Foxes can be cunning, but fox cubs can definitely be clumsy!
This poor fox cub was almost strangled in a football net. He struggled a lot and ended up with the net tightly wrapped all around his body. All of this could have been avoided by, simply, rolling up the net or putting it away.
Thanks to the gentleman who spotted him so quickly, the cub was safely freed and released.
The same day that I got pictures of this red fox, I also got this short video. It wasn’t until I saw the video that I was certain that the fox was eating the little green apples that were lying on the ground.
The fox seemed a little skinny. I’m not sure the apples would have been on the diet otherwise.
I was a little surprised that it didn’t seem all that frightened of me. I suspect it is used to Great Swamp visitors intruding on it’s home turf. It seemed to be content to let me take pictures, but when a couple of other people starting taking pictures too it decided enough is enough and skedaddled into the field.
This fox looks perfectly healthy to me! This is only a young fox (around 6 months) so it’s normal for them to be on the slender size. Under all that fur foxes are naturally very skinny, but especially so when they’re young and still in summer coat like this fellow.
Also fruit and berries are actually a big part of the fox’s diet at this time of year. Foxes are omnivorous and they absolutely LOVE fruit like apples and may eat little else as they take advantage of it during the short period it’s available.
It’s Saturday! Time to relax and chill out.Even our foxes are relaxing outside, while their medication does its job treating their mange. It’ll be back to the wild very soon!
Sorry I’ve missed a few of these. Here’s a very scary looking Donna from March 2012.
The Urban Fox Problem
The RSPCA capture urban foxes in cities with overwhelming fox populations upcountry and let them free in the countryside.
Lovely idea, right?
- They are urban foxes. They scavenge for food. They don’t know how to hunt. So they can quite easily starve to death.
- They are placing scrappy, small urban foxes into the territories of bigger and healthier country foxes. They get attacked and killed by the foxes that are already here.
- Farmers shoot foxes here. They have to, because they kill chickens etc and don’t stop coming back, even though there are plenty of wild animals for them to eat. But urban foxes aren’t scared of people, so they actually approach the farmers to be shot. It’s heartbreaking. They get killed in droves by farmers, even though they’re not the foxes actually killing the chickens.
This needs to STOP. It’s crazy. The RSPCA literally dump dozens of foxes from the back of trucks and drive off. It’s a death sentence for the foxes and it screws up the equilibrium of the habitats.
This is not the solution to the urban fox problem.
Okay there’s a lot of misinformation here.
Urban foxes are just as good at hunting as country foxes. In fact, around 40% of an urban fox’s diet consists of food they have hunted themselves, including prey such as rats, mice, squirrels pigeons and other birds. The idea that urban foxes get all their food from scavenging is simply a myth. The foxes around here are big killers of wood pigeons and rodents and the evidence of their kills can be found everywhere.
Urban foxes are not “small and scrappy”. In fact, Urban foxes are absolutely no different from country ones. Foxes frequently migrate out of cities into the countryside and vise versa, especially during autumn dispersal, meaning there is a constant mixing between the two. If anything, the amount of food available means urban foxes are often on the bigger side. I know many large, fit urban foxes who could give a country fox a run for it’s money.
Most urban foxes also still have a healthy fear of people, and youngsters that naturally move out into the countryside soon learn to become extra wary. They’re not going to have the same level as fear in the towns, however, as they’d be unable to go about their day otherwise. So they adapt their behavior around humans depending on the situation and environment.
While it’s true foxes should always be returned to the territory they came from and dumping urban foxes into the countryside would be an issue, the rumor that large numbers of urban foxes are being dumped in the countryside has never been proven. Without hard evidence showing those foxes being dumped it is just that; a rumor.
Watching a dog walker with two very noisy jack russells. Even though they passed very close to her hiding spot she didn’t get up.
Not being hunted by them, urban foxes often show little fear of dogs and will even sometimes follow dog walkers around out of curiosity!
Regarding mange, here is some information on the origin of mange in British foxes;
"Mange of a sort has probably always existed in the vulpine tribe. But except that a very old mangy fox was occasionally killed, the disease was practically unknown in the hunting field, and most certainly it never appeared in its recent epidemic form until the early 1890’s. It then broke out in certain southern hunts, and as far as could be ascertained at the time it was present in different districts of the south of England at much about the same period, the various places of outbreak being separated by wide tracts of country which were not infected. This, then, suggested that there was a common cause for the beginning of the epidemic, which was at work in more than one place.
