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  • Monday, August 20th, 2018

Monday, August 20th, 2018

If we see a fox attack a cat that’s one thing but how can we be sure that the cat was killed by a fox if we didn’t witness the incident? Well there are some features that tend to be associated with (although are not conclusive proof of) fox attacks rather than dog attacks or fights with other cats. It has been suggested that intercanine distance (i.e. the size of the gap between the canine teeth) can be used to identify the culprit but foxes and medium-sized dogs both have distances of around 30mm and 26mm (about one inch) for their upper and lower canines respectively. Indeed in a paper to the journal Wildlife Research during 1970 Ian Rowley presented the results of his five-year study on lambing flock mortality in south-east Australia and wrote of: “… the impossibility of differentiating between fox and dog attack on the basis of the wound inflicted …” Non-Adaptive Hypotheses (NAH): In evolutionary biology behaviour is considered "non-adaptive" if it doesn't help get the animal's genes into the next generation. There are several theories that are grouped under the umbrella term non-adaptive and they suggest that infanticide may come about through traits such as a general increase in aggressiveness or that death may be accidental or come about from aberrant behaviour by. Brvia BrScary Terry Hoop Mixtape 🚨Terry Rozier is putting NYC hoopers on skates and we're here for itBleacher Report @BleacherReportSHEESH @T_Rozzay3 (via @IamDyckman) /lYTLc80IMc We classify electromagnetic radiation based on its wavelength (see figure below). Wavelengths of radiation are measured in units called “nanometres” (abbreviated to "nm"); one nanometre is one thousand-millionth of a metre or to put it another way there are 10 million nanometres in a centimetre (or nearly 26 million in an inch). Visible light is radiation with a wavelength of between 380nm and 780nm – wavelengths between these values represent different colours of light. For example light with a wavelength of 740 to 620nm is red while that between 575 and 500nm. A: In short no in Britain it is not illegal to keep a Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) as a pet. It is however ill-advised. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the occurrence of surplus killing and they can generally be divided into two schools of thought: exploitation of a bounty; pathological killing through hyper-stimulation. The first school consider that surplus killing arises as a result of a predator stumbling across a bountiful food source which -- because wild animals can never be sure where the next meal is coming from -- they exploit it to its full potential. Hemmington’S experience was far from unique and it is now widely held that many urban fox populations may have arisen when so-called ‘urban sprawl’ began replacing large areas of the countryside. Indeed this was considered a plausible explanation during the 1970s and in his Red Fox Huw Gwyn Lloyd wrote: “The first irruptions of urban foxes were probably due not so much to an influx of foxes as to extensive housing development in the suburban fringes in the 1920-40 period.” “In Scotland only the cities of Edinburgh (population 430,000) and Glasgow (population 629,500) experience [more than] 50 complaints per year; the majority (56%) of urban areas receive [fewer than] 25 complaints. There have over the years been several calls to reintroduce wolves to Britain usually as a means of controlling deer. One of the first such suggestions was made in 1986 and called for them to be released on the Isle of Rum off the west coast of Scotland to regulate the Red deer (Cervus elaphus) population. More recently in 1999 Aberdeen University zoologist Martyn Gorman called for wolves to be reintroduced to the Scottish Highlands with a view to controlling the deer that were causing damage to the commercial plantations. It has been suggested recently that if wolves were present in Britain they would also act to control the fox population but there is surprisingly little evidence to support such a claim. Indeed wolves may actually be beneficial. El Tri follow up their Germany upset with a win vs South KoreaB/R Football @brfootballMexico are on fire at the World Cup 🔥🏆 /CuJm13EjVs Evening Standardvia Evening StandardOzil Dropped by GermanyAfter 26 games it's happened.B/R Football @brfootballMesut Ozil: Benched by Germany after 26 consecutive starts in major tournaments (h/t @OptaFranz) /zuBVO7weYWSon Scored a Screamer Though 🚀It wasn't enough for South Korea but it was memorable (🎥 US only tap. Lindstrom's data are not unexpected and it is not uncommon for limiting factors to operate in an almost linear succession; in other words for one to take over from another as conditions change. If food were the limiting factor for example and we increase the rations -- let’s say people put out food to help the starving animals -- the population can start to increase again now the limitation of food has gone (or more accurately been raised). The population will increase until something limits it once more; until there is insufficient water or a lack of suitable shelter/resting s or food is limited again or disease starts spreading et cetera. This ‘tussle’ for resources is known as competition and when animals of the same species are going after the same resource we call it intraspecific competition. Q: It’s all very well for you to sit at your computer and tell people that foxes only kill pets to feed themselves and don’t kill for sport. What do you know about the grief associated with losing a pet to a fox? A: Until a few years ago nothing! As I sit and write this my mind drifts back to the events of Thursday 6th November 2003 and the surprise that I recall feeling upon getting up to investigate the quacking of our two pet "Call" ducks. For those of you who are familiar with the 9 standardized and half-dozen or more non-standardized types of Call duck listed by the British Wildfowl Association in 1999 one was a "Grey" or "Mallard" and the other was a "Bibbed" duck. “Numbers are low and its ranges large by comparison with those of voles rabbits or hares for example. Inevitably therefore the counting of foxes involves a great deal of manpower and effort.” “It is clear that such polarised perceptions have developed rather than being intrinsic. Economics invariably play a part. Those species whose prey is valuable to us have been persecuted over many centuries and such ‘management’ continues today.” There have now been more penalties awarded (14) at the 2018 World Cup than there were at the 2014 tournament We're not even out of the group stages yet 🎥 /b7zNItoxfwMexico Led After Vela Penalty South Korea handball provided El Tri with the perfect chance for 1-0 (🎥 US only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerCarlos Vela puts Mexico ahead! #ElTri is awarded a penalty after a handball in the box and Vela puts it away! /tv8QEZvLWL The first archaeological evidence for the Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Britain comes from the Wolstonian Glacial sediments in Warwickshire (a county in the midlands just south-east of Birmingham). The Wolstonian Glaciation started about 330,000 years ago and ended some 135,000 years before the present day (BP). The same sediments also contain the first evidence for the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) in Britain. During the Wolstonian the landscape was probably mainly grasses and sedges with some dispersed woodland (this type of environment is called a “steppe” by ecologists). First a little background. Caching seems to be a flexible behavioural response to a surfeit of food by a predator relying on prey whose abundance fluctuates considerably. J David Henry observed foxes as young as six weeks old caching food suggesting some genetic predisposition to hiding leftovers. Conventionally it was believed that larder hoarding was more efficient for territorial species -- because the larder would be clumped and located within the area of greatest activity -- while non-territorial animals would scatter cache (because scatter caches tend not to be defended). However foxes -- which will defend their territory -- seem to employ scatter caching as the ‘norm’ with larder caching being the exception. (Photo: Very young foxes are well known to cache food suggestions some genetic predisposition to. A: I should point out that the ideal of scatter caching is not so much a “rule” as conventional wisdom. If you look hard enough there are exceptions to pretty much any “rule” in nature – it’s what makes biological systems so frustrating and at the same time so alluring! Indeed not all fox species are known even to cache food – for example there is no evidence of food caching in the Blandford’s fox (Vulpus cana).  Anyhow although scatter caching seems more common than larder caching (or larder hoarding) both behaviours have been observed in Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes).

