Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Out Foxed

It's nearly three years since I first blogged about feeding the foxes of Worcester Park - a blog post which quite unexpectedly lead to a furious debate over our four-legged friends (and made the pages of the Sutton Guardian to boot).

Back then it was the anti-fox brigade leading the calls to stop feeding the foxes- but now I receive an e-mail from a fox lover imploring Worcester Park residents to stop feeding the local foxes:


"Feeding foxes makes them accustomed to human food (or dog/cat food if that's what you are doing).  As human food is high in calories the foxes will develop a taste for it and prefer it.  

Once the cute fuzzy cubs grow up and leave the den they will have to find their own food.  If their mother has only been bringing them sandwiches left out by well meaning locals the cubs won't know how to hunt vermin (which we want them to do) and will instead be looking for the food they are used to.  

Leaving aside the aesthetic concern that residents of several streets spend time every morning cleaning up the half eaten crusts scattered over thier gardens, if the foxes are hungry enough they will override their instinctive fear of people and will enter homes through open windows or doors, lured by the smell of familiar food.  

This is why young foxes start coming into peoples' houses - they are looking for food.  They are also opportunistic carnivores and may attack the family pet, or worse, if they see the prospect of an easy meal.
By feeding the foxes, residents are creating a potentially tragic situation, such as we all read about in the news last summer.  And for those who, like me, love foxes, it would be a gross injustice if, through well intentioned ignorance, some people cause foxes to lose their fear of humans and be branded a menace.  I for one would not like to see wholesale poisoning or trapping and killing of foxes because they have been made aggressive. 
Please, stop feeding the foxes so we can keep enjoying them for many years to come."

22 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Hillayr Jones said...

Foxes now need us humans to help them find food in suburbia, hopefully there aren't too many vermin around Worcester Park (apart from several human vandals/drunken louts!!!!)

The foxes way of life has changed and humans should recognise this. They only try and gain accessto bins/rubbish bags because they are hungry - there is nothing for them to eat in Surburbia. Yes I've had foxes inside before and they are lovely gentle creatures, if allowed to be so!! There are FAR FAR less attacks from foxes than there are dogs for instance, they just get bad press. Where I used to live we had a family of foxes that used to sit with the cats and they caused no-one any problems. It's the people that cause the problems!!

Please feed these lovely regal creatures, not necessarily human food but maybe meat left over from meals, a fed fox is far better than a hungry fox, as is a fed human than a starving one!!!!

Anonymous said...

It must be remembered a fox is a wild animal.If they do not have enough natural food and begin starve. Then they should be prevented from suffering by being culled hamanely.
Human intervention in their feeding habits will only cause problems.

Anonymous said...

Foxes are vermin and now should be culled. They serve no purpose and are dangerous in urban areas.

Robert said...

Obviously feeding the Foxes has made the situation much worse. We are now plagued by too many of these wild animals, because of people treating them like pets.
Nature shoudl be allowed to take it course, and Foxes returned to their wild and healthier instints, even if this meanss smaller numbers. Hopefully then the site of a wild fox will then be viewed as a special treat.

HRH said...

Bloody foxes. A plague on them...........

Philip said...

@Hillayr Jones - please read the original article again for the logic aginst what you are suggesting.

And what have dogs got to do with this issue? It just reminds me of the argument of the pro-cannabis lobby saying that far more damage is done by alcohol than cannabis.

Claire63 said...

Philip, I think that @Hilayr Jones is referring to the fact that over 4,000 people are attacked by dogs every year, many seriously or even fatally, and yet there are no calls to cull dogs or to label them "vermin". I actually don't like the idea of people encouraging urban foxes (or any wild animal) to approach them/lose their fear of humans because not everyone is tolerant when it comes to the natural world around us and it puts those creatures in danger (especially those who buy into the media-droven hysteria about foxes). I've actually seen the results of this at the wildlife centre I volunteer at - foxes shot or hit over the head by vicious morons that I'd feel much less comfortable living next door to than a whole family of foxes!
There's a lot less food for foxes to scavenge with the advent of wheelie bins and they will eventually adjust their numbers naturally to match the availability of food in an area.

hillary jones said...

Thank you Claire63 that is entirely my point! Foxes are just beautiful creatures and as said before there are far more human vermin that should be culled!

I will continue to help feed a starving animal, no matter what it is. I hope phillip is never starving himself and tries to get food and someone culls him!!!! Because there are in fact too many humans in the world!!!

