Natural friends

Yesterday evening, I saw up to four foxes within a short period of time. I saw one, a gorgeous one with a very fluffy tail and an equally fluffy face, very close to my home. I’d heard a fox call out repeatedly, before I went out. Maybe it was that one.

A little bit later, I saw two or three scrawnier-looking types a few hundred yards away from my home. They’d been up to something and I don’t rule out that they’d caught a bird and were fighting over it. There was a lot of rustling and some squeaking going on, but when I walked up to enquire, the foxes ran off, abandoning whatever they’d been up to.

Last year, I saw up to six foxes one evening, but that was much later in the evening, and I had purposefully gone out to look for foxes that day. While I was standing in the dark and couldn’t actually see the fox, one very close to me warned either me or, more likely, another fox to stay off its turf, by the sound of it. That felt awesome, to be that close, to have a fox call out right next to you. It was that time of the year when the young ones are establishing their territories.

I have seen a fox scale a 2-m-high wall as if it wasn’t there and I’ve also seen one flatten itself and slip under a gate, through a very narrow space.

If you happen to be living in the territory of foxes, and need some help with that, then it is useful to know that if you kill a fox, you usually merely enable another fox to move in. Traditional pest controllers and exterminators tend to want to kill animals, unfortunately. It is much more effective to work with specialists who understand animals and get them to cooperate.

What do they want, foxes? Essentially the same things you want. So it is often possible to entice them to go somewhere else. A good book about this is “Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife” by John Hadidian and others. (I am lucky enough to have it.)

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