Diet, Fox Number, Shooting & Poisoning, Foxes & Chickens, Feeding & Digging
Did you know that a foxes diet consists of over 90% scavenged food, wild mammals such as rats, mice and invertebrates and of course loads of fruit. Birds are a little below 7% and pets at 3%, in a recent survey it equated to a pet every five years.Mother nature ensures natural instinct is strong in these amazing mammals. Time and time again I see tiny cubs burying excess food - cubs that have never been wild still dig fantastic earths. So a round of applause for the clever fox please.
Fox number have not increased in the last 30 years but their habits and most importantly our habits have changed. In fact recent surveys show there are 20 % fewer foxes in the UK than there were 20 years ago.You may be interested to know fox number and badger numbers are similar and you may also be interested to know foxes were hunted to extinction in the 18th century. They were then imported from France and Germany to re populate the UK by the hunts, hence the nickname Reynard, used by the hunts, which is the french word for fox. Until the 1930’s there were no foxes on the Isle of Wight, they were imported from the mainland UK for fox hunting and then bred. Inbreeding is a contributor to a weak immune system.
SHOOTING & POISONING
Shooting and poisoning a fox can be inhumane at worse, very costly at best but most importantly absolutely pointless. Foxes are territorial and if you remove one from a territory another WILL take its place. Territories range from 400km sq. in remote parts of Scotland to as little as 50 terraced gardens in London. If food supplies are abundant in towns foxes will share the wider territory with other foxes. Food supply defines their territory
FOXES AND CAGED CHICKENS
Foxes are a little lazy but very, very clever.If we choose to cage animals insecurely, that would be called a “larder” to a fox. He can open the door or dig a small hole and all those chickens/rabbits/ducks are just sitting on the shelves waiting for him. So clever fox kills them all and stores them for later. He eats one and then goes back for the rest one by one and buries them in his own larder. That larder now is possibly the hole in your garden, hence lots of them……………... So don’t shout, admire the clever sole The habits of our intelligent fox have changed but not their numbers.Foxes are canids and highly intelligent and adaptation has been the key to their survival. They have now trained us to feed them and have learnt to find easy pickings from their would be friends the humans. In the late 70’s it became common place to feed cats outside and feed garden birds. In the last twenty years garden bird food has become a multi million pound business.
Some people feed foxes and again when they have too much food they take it away and bury it so if you have a lot of people feeding you will get a lot of holes.Foxes have a fantastic sense of smell and love bugs and earthworms that lie in the roots of plants and grass. Hence little holes in your lawn. The big holes/furrows will probably be badgers. We must add that bone meal, fish and blood based fertilizer in the soil may convince a fox there is already a stash there to be found. A vixen will dig several earth's prior to having her cubs. If she feels unsafe she will move them…I would say that’s clever and very caring.
The only creature that seeks to annoy anything would be a human. Animals have far more important things to deal with such as surviving. Foxes have to eat every day to survive, they need protection from the weather and from us. Foxes have no natural predators in the wild but numbers have declined in the last 10 years. Foxes dig for three reasons - to find food, to bury food and to dig an earth. That’s it, not for fun and not to annoy. Foxes are extremely clever and would only dig in "good digging" soil. Unfortunately for us, that could be a newly made flower bed or a golf bunker.<