Urban foxes

by Richard Jones

I think we have foxes living under our garden shed. I first noticed the scratching in the soil a week or so ago. It didn’t look like very much excavation had occured...

Photo of possible fox burrow under shedI think we have foxes living under our garden shed. I first noticed the scratching in the soil a week or so ago. It didn't look like very much excavation had occured and the hole didn't appear to go very far. But now we have more earth-moving going on. Then today I found the large bone, obviously the remains of someone's Sunday roast, dumped under the bench up there. Squatters?

Fox sightings have been down this last couple of years, and even the plaintive screaming in early spring seems to have subsided of late. There was a time, seven or eight years ago, when you couldn't leave the house without nearly tripping over not one, but usually several foxes, all brazen and cocksure. Then they vanished. I had thought that mange had done for many of them, and certainly there have been some moth-eaten examples limping through South London streets. But now I wonder whether all the recent garden make-overs in my area have seen them off.

When we moved here 10 years ago, a pleasing number of neighbouring gardens was unkempt to the point of dereliction. Even when my immediate neighbour poisoned his entire back garden down to brown London clay to eradicate the nose-high false-oat grass, I could still see the bramble clumps in the next garden up the road. Over the back fence was an alien country. I knew there were houses over there somewhere, in the next street, but they were all but invisible through the nettles, living and dead plum trees and sprawling ivy.

Ironic, then, that our garden, when we moved in, was just bare clipped lawn, a fair amount of old concrete paths, and naked chain-link fence. Now we have several rambling thickets of rose, ivy, clematis and vine, a 'secret' sun-lit patio beyond the pergola (I'm still extremely proud of my construction), a pond and various garden beds. But elsewhere in the neighbourhood, the dense diversity of sheltered hidey-holes has been replaced by ... well, quite a lot of clipped lawn, wood chippings and the modern equivalent of concrete: decking.

Where the foxes used to visit us, then go home to their hidden dens, now they seem to be making our hectic plot their base camp, while they forage elsewhere.

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Gardeners' World Web User 09/06/2010 at 18:05

i have a family of foxes that daily come into my garden,mum fox has had baby-cubs [3],realy lovely and sweet...sadly though for 10 days now i havent seen dad fox i hope he is ok.... with all the news at the moment about the fox attack,,,im now wondering should i stop them coming into my garden,,will be difficult as i back onto woods and there are many foxes in our area,also many of my neighbours on a daily basic feed the foxes either in there back gardens or they leave food out the front of there gardens,i know lots of people will dissagree but its lovely to watch and also to monitor there behaviour and patterns of movement.the only thing i really dont like is the screaming they do,are they fighting?? is it aggression,or playing,as at moment the screaming is very loud and it sounds like someone is getting hurt,is this why dad fox has dissappeared.?.?.?.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/06/2010 at 14:54

I have foxes that visit regularly and have never been a problem. The parents had 4 fox cubs last year but then they all seemed to disperse and left only two. These two seem to have paired up and are now regular visitors. I feed them regularly each evening and they patiently wait for me to go out and feed them. I certainly won't stop feeding them due to the recent attack which was most unfortunate but obviously very rare. It's strange that an attack on two small babies by a fox calls for a cull of all urban foxes yet attacks by parents on small children doesn't call for a cull of all parents!!

Gardeners' World Web User 10/06/2010 at 18:52

here here foxie lady ...couldnt say it better myself...

Gardeners' World Web User 10/06/2010 at 18:55

I love Foxes i watch them every year and put my bones out for them i have a family with 3 cubs my other neighbour trys feeding them tinned cat food and i just laugh every time the Foxes leave it for some fresh chicken bones might be better if the neighbour didnt put the cat food in a dogs bowl for them people feed birds i see no reason not to feed Foxes they have a hard life

Gardeners' World Web User 10/06/2010 at 20:45

although fox's are lovely to look at, I am glad that I haven't got one in my garden, after one chewed the legs off my friends goose to immoblize it before the kill,I cannot bring myself to love them, my friend installed electric fence to protect the two geese but both were mutilated then killed, leaving my friend traumatised.

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