A fox in a London
suburb having bitten off a baby’s finger, we can now expect an outbreak of
tabloid hysteria about the pointy-nosed menace that prowls our streets and
invades our homes.
Well, I suppose it makes a change from unemployed,
hooded, knife-wielding hoodlums.
“Why doesn’t the council do something about these
creatures?” barks Mr. Ivor Reynard, landlord of the Fox and Hounds, on Foxcroft
“Around here, I’m telling tell you, there are now more of the bloody things
than there are of us.”
I know how he feels, but only up to a point, Lord
It is true that they treat my garden as a veritable
playground. During the recent snow, the
lawn was crisscrossed with tracks heading off in all directions, and a confusion
of swirl marks in the centre suggested the staging of some kind of foxy
Olympiad. It is also annoying to have to
listen from time to time to the fearful and often extended wailing of rutting
pairs, especially at three in the morning.
But should we, any of us, now be quaking in our beds? I think not.
To be honest, I’m almost as concerned about the invasive
predilections of cuddly, lovable and supposedly trained household pets. In our neighbourhood it’s reigning cats and
dogs. They invade our property at will
to deposit their excremental coils and chipolatas, usually in the most
inconvenient places, like the back doorstep, or the middle of the patio – not
to mention the greens on the golf course.
“It’s not them, it’s the foxes,” protest the pet-lovers
indignantly. “Oh, no, it’s not,” I
respond, though invariably under my breath, for fear of giving offence to
people whom, despite their irrational affection for furry playthings, I actually
The more objectionable of these household predators are
the cats. Not only do they use the place
as a latrine, they also leave it littered with the bloodied corpses of our
best-loved songbirds. The Royal Society
for the Protection of Birds claims that cats are by a feather-and-bone ridden
mile the biggest source of avian fatalities.
Perhaps I’m to blame, for fattening up our feathered
friends, at great expense, with endless provisions of nuts and seeds. But at least I’m not guilty of scattering the
neighbourhood with the remnants from McDonalds, KFC and other fast-food outlets,
which may be the reason why foxes are attracted to our mean urban streets in
the first place. Foxes are very partial to horsemeat, I’m told.
I suppose I’m obliged to add that I’m sorry to hear
about the de-fingered infant, which lay helpless in its cot when it was
attacked. But I do wonder why certain
elementary precautions don’t seem to have been taken, like closing the back
door and keeping an eye on the child instead of spending hours sending text
messages and Facebook updates.
I feel no particular affinity with the ginger
vulpines but what about those murderous ginger felines?