pork on bone-china plates – so the foxes eat well in my neck of the woods! They put the plate just into the edge of our local wood and the fox comes across to feed. Where I used to live my neighbours were feeding foxes and badgers on jam butties put out on the front lawn of the open-plan estate and had up to seven foxes and a few badgers too.
However, not everyone is so pleased to see the urban or garden fox. People worry about foxes interacting with pets and clearly domestic rabbits and chickens are at risk. But folk also worry about foxes and cats, though this is rarely a genuine problem. In most cases, sthey simply stop and gaze at each other. I guess one thinks that is a very odd-looking fox and the other thinks that is a most peculiar cat.
Peter Burton of Parkhead in Sheffield emailed some great pictures. The story was that ‘The attached photographs show a lovely dog fox that arrived in our garden over lunchtime yesterday. Having stayed for around an hour, the fox was at one point lying lazily on the lawn sunning itself. Remarkably, the cat (also seen in the picture) was only three feet away and neither appeared bothered by the other’s presence.’ So as we can see in this case, there is no obvious antagonistic interaction but probably a degree of ‘interest’.
To take part in our project you can find Charlie’s on-line survey on both the www.ukeconet.org website – just follow the surveys link and click on ‘urban red fox’. It is also on my blog with an easy-access link too.
The results will be really interesting as they will help inform our knowledge of urban fox distribution, but especially important, what do YOU think about them.
I would like your personal observations and accounts of foxes in gardens and your video clips of photographs of them too. How many local people feed the foxes? How many have them making their dens in local gardens? And when do you see them out and about.
My blog has video clips of urban fox cubs playing in gardens, but can you add to these? Remember the fox is a wild animal and not a pet – so we should respect their space too.