The Urban Fox
by Peter Hanscomb
It will come as now surprise to anyone who has visited this blog before to find out the Red Fox is my favourite British wild animal. Often described as cunning and sly, deeply embedded in British folklore the fox has had a long and checkered association with man.
The Fox is the only wild dog left roaming free in the British Isles , considered by some vermin and public enemy number one and by others an amazingly adaptable wild friend. When I say adaptable, there are virtually no habitats in the uk where you won’t find foxes and this even applies to our inner cities, town centres and suburbs. So if you want to see foxes in your garden , here are a few tips.
Firstly a few words of caution. Not everyone , even in towns and cities are fox lovers, some still see the fox as vermin, worried that their rubbish bins are going to be trashed by the fox , and their gardens ruined. Your neighbours might also have concerns about food left out for foxes attracting mice and rats. Both of these worries can in part be answered with careful placement of the food you leave out for your garden visitor. Lastly and most importantly for the fox , select a safe location to leave food and attract the foxes to you , if you live on a main or busy road you might be putting your foxy friends at risk by enticing them to your garden.
The urban fox accounts for roughly 20-25% of the total fox population in the UK. A recent study suggests that upto 60% of the food consumed by urban foxes is deliberately left out my sympathetic households. A fox is a creature of habitat, and like any animal is always on the lookout for a free and easy food supply. So creating a feeding spot is the best way of enticing foxes to visit your garden.
A fox will eat most waste food , cat and dog meat , left over meat from your Sunday roast , as well as potatoes and even Yorkshire pubbing, and here is the first problem , this will also attract all of your neighbours cats. What’s not widely known is a fox has a sweet tooth, if you want to feed foxes and only foxes try leaving out jam sandwiches. As strange as it sounds most cats and indeed other animals will avoid the sugary treat but foxes love them. Cut the sandwiches up into small cubes , you can also add a small handful of raisin’s and scatter a few unsalted peanuts, which will also attract foxes. Another of our visitors favourite treats is a raw egg. Place it carefully in the area the foxes visit and it will be the first food item to disappear.
When choosing a site to feed the fox , always consider an area with some kind of screen for the fox to hide behind. An hedge or fence out of sight will do the trick giving the fox some security, and concealing the food stash from passers by. Don’t be tempted to increase the amount of food you leave out if you see lots of activity. The chances are it will be the same fox visiting time and time again.