Urban foxes: what’s the deal?


Urban foxes are a common occurrence in cities and suburbs. I’m used to seeing them around the streets near my home in London. The foxes are not from the country; they are indeed part of the infrastructure we live in, just as much as pigeons or rats.

By unknown artist (The American Cyclopædia, v. 7, 1879, p. 358) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By unknown artist (The American Cyclopædia, v. 7, 1879, p. 358) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A recent incidence in South London where a small baby had it’s hand mauled by a feral fox sparked huge controversy, some even calling for a cull of these pests. However, some internet spies commented that the family was covering up an incident that was in fact caused by a pet dog; a precious member of the family which would have needed to be exterminated as a result.

Thankfully, the story has dissolved and there are currently no threats posed toward our urban foxes. Evidence show that the population is not increasing, rather it’s currently recovering from a recent epidemic of mange, a disease caused by a mite which results in hypothermia and starvation. Incidents like these are in fact remarkably rare, considering the close living proximity of our species with theirs. Experts also state that the controversial cull would probably not even work; they rarely do.

Urban foxes bring pleasure to many, excitement for some, and the occasional irritation to those who find the bin bag strewn all over the front porch in the morning. The species can be considered beneficial to our urban ecosystems; mainly, the extermination of rats, but also as a beautiful symbol of nature’s resilience in the concrete jungle. Next time, shut the front door and keep the bin lids closed! Might even get my camera trap ready… 

Advertisements