The infanticidal fox Confirmed cases of infanticide among foxes are comparatively rare with the majority coming from studies on fur-farmed silver foxes (a dark morph of the Red fox). In an abstract to the journal Applied Animal Behavioural Science during 1987 Agricultural University of Norway researcher Bjarne Braastad described tail-biting and infanticide in captive silver foxes. Braastad observed 12 foxes from two days before parturition until around one week after and attributed ten deaths from five litters to infanticide. Braastad wrote that infanticide: It is certainly true that people co-exist with large carnivores elsewhere in the world but having lived in such a predator-free landscape for so long this is a mentality that many Britons need to learn. Managing predators is arguably more about managing people’s attitudes than the animals themselves and as Latvian ecologist Zanete Andersone-Lilley told the Tooth and Claw project: “People are alienated from nature they don’t see themselves as part of it anymore hence it is regarded as dangerous something to be controlled.” Obviously this is a broad generalisation and there are a great many people who are still very much in tune with Nature but the point remains that humans as a species have lost many of the important bonds they once shared with the natural world and this presents a barrier to any introduction of predators to the public landscape. So if neither wolves nor bears nor lynx are likely to be beneficial in controlling urban foxes are there any large carnivorans that might? There is one but it was never native to Britain. Most carnivorous species are known to "Surplus Kill" including Leopards and Hyenas Leopards will often cache kill remains in trees while Hyenas may hide food remains underwater. So we’ve seen that although foxes are subject to some direct predation in Britain it is unlikely to be a significant factor in regulating their populations especially in urban environments. Thus is there a need for other large predators to step in and take up the challenge? In conclusion although foxes scatter cache with greatest frequency larder caching has been observed. Scatter caching appears to serve as a method for regulating losses of hoarded food to robbers making any losses more regular and uniform. Where larder hoarding is observed it appears to be a flexible behavioural response to a superabundance of available prey. (Back to Menu) Q: Are Foxes Colour-blind? Mike Chiarivia Bleacher ReportNate Robinson Has No Chill 😱Nate really got into a scuffle with the whole other team FS1 @FS1Nate Robinson ain't playing y'all /OoZYSOtzPO "never mind Let's get something to eat and we'll try again tomorrow." The aforementioned data were of course collected more than three decades ago and nobody is suggesting that foxes never inhabit highly disturbed areas (it’s clear that they can tolerate very high levels of disturbance). It is nonetheless noticeable that even foxes living in the heart of our major cities tend to be found resting in less disturbed gardens and areas of parkland during the daytime and some experts still consider the level of disturbance to be a key limiting factor. Indeed as recently as 2010 in their review of urban foxes published in the Urban Carnivores compendium the Bristol biologists wrote: Gianni Verschuerenvia Bleacher ReportWatch Laku & Hazard Smash 💥Belgium power through to last 16 with 5-2 win over Tunisia The "Visible" portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum -- sandwiched between the UV and Infra-Red -- represents the wavelengths of light that the human eye can detect Values are in nanometres (nm) or one thousand-millionth of a metre - ergo 400nm is cm. Rudy went off after one hell of a boot to the face.B/R Football @brfootballMood /juugaMJhFPGermany Are in Big TroubleReigning champions face elimination as Sweden take 1-0 lead (🎥 US Only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerUh oh Germany Sweden take the 1-0 lead! /9QgclmDa8YWatch Mexico Take Charge of Group FVela and Chicharito sunk. So predators can influence the distribution and numbers of other predators either through direct predation or competitive displacement or a combination. "my grandfather who was a farmer in Sussex often berated fox lovers citing an instance of his farm cats being dragged screaming down the road by a fox which killed it despite being chased - in daylight." We obviously cannot draw any firm conclusions on the above without knowing all the facts but if foxes do view cats as potential competitors this competition would conceivably be greater in rural locations; here foxes feed more heavily on rodents birds and rabbits all of which are also on a cat's menu whether additional food is provided for them. “Where numbers ran short [caused by hunting and a mange epidemic] foxes were bought and released (such ‘bagged’ foxes sold for 10 shillings [50p] at the Leadenhall Market [in London] in 1845) and included a brisk trade in imports from the Continent.” In conclusion we can say that foxes are part of Britain’s native fauna although rabbits are not. The Normans introduced rabbits to Britain and ‘re-stocked’ foxes when their numbers declined dramatically during the mid-to-late 1800s. (Back. “… the sudden emergence of canine parvovirus in the domestic dog population may have involved the interspecies transmission between wild and domestic carnivores.” Thus foxes can contract parvo from domestic dogs and dogs can invariably catch parvo from foxes – especially when we consider that many dogs display a penchant for rolling in. A: The short answer to this is: probably not! First a little background. At school you were probably taught about something called the Electromagnetic Spectrum (or EMS) which represents the complete range of electromagnetic radiation from the longest radio waves to the shortest cosmic waves. We call this range the “Electromagnetic Spectrum” because it is composed of electromagnetic radiation. We need not concern ourselves with what electromagnetic radiation actually is -- although it is basically radiation consisting of an electric and magnetic field that are at right-angles to each other and the direction in which they’re travelling -- but we should be aware that we can only see a small percentage of it. The wavelengths of light that we can see fall into the category of “Visible Light”. Predation Hypothesis (PH): This hypothesis suggests that animals engage in infanticide purely for nutritional gain (i.e. to obtain food) and predicts accordingly that the killed youngster will be eaten (i.e.  predicts cannibalism); infanticide should thus be more common when conditions are bad and food is scarce. Much of the infanticide documented in chimpanzees and rodents (including squirrels and mice) seems to fit quite nicely within this category – in rodents cannibalism is most often observed when the female is lactating (and is thus in dire need of energy). Adoption Avoidance Hypothesis (AAH): This theory suggests that infanticide evolved to prevent alloparental behaviour – in other words to prevent adults taking over (or playing a significant role in) the raising of kids that aren't their own (literally adopting someone else's kid). Alloparental behaviour can include animals other than the mother or father (although usually related) suckling playing with and guarding young in their social group. Alloparental behaviour is fairly widespread and common among social mammals although there is quite a body of evidence from the pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) suggesting that pups are killed when they get separated from their mothers and try to suckle from another female on. “… the foxes of Copenhagen have received increasing media attention with articles about fearless foxes entering gardens and houses.” “The fox did not attack the baby and made no attempt to bite it; at worse it was slightly too inquisitive.” The title of Professor Harris’ article “Foxes pose no threat in cities” summed up his opinion (and remains the opinion of many fox biologists) on the matter. In the case from Essex the explanation is highly elusive as we know neither the relationship of the adult to the cub nor the behaviour of the two prior to the cub being caught. We do however know that the adult didn’t consume -- and given that it didn’t appear to get scared away from the carcass presumably had no intention of consuming -- the cub. Thus all we can say for certain is that the PH doesn’t appear to fit When considering the other hypotheses as explanations we can be reasonably confident that the AAH doesn’t fit. On the contrary alloparental behaviour is well known in foxes and not only do the cubs often arouse considerable interest among barren vixens in the group but the dominance statuses within the group may change when cubs are born lasting until they’re weaned. In his study of the Boar Hill foxes Macdonald wrote: Even if public opinion could be successfully won and a reintroduction started it is difficult to predict how successful they will be. There are very few truly wild places left in the and it is unclear whether the level of disturbance across the rest of the country would lead to predators becoming restricted to these remote areas thereby effectively negating their desired impact. This seems particularly applicable to predators such as wolves and lynx which tend to avoid human contact unless habituated. Sexual Selection Hypothesis (SSH): This is perhaps the most off-cited explanation for infanticide (and is commonly featured in wildlife documentaries). The SSH argues that a male will kill the dependent offspring of a female for two reasons: to prevent him providing for offspring that aren’t his own and/or to bring a female back into oestrous so he can mate with her. Mammals generally don't ovulate while they're lactating so if a male kills a female's young she stops lactating and is able to become pregnant again. Perhaps the best example of this is found in lions and according to research by Craig Packer and Anne Pusey at the University of Minnesota's Lion Research Center killing existing cubs allows a male to sire cubs up to eight months sooner than if the cubs were spared. “[Foxes] became more familiar animals to the human residents of the [Hampstead Heath] district from the early 1930s onwards…” So if foxes weren’t driven into towns and cities in search of food how else might they have made the transition? In some cases it may not have been the foxes that made the first move; we may have come to the foxes rather than the other way around. (Photo: Contrary to popular misconception foxes didn't start living in cities because they were starving and the recent introduction of wheelie bins hasn't caused them to starve. That said the practice in some areas of leaving bin bags out and fortnightly refuse collections may have benefitted foxes). Macdonald went on to describe how stalking with infrared binoculars in Oxford allowed them to watch fox-cat interactions on many occasions; most cases involved the two ignoring each other but where conflict was seen the fox was apparently the more nervous of the two. A similar position was taken by Stephen Harris and Phil Baker in their 2001 book Urban Foxes in which they noted how foxes must meet many cats on their nightly forays and in the Fox booklet Harris wrote: “As for cats – well I have witnessed many encounters between foxes and cats. The cats win every time since the foxes are reluctant to risk injury when faced with such a powerful foe.” " it is almost paradoxical that with intermediate removal structures aimed at decreasing the red fox population and with a moderate to high intensity of predator removal the red fox population remained stable or increased while the stone marten population decreased and the badger population dropped significantly (or even disappeared)." The suggestion from the mathematical model is that where multiple predator removal happens simultaneously foxes can increase to take advantage of the niches left by the other carnivores. In other words fewer martens and badgers in the area means more food that the foxes can get at and this allows the fox population to increase even in the face of culling We are able to see the world around us because our eyes pick up visible light reflected by objects in our surroundings; the colours we see are dependant on the wavelength of the reflected light. The stationary organizer on my desk for example appears red because it absorbs all colours of visible light except red which it reflects.  Light bounces back from objects and enters our eye through the pupil striking the light-sensitive membrane at the back of our eye called the retina. In fact during development of the embryo part of the neural tube -- which goes on to develop into the central nervous system -- forms an outcropping which extends and develops into the retina – the retina is consequently considered part of. Q: You say on your fox page that Red foxes tend to scatter cache un-eaten food. The word “tend” implies that this isn’t always the case. Are there exceptions to the scatter cache rule and if so what are the benefits of scatter caching? I am keen to emphasise that this is not a case of ‘special pleading’ on behalf of the fox and I am not suggesting that foxes are blameless. I am simply keen that our opinions and actions are based on a rational and balanced appraisal of all the evidence Fox attacks on People Outside of the especially in parts of Europe India and America where foxes are a vector for rabies attacks are reasonably well known but far from commonplace. In Britain they are even more infrequently reported and until recently received little widespread media attention. Timothy Rappvia Bleacher ReportTrendingGermany's in Big Trouble 😳Reigning champions face elimination as Sweden take 1-0 lead (🎥 US Only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerUh oh Germany Sweden take the 1-0 lead! /9QgclmDa8YGermany's Mood Right Now 💀Rudy went off after one hell of a kick to. According to Derek Yalden’s fascinating book The History of British Mammals post-glacial remains of the Red fox have been found at several s around Britain and suggest that this species re-appeared naturally around 10,000 years ago as the ice of the Devensian Glaciation (70,000 to 10,000 BP) retreated. Perhaps the best examples of post-glacial fox remains in the are at Gough’s Cave in Somerset where Red fox remains have been found together with the remains of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). Indeed even if one were to approach the question from a purely literary perspective foxes are mentioned in the Catholic texts of Bede and Alucin both of which pre-date the arrival of the Normans.  I’m told that the Alucin actually admonished boys for spending their time digging foxes out of holes rather than praying! Another theory is that by rubbing themselves in the scent of some other creature they can mask their own scent and thus are less likely to be detected by a potential prey item should they venture downwind of it. This makes sense; deer likely run when they catch the scent of a wolf but probably ignore foxes unless there are calves/fawns around. At any rate the jury is still out as to the precise reason for this particular behaviour and the motive is probably associated with the specific odiferous substance and the relish with which the dog ‘applies’ it. (Back.

The effectiveness of urban fox control In January 2002 Bristol City Council produced an advisory booklet entitled Living with Urban Foxes in which they summed up succinctly why they don’t operate a fox control service: “Controlling urban foxes is difficult expensive and never successful.” Britain has relatively few large predators (here a Golden eagle feeds on the carcass of a fox) and our opinions of their behaviour -- and thus how tolerant we are of them -- is often dependent upon how much their chosen prey means to us Image from Tooth and Claw - used with permission. In conclusion where anti-predator defence mechanisms have been lost (either through domestication enclosure or adverse weather conditions) prey animals are susceptible to significantly higher than normal mortality at the hands of a predator.  It seems the presence of abundant prey that fail to flee causes an over-stimulation of the predator’s killing mechanism. In this regard the act of surplus killing seems to be a very unfortunate natural response to an artificial or stochastic situation. The evolution of caching behaviour by predators goes some way to reducing the ‘waste’ otherwise generated by killing to surfeit although caching is not infallible and caching invariably cannot utilise all surplus food.  However even if a cache isn't found by its owner -- or by another animal -- there is an army of microorganisms that will clean-up after a caching fox. (Back. Finally work has been done in Australia -- where foxes were introduced during the 1870s and have since become a significant predator of the country’s native wildlife -- on the possibility of sterilizing foxes to reduce their populations. The premise is simple: sterilized foxes defend the same territories as fertile ones (thereby preventing immigration) but cannot breed and thus a vital source for the population is cut-off. Indeed fertility control (and especially a method known as immunocontraception) has shown promise as an alternative to lethal control and as such has been advocated on welfare grounds. Unfortunately owing to various technical issues -- including the number of animals that would need sterilizing in order for the scheme to work and that individuals would need multiple treatments -- have resulted in Australia abandoning research on immunocontraception. Son pulls one back for South Korea! Is there enough time left for an equalizer?? /yt03TdqvJaChicharito Leads Mexico to Victory 🙌Little Pea's 50th international goal helps El Tri to 2-1 win over South Korea (🎥US only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerCHICHARITO GETS HIS GOAL! /i6ougYi1Sc | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo realevia | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo realeMan Utd's Juan Mata Heading to Barcelona?From B/R's Dean JonesDean Jones @DeanJonesBRHearing that some progress is being made in a potential deal for Juan Mata to join Barcelona this summer There can be no argument that foxes are capable of killing cats and in some instances they do; such incidents however are not common and are not considered a significant source of domestic cat mortality. In his entertaining and well-written account of urban foxes published in the October 1985 issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine David Macdonald pointed out: “… both species are numerous in towns and active nightly in the same gardens where they meet continually. If foxes in general were a serious threat to cats the losses would. “The planned future construction of large numbers of high-density housing units with small gardens in Britain is therefore likely to be unfavourable. The most recent estimates from Britain suggest that even by the mid-2000s Bristol’s urban fox population was only about 30% of the pre-mange densities but the dramatic decline in fox numbers had a profound influence on the movement and behaviour of the survivors. Indeed in their 2001 book Urban Foxes Stephen Harris and Phil Baker point out that: “…with all these changes therefore it is simply impossible to estimate just how many urban foxes. “Sharks lack a moral code which is a necessary prerequi for choosing to behave in a manner that could be called ‘evil’. Sharks simply do what they do without ill will or premeditation and thus cannot be labelled ‘malicious’.” Although the above statement refers to sharks it does well for foxes (or any other predator). In fact the only animal to which it does not apply is a human! Humans have a moral code -- that is a set of often-complex statements of right and wrong -- and under most circumstances an ethical code - predators do not. With this in mind it seems rather unhelpful to judge predators by our own cultural values. It is often suggested that one advantage of philopatry (living with your folks) for young vixens is that it allows them to gain experience of raising cubs by watching and helping their parents. If this is accurate it follows that that primiparous vixens are potentially more likely to lose their first litter through inexperience than multiparous animals. Inexperience can take many forms but includes being too rough with the cubs and could potentially explain the crushing of the skulls soon after birth if the vixen is overzealous. Contrary to popular misconception foxes in urban areas don't live off food obtained from bin bags Even in in city centres they are predators and will take wild amphibians birds and mammals Here a fox leaves a garden having caught