Saturday 14 May 2011

...and a fox

This week, disaster struck in my daughter's household. In broad daylight, and in full view of the house (and one terrified child), an urban fox knocked over the guinea pig cage and killed the guineas pigs.

My daughter and the children are all traumatised, and everyone feels guilty about something, from why did they put the run out in the garden? (they've been doing this every fine day for two years) to (the children) why weren't they better carers? why weren't they more assiduous in cleaning/feeding etc (atually, they were pretty good, and those guinea pigs were very well cared-for, but death always makes people feel guilty).

This has brought to (my) mind two things. Firstly, it was the children's first experience of bereavement, and they are going through that "I shall never, ever see my guinea pig again" thing. I think everyone remembers their first (mine was my pet rabbit Susie, unceremoniously carted off by the neighbours' cat). So it is particularly traumatic for them.

Secondly, there's the problem of urban foxes. These foxes are a dreadful nuisance. They have no predators, they are mangy and flea-ridden, and they create mayhem in city gardens. They leave their faeces all over the place, they take pets and chickens, and there have been reports of them attacking babies. It is virtually impossible to keep them out of city gardens, and they are fearless. I know of someone who saw one coming out of her bedroom carrying one of her shoes!

And yet we tend to be sentimental about them. While we are accept that rats should be poisoned (a horrible, painful death), the killing of foxes is prohibited. Foxes, apparently, are not vermin, and thus are protected. Those affected by their presence must simply put up with them.

Maybe if the worst happens, and a child suffers serious harm, the law will change.

But then, of course , it will be too late.


  1. I really want to know what that fox did with the shoe ...

  2. This is awful Frances. Maybe the foxhunting wasn't such a bad idea after all. I always thought it cruel to hound the fox, but seems we're being hounded now. Similar happenings are going on around here. Chickens and other pets being destroyed by foxes. Such a shame for the grandchildren.

  3. I've not heard of them causing any problems, but we do have urban foxes here. I've seen them walking down the High Street and past the library in the middle of the afternoon.

  4. Fran - so do I!

    Suzy, I can see both sides of the foxhunting argument. I've been hunting - and enjoyed it - but never seen a kill. The fox usually gets away.

    Patsy, I love the idea of your foxes strolling down the High Street to choose their library books. If only...

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  6. The foxhunting argument is more about HOW the fox is killed - they are ripped apart, which is cruel.

    Also, I find that HUMANS forget that it's their fault we have these Urban foxes. We have moved in on their land and we are the ones who have been careless with our rubbish. If their wasn't food here, they wouldn't come. Shooting the fox is not getting to the root of the problem. It's a short-term fix.

  7. Freya, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure that we have moved in on foxes' land. However, I think you are absolutely right about the rubbish. We are a particularly disgusting nation where rubbish is concerned. If we left less of it lying around, there would be fewer foxes.

    I never said anything about shooting; I don't have any anwers. Only questions.

    BTW where do you stand on the destrution of other vermin? Having seen a mouse dying of poison, I'm not at all sure that's the answer!

  8. What a shame about the Guinea pigs - I can imagine the poor children. You're certainly having a time of it with animals.

    As for foxes, I've never seen one close up and I live almost in the countryside with hills behind me. They must all have moved to town these days.

  9. Hi, Rosemary. Yes - animal life is not doing so well in this family. Plus, the guinea pig marriages described below have broken up and everyone's had to be separated because they can't stand each other! No pre-nups, either.

    I think your foxes are probably in the countryside, where they belong.

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