Environment: Urban Foxes

From the UK, George Sassoon writes: You asked why anyone might take in and feed a fox cub.  In our cities there are large populations of urban foxes, living on garbage and discarded food from restaurants etc.  They have no idea of how to survive in the wild, but some misguided people collect them and take them out into the country, where they dump them.  Usually, they don't last long.  But one of these may have spent some time semi-
domesticated, lost its fear of humans and domestic animals, before being subjected to this treatment.  Such a fox may be responsible for the attacks on dogs in the village of Hilton.  It showed no fear of the dogs' owners who witnessed the attacks.  It is only a matter of time before a human baby is savaged by one of these urban foxes, which might bring about a change of attitude to the animals.

RH: America is the home of the red fox, which is nocturnal.  I have never seen one, but Phyllis Gardner or Hank Greely can tell us if there are any in the area. Hank reported seeing coyotes. The coyote is canis latransm barking dog; howling would be more accurate.  Foxes eat birds.  The English  are crazy about birds, so you would think that they would support fox hunting. Can urban-dwelling WAISers tell us if there are foxes in their area?

I wrote: Can urban-dwelling WAISers tell us if there are foxes in their area?  Fellow Stanfordite Gene Franklin replies: I saw a fox once a couple of years ago while jogging in the area of  Felt Lake, south of the campus. Since then, I have seen a coyote and, as you know, there have been reports of a mountain lion in the same region.
A neighbor lost a cat believed to have been killed by a coyote.

Stanford campus dweller Hank Greely writes: We have seen red foxes, at least twice in the last five years, down the street from Ronald Hilton on Stanford campus.  I have a faint recollection that the red fox is not native to the Bay Area, but I'm not sure about that.  I've only seen a coyote in my backyard once.  And there has been no confirmed mountain lion sighting closer than 200 meters from Ronald's house in the last 10 years . . . but there was one about 200 meters away.  American suburbia has been increasingly friendly for wildlife in recent years.

We have two reports from the UK.  From Oxford, Anthony Smith writes:  We have foxes all over Oxford. They have become extremely daring in shopping centres, showing themselves fearlessly in the half-light of morning or evening.  One of them crosses the main road every morning, enters the college as confidently as a student, walks through the cloisters into the gardens beyond. They seem to know that they are admired for their bravado.  Richard Gutsell writes: I am living in Kennington London at the moment. A fox has made his home in the back gardens of the area, and I often see him sleeping on the wall just below my bedroom at about six in the morning. He is often wandering about in daylight, having lost much of his fear of humans. I have also regularly spotted urban foxes whilst living in Woking and Oxford.

More Fox News. Mike Sullivan writes We have many foxes in eastern North Carolina, and where we live, in a waterfront,  heavily wooded, golf course environment, we see grey foxes Spring through Fall.  We usually see them at night, but I've seen them in the day time chasing rabbits.  I saw a fox carrying a black snake in his mouth one day, and the snake was still flailing! 

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 12, 2005