In the last few years Fox attacks are seemingly on the rise. Or at least the number of times the media get hold of these stories is on the rise.
The recent BBC news story
It seems that foxes are attacking unguarded babies and occasionally sleeping adults. There is a pattern to it from the stories I have read. It’s always in cities, the urban fox rather than the free range variety. It’s often a baby, and it doesn’t bite just anywhere… It goes for limbs. Hands, arms, feet. Not trying to be gross but its like it knows limbs are easier to remove and is that starving that its worth the risks of entering a house for “food”. With the adult attacks it’s similar – biting adults in their sleep. I’ve read about feet, fingers and ears being chewed at. You don’t tend to hear of attacks on say, the stomach – often covered in clothing and harder for a fox to nick some flesh. Digits are an obvious target when you think about it. Its not going for the throat and trying to kill like in a dog attack, its not angry, it’s all about food.
I was thinking, obviously these attacks are awful for anyone in that family, but can we learn anything from it? These foxes are coming in by open windows or doors, and sometimes in daylight. Foxes aren’t just nocturnal anymore. They are changing, and I suspect “The Urban Fox” might be evolving differently to country foxes which are still largely scared of people and have access to wild rabbits and mice. Urban foxes are bold, fearless and quite frankly frightening! I’ve lived in both the big cities and very isolated villages in the countryside, and I must say the foxes look and act different.
Country foxes generally seem beautiful, lots of ginger fur and cheeky faces, almost makes you say aawww to yourself. The urban foxes I’ve encountered are scruffy looking, with shabby fur, and has an evil expression to the face. Its like it says “I’m not scared of you!” when it looks at you. It’s intimidating! Now don’t get me wrong, generally speaking I like foxes, but in our most crowded cities these foxes have changed, they have become desperate and dangerous.
I’m not sure what can be done about it really, some say bring back fox hunting, but that was always a country not a city thing. I can’t see that helping. Maybe a city only cull, of the scruffy desperate looking types, as desperately hungry foxes would be the most motivated to do this sort of sneaky house raiding.
I don’t like the idea of killing animals but what else is left. I’m not sure if maybe there is some kind of contraception option, darting the females so the numbers decrease in a more natural way?
If we leave the situation as it is mother foxes are probably teaching their young entering houses is a food option if nothing can be found via gardens and bins. I’m not saying wipe out the city foxes, but if the numbers were lower they might be able to find food without stooping to these crazy house attacks.
I technically live in a city center now, but it’s actually got lots of open spaces here, and there are foxes. I still leave my bunny free range at night (depending on weather) as no fox has ever bothered coming into the garden but almost every week in the early morning of recycling day Mr Fox will knock over a couple of food bins on the curb and things like bacon scraps or chicken bones are pinched. But these foxes realise outside the gardens is their space, and gardens and houses are no go areas.
All that said, do not encourage foxes into your garden, you might be accidentally endangering your family or your neighbours. Always shut doors, and ground floor windows. If you need the doors left open, maybe you are painting or decorating so need better ventilation, close other doors inside the house especially the children’s bedroom door.
On several of these newspaper articles that get published online there are readers comments and they can be pretty hostile comments. “How could the parents be so stupid?” and “How could you not know there was a fox in the house?” are common ones, it’s not stupid to feel safe in your own home, and these people clearly haven’t met wild foxes! Sneaky does not even begin to cover it, they can move silently, deadly slow, like a pet cat sneaking up on a sparrow. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the parents, but in cities new mums should be reminded foxes are a potential danger these days. Okay, attacks are “rare” but isn’t a couple a year too much? The children are often lucky as the parents hear something and fight the fox off, and most stories I’ve read surgeons have been able to fix the damage. I am worried though that sooner or later a baby will die from such an attack.
Shouldn’t we as a nation learn how to better protect our little ones? Or do something about these urban foxes? Many people believe these fox attacks are faked, but I disagree. Why would a parent make this up? As I have come up close to foxes I won’t lie, they are scary, I was sat on my sofa in a flat in London area and heard noises, turned around and was a fox looking in with its paws on the outside window ledge looking in, I ducked. Just lay down on the sofa hoping he would go away, after ten minutes or so I got up and went to bed, all doors and windows shut. Its an uncomfortable feeling having your home checked out by a thief, even if it was a fluffy looking villain.
Caution and common sense, that’s what is needed.