But first it must be mentioned that by this time there was a decided shortage of foxes in many countries, due entirely to the increase of game preservation. In many hunts there was little or no breeding stock left at the end of the season, and it was known that no litters would be allowed to live in certain coverts. It became, then, absolutely necessary that some portions of certain countries should be restocked, and that there should be litters of cubs where it was known that they would be properly cared for. It is no use blinking facts, and it is a fact that importation of strange foxes was a necessity, which had to be acted upon. Nor was there anything new in the idea. In many countries restocking had been tried with success well on to a hundred years ago, where hunting had become popular in districts where the fox had previously been regarded as vermin. Much later too, in the 1840’s, 1850’s, and 1860’s, restocking had been resorted to (if it were necessary the names of countries could be given), and it was a very general opinion amongst those well versed in the habits of foxes that an occasional infusion of fresh blood was all for the good of the tribe. Doubtless, however, great care was taken both in seeing that the imported foxes were strong and healthy, and taken from a wild country, and similar care was exercised when they were turned down.
For a generation or two the trials of new blood were successful enough, but there came a time when owing to the fact that in many places foxes were no longer preserved, while in other districts they were destroyed in wholesale fashion, the demand began to exceed the supply, and then the foreign fox was bought in large numbers, and the mange era set in shortly afterwards. Most of these foreign foxes came, and still come, from various parts of Germany, and as foxes they are good enough. Indeed, we have heard of their giving the greatest satisfaction, but when the demand for increased numbers arose, the dealers, or consigners, began to be careless; the consignees (not the buyers) were equally so, and by the time the foxes reached the right hands, many of them, though not showing any signs of the disease, were infected by mange. That overcrowding, and foul kennels or cages, with improper food, were the original causes of virulent mange is almost certain, and there is reason to believe that very often a consigner of foreign foxes was collecting his cargo one by one, or in litters for weeks, and even longer, before they were dispatched. It is thought that during the process of collection too many foxes were herded together in dirty places, and that when the time for sending them off arrived they were packed too closely in dirty crates, and also that from the moment they were caught until they were turned into an English earth they were, to say the least of it, carelessly fed.
Mange takes some time to declare itself, but it is certain that some of the German foxes were mangy when they arrived, while it is also practically certain that others had contracted the disease. Small wonder, then, that after a while the infection spread to the wild foxes, and that the disease rushed all over the country.”
- Charles Richardson, The Complete Foxhunter (1908)
Anonymous said: How do you feel about intervening when you see your local foxes are sick or injured? Do you ever give them mange treatment or feel there is a point where you should help them? It saddens me when I see animals like that but at the same time it doesn't feel right to intervene with nature, if that makes sense? It is also amazing to see how well wild animals can adapt to living with their injuries.
It’s a complex issue for sure.
For mild cases treatment can be given in baited food which is a great option as it prevents suffering while not having to physically intervene. In the UK, foxes and their environment have been so heavily managed by humans and our activities that there is little that is truly natural about their current state. Even before treatments became available mangy foxes were heavily managed for hundreds of years through culling and destroying infected dens. Manage was also introduced into the country by humans so you could argue it’s our duty to do something to prevent it.
For more serious cases I believe it’s kinder to euthanize than to treat them in captive care. Treatment make take weeks or months, during which time the fox will have to live in a small cage and endure uncomfortable treatments and close encounters with humans, a frighting experience for any wild animal. Removing a fox from the wild means it may also lose it’s territory and be left homeless once it’s treatment is completed. There is also nothing to prevent the fox being reinfected once it’s released, especially if you’re releasing it into the area it first caught the disease (which you must do by law in the UK.)
In short, we’ve managed wildlife and the environment to the point that we cannot simply leave things to take their course as our activities will always impact on wildlife, both positive and negative, so sometimes human intervention is necessary. Whenever intervening, however, the welfare of the animal must come first.
Unfortunately it turns out the cubs do have mange, and while the other two don’t seem so bad, this cub isn’t doing so well and has a lot of hair-loss and open sores.
Mange is never nice to see but it’s especially sad in such young foxes. The continued use of old infected dens is probably the reason why manage continues to persist in the foxes at the cemetery.
Been a long time since I was last at the cemetery, so I went down there for a few hours this afternoon.
I think I forgot to mention last time that there’s a third cub, a very tiny little runt! Hard to believe they’re brother and sister given how much smaller he is!
From scruffy to smart in just a few months!