Anonymous said...

the article that says stop feeding the foxes so we can enjoy them for hyears to come - I don't understand, if we don't feed them they will starve and not be around for years to come. Their, through no fault of theirs, lifestyle has changed, they need to eat, can't access bins and so feeding them is kind. I don't agree with getting close to them, but a helping hand will mean they are around in the year 3000 if the earth is not destroyed by war and earthquakes before then!

The Dutchman said...

Please explain how this is any kind of "fact" Hillary..........

duckmomma said...

Maybe some of you bleeding hearts would like to join us in watchig our lovely young goose fight for her life after a fox attack!
A beautifull creature we hatched from an egg and love as much as anyone on here loves their cat or dog.
We are getting a professional pest controller to supply us with a trap and legally dispatch any foxes caught in it for us, yes it will be expensive but it's worth it to be able to allow our birds to free range ocasionaly.
As for you fox feeders, just bear in mind you could be luring them to their death.
Do I care if I offend you? not a bit, you encourage these vermin, just because a fox looks cuter than a rat you think it's ok, you wouldn't put food out for rats would you?
foxes carry just as many nasty diseases.
Life ain't all fluffy clouds and cute bunny rabbit.

The Dutchman said...

@ Duckmomma : "Life ain't all fluffy clouds and cute bunny rabbit."

Couldn't agree more - it's lucky poultry-borne diseases have never posed any threat to humans isn't it..........

Too many foxes said...

There are way too many urban foxes now and some sort of culling will have to be enforced at some time. In Hampshire where they prey on anything with a pulse they have fox piles where they pile up foxes who are shot to deter other foxes. Maybe banning fox hunting, which incidentally still goes on in some areas, was not such a good idea.

Basil Brush said...

@Duckmomma- are you taking the piss with your contradictory comments? Saying “Life ain't all fluffy clouds and cute bunny rabbit” and “bleedin heart liberals” about fox sympathysers whilst being completely over emotional about your own animal. Well unfortunately that is just nature and it’s hard for modern humans to realise they can’t completely insulate themselves from it. What makes one animal’s life more important than another, other than the fact that you happened to love one more. Self centred human??

@ Too Many Foxes. What on earth has fox hunting in rural areas got to do with urban foxes you dick. Yeah killing some foxes in Hampshire will really send out a strong message to all urban foxes- presumably when they see it reported on fox news!

Too many foxes said...

Dear dear Basil what would Mr Derrick say about your language, maybe you should go back into the muppet puppet box where you belong - Boom Boom!

reynard(the one that got away) said...

Bring back the 'Huntsmans Hall' then we can start up the WP hunt and get rid of the little B's.Tally ho .

NW Surrey Friends of the Fox said...

May I appeal to all wellwishers of Surrey foxes to put out as much unwanted but nourishing left-overs as you can spare on lawns and patios.

Foxes are an important part of our natural eco-system and through changes in farming are being forced to leave the land and seek refuge in our suburbs and cities.

Without your help, foxes could become an endangered species in just a few decades so please help all you can with lean (uncooked) chicken, pork sausages with a high meat content and raw eggs. (The latter can be purchased at Tesco for 69p. per half dozen which I am sure everyone can afford - look for the boxes marked 'Eggs from Caged Birds'.

Geoff said...

To NW Surrey Friends of the Fox, if we put out our leftovers, then by definition those foxes are no longer part of our "natural eco-system", but start to become partly domesticated. They will then become bolder in their ways and become more approachable to humans and therein lies certain dangers, both to the humans and to the foxes.

Also, it is clear that foxes, without out help, are increasing in numbers, and therefore are far from becoming an endangered species. I know this from personal experience, as when I moved to my house 16 years ago, I would occasionally have to remove lumps of fox shit from my front garden, now it's every morning, and no, it's not dog shit.

I think it's best to let them be and create their own balance in nature.

Captain America said...

To 'NW Surrey Friends of the Fox': you forgot to mention the sirloin steak and caviar too, plus a little bowl of Bolinger (crystal bowl, obviously).

Sue said...

Some of the posts on the WP blog are not as good as they were!!
No need to use that language re: the fox problem.

Mr. Derrick said...

I sincerely apologise to residents for Basil’s behaviour - he used to have a happy go lucky outlook. But since he’s begun attending illicit meetings at the Worcester Park Mosque, his personality has regrettably much changed. I particularly feel for Mrs. Brush, for whom life now consists of little more than burkas and beatings.

NW Surrey Friends of the Fox said...

Would that I could, Captain America, yesterday the little devils had to make do with the leftover sausages and burgers from Sunday's BBQ.

Yes, Geoff, I too am aware that they repay our kindness by shitting on the lawn but I keep a spade by the back door and shovel it onto the flower beds, it's particularly good for fucshias, I find. And completely free.

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