Urban fox sounds like an impossibility. These days foxes are almost more common in UK cities than they are in the surrounding countryside. I was staying in southwest London for a couple of nights over the weekend and saw one, so it’s today’s #30DaysWild offering.
Urban fox sightings
My most regular sightings of foxes over the past twenty years have been in urban or suburban streets. I do remember seeing a fox up to three times in the last twelve years while I’ve been in rural Norfolk. But I’d see one at least once a year when I was living in Epping. It was a cheeky thing, walking down the middle of my street in front of my car. When it got to an alley between some houses where it turned off. This was usually around midnight or so. That, as far as the fox was concerned, was His Time of Night.
.Yesterday I saw one at 5 am from my brother’s house. It’s in a city street, but backs onto the railway (tube) line. They run above ground for several miles once they leave the centre of the city. The fox was really big – German Shepherd dog size. I had got out of bed for some reason, and decided to look out of the window. There it was, creeping out of a bush in the neighbours’ garden: first a nose, then some ears (I was above and behind it). Then came the body, and lastly its huge bushy tail. This fox was deep red, much darker than most I’ve seen, which had a more ginger cast to their coats. It looked in really good condition (unlike the Epping one, which was always skinny and scrawny). On the other side of the garden it caught something under the bush. I reckon it was doing well on small mammals (which will please my brother).
Urban foxes have had bad press in the past few years, because thin and scraggy was typical. Most of them scavenge bones and other food left in dustbins and plastic sacks. I reckon some of those ate a fair amount of plastic with the chicken bones. Maybe their diet is improving with an increase in urban rats recently. If so they could be in for some severe damage as more poison is put down for rats. People don’t seem to realise all animals will pick up rat poison if it is disguised in seed, which it usually is.
I didn’t take a picture of the fox. My iPad was downstairs and I didn’t have my camera with me. You’ll just have to make do with one of Danielle English’s superb pictures of one. Danielle has more art on her RedBubble.com page – I just treated myself to a canvas print!
picture copyright Danielle English
5 thoughts on “Urban Fox – weekend sighting #30DaysWild”
I often see urban foxes – the best ever sighting was seeing three cubs playing in our back garden. The worst was having to call the council to dispose of a corpse on the path at the side of our house. Some years the foxes look scrawny, some years they look sleek and well-fed.
I suppose like everything else, their condition depends on the availability of food. Maybe people got cannier about food scraps in bags, and the foxes finally worked out what other sources of food is available in cities.
I see foxes in the open space near us, but haven’t seen them in the streets (of course, I’m not usually out either at midnight or 5 a.m.). We have coyotes, too–I don’t think you have those over there, do you? They probably beat out the foxes for rights to rule as urban predators.
Coyotes, no. I think they’re a whole different ballgame – as are dingoes in Australia.
I’ve seen foxes in town from time to time where I live. Never get a chance to snap a picture either.
Comments are closed.