Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Urban pests

We - that is Fern (the dog) and I - were making our way to the park this morning and generally minding our own business. Well, I was minding my own business. Fern does tend to try to see what other people are doing, being a rather inquisitive creature. Anyway, there we were, walking along the street, when I realised that the creature sitting on the pavement ahead of us was a fox. It scratched itself, just as a dog does - which isn't all that surprising seeing as foxes and domestic dogs are part of the same animal family - and just sat there, waiting for us to get nearer. It waited until we were only ten yards or so from it before it got up and ambled onto the path of the nearest house where it turned and watched as we passed with Fern straining at the lead to get at it.

I knew that foxes were getting bolder but that is about the boldest I have seen myself. I know that they have snatched hens from the yard down on my cousin's farm while my cousin was also in the yard, and it is quite obvious that they are no longer put off a town garden just because there is a dog which has left its smell in the garden. Some years ago my younger son was actually attacked by a fox. He was on his paper round when he noticed a fox following him. Son increased his speed; so did fox. Son ran up a garden path and was chased by the fox, which leapt on him. The general conclusion was that the fox was accustomed to being fed by humans who carried food in a bag and the fox was hoping for food from the bag holding the papers.

It is said that no carnivore eats other carnivores, but I am not convinced. The normal diet of the country fox is rabbit with the occasional hen, duck or lamb. Town foxes tend to disturb dustbins in the search for food thrown away by humans but there are those who believe they also kill and eat cats. I am not convinced although with foxes having entered houses and attacked sleeping babies it does seem to me to be entirely within the bounds of possibility if not probability that cats are also on the menu.

Fern does what she can to keep our garden clear of the animals. It is nothing for me to be woken at some God-forsaken hour as Fern barks at foxes in the garden but I think she is wasting her breath.

I'm not sure that I would describe the urban fox as a problem - yet. But I think it is becoming one.


#1Nana said...

Foxes attack sleeping babies??? That sounds like urban myth. Reminds me of that old movie where "The dingo ate my baby" was the catch phrase.

Brighton Pensioner said...

I agree, it does rather sound like urban myth but regretably there have been at least two confirmed cases.