Friday, 31 October 2014

All Hallows' Eve

Hallowe'en in London.

Monday, 13 October 2014

London Foxes

I have heard estimates that there are 10,000 foxes living in London.  I am surprised that there are so few.  I frequently see them strolling up and down the pavement or crossing the road from one garden to another, often in broad daylight, though most often at dusk or night.  I know where to look to see them curled up when they are taking an afternoon nap.  

One of my neighbourhood foxes coming out from his front door.

He is a well-dressed fox.
The London fox is the red fox which began moving into the city in the 1940s.  In Ireland they had already taken up residence in Dublin in the nineteenth century.  Having moved in, they stay and breed.  Most London foxes have been here for more generations than human Londoners.  

The London fox prefers living in leafy residential areas where there are large gardens and plenty of space to roam.  I do not know what they live on, but definitely not pets, nor am I aware that they make a special point of scavenging in rubbish bins; when I see signs of that my impression is that it could as much be the work of a dog or a cat.  But there is plenty of food lying about and also people like to put out food for foxes. 

This fox I followed round and round when he was not following me.

Environmental scientists say that foxes are ideally suited to city life.  It is not a case of why would they want to live in cities, rather why not?  They are found in every habitat from the deserts of North Africa to the Arctic Circle.  London is just another habitat. 

The foxes I know are quite tame.  This summer one strolled across my garden in the evening and came to the patio table where I was sitting with friends and casually enquired for something to eat.  When I see them in the street I sometimes follow them and they follow me; we go round and round in circles, the fox not sure if I am chasing him or trying to give him dinner. 

Having given up on dinner from me, he moves off.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, thinks our foxes should be culled.  He favours fox hunting through the streets – on bicycles. Boris has his value but if I saw him tally-hoing on his bicycle after my neighbourhood foxes I would be tempted to set the hounds on him.