Updated: Dec 26, 2020
For the last few nights, just before dusk, we have been visited by a juvenile fox, a female, probably born in February this year. She is a playful thing and, at present, not overly scared of us. My best guess is that this lack of apprehension comes from her being hungry and, sadly, being an orphan. I have no idea what might have happened to her brothers and sisters. Usually foxes that are born early in the year stay with their family until they are ready to go out and forage and hunt alone around autumn time.
I had seen her picking fallen birdseed out of the bird basin for a few nights in a row, until, two nights ago she sidled up to my little daughter and a young guest staying at The Granary. She simply strolled across the raised lawn to within a couple of metres of them and just sat and stared. They were strangely unafraid themselves and later came across to tell me. We filled a bowl with cat food and went back over to the garden, we wanted to make sure she was ok. It didn’t take long for the fox to return, the smell of the microwaved food in her nose. And after gobbling down two bowlfuls, she danced about a bit, sat again and considered us. Then she picked up the bowl and was off. I do hope she brings it back tomorrow, otherwise I’m not sure what I’ll tell the cat!
I’ve always loved foxes, even urban ones. A few times, walking home late at night, I’d see one and follow it for a few blocks, interested in the kind of life it led. When I lived near the war museum there was a tough old fox who would sleep on the garage roofs during the day, charging his batteries in the sunshine. But that’s nothing, I read about a fox that lived on the 72nd floor of the Shard during construction. How he survived up there no one knew. Then one day a rescue worker brought him back down to earth, after naming him Romeo. The country foxes are different from the city ones, smaller, sleeker and with thick fine coats. They all have the same guile and wiliness that they are famed for though.
So, we’ll feed this little thing again if she comes back, but not too much. Enough to stop her starving but not enough to stop her foraging and hunting for herself and storing a little cache of food for herself to revisit later. We’ll put the food out for now, but one day she’ll stop coming back.
A great book for learning more about foxes is Adele Brand's The Hidden World of the Fox.
A few songs about foxes, together with a clip of Fleabag finding what her urban foxes were all about: