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Garden foxes

Posted: Wednesday 5 December 2012
by Richard Jones

The foxes have been busy in my garden again. I haven’t seen them recently, but they leave their tell-tale signs. Today I find they’ve been raiding the food store.


A plastic egg, chewed by a fox

The foxes have been busy in my garden again. I haven’t seen them recently, but they leave their tell-tale signs. Occasionally I have cause to curse them, notably when I move the kids’ climbing frame to mow the lawn and find a putrescent latrine in the damp grass. Other times they are a distant yelp, to remind me that they’re still a sizeable population in this part of deepest, darkest East Dulwich.

Today, though, I find they’ve been raiding the food store. Luckily this isn’t really my larder, it’s the scattered plastic food that belongs in the children’s playhouse at the end of the garden. The plastic egg is punctured all over with tooth marks and ripped open in a rough tear. I hope the fox was disappointed when it found no dainty morsel, just a tasteless plastic shell.

It’s strange what foxes will attack. There was a time when we had a scattering of golf balls in the garden, and it was a regular occurrence to find one of these pocked with tooth marks. Maybe the fox thought it had found an unusually spherical egg, maybe it just liked the tough rubbery resistance to exercise its jaw.

Still, golf balls are nowhere near as heart-stopping as the most unusual fox victim I ever found. I was surveying the broad verge-like embankments of the Tube line near Dagenham, in an area completely out of bounds to the public, when I stumbled across what looked like a baby, half-buried in the soil. In fact it was a life-sized rag doll, presumably taken from one of the gardens that backed onto the railway lines here, but it gave me quite a shock.

I don’t believe the fox thought it was attacking a baby. It was more likely to have been attracted by the smell of fermenting drool, food and sweat that had impregnated the cloth. We take care never to leave soft toys outside, but I do remember a few years ago a neighbour lamenting the loss, to a fox, of her leather handbag, which she’d accidentally left on the doorstep.





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Talkback: Garden foxes
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gatehill 06/12/2012 at 19:53

Yes, they're a right pain in the backside - walking over the vegetable plot, seed beds etc. I try to keep them out but to little avail.

What's the best form of deterrent - ultrasound, chemical sprays etc...??

flowering rose 06/12/2012 at 20:05

we have foxes and badgers that come into the garden,they  are part of the wildlife around and do in our case take out a lot of the rat population ,you have to live with them to be part of the environment we live in ,annoying sometimes but so are humans.You cant choose what comes to visit or what you prefer,as to a deterrent and if you need one ,is an old folk one,urinate around the site you don't want them to be,

jatnikapyar 07/12/2012 at 09:28

Like "flowering rose" we have foxes and badgers too.We have tried everything to deter them but to no avail. We have now learnt to accommodate them by using cloches(clear corrugated sheets are good. We also "plant" holly branches around vulnerable plants. Foxes DO keep the rats away. We had rats in our gardens a couple of years ago and saw foxes catching them in broad daylight! Now we leave blocks of lard overnight on the bird table  and it is still there on the morning.(We were told to use this trick as a test as ,if we still had rats it would have gone). Some neighbours have 6' fences but to no avail as they(foxes) jump over them effortlessly.

We have come to the conclusion that they are part of our enviroment and if we had not encroached on the woodlands etc. they would not be in our gardens.

roxy2 07/12/2012 at 10:16

Foxes are less annoying in the garden than children. They deserve our protection, I am so fed up with people moaning about wildlife.

sotongeoff 07/12/2012 at 10:28

roxy2 wrote (see)
Foxes are less annoying in the garden than children. They deserve our protection, I am so fed up with people moaning about wildlife.


If you have lost chickens to foxes as I have,had a dog caught mange from them as I have,a pet rabbit taken from a neighbours garden ,holes dug in lawns- then you might understand why I-and probably a lot of people- do not want foxes in their gardens

In an urban enviroment they are a pest.

Nothing to do with moaning about wildlife at all

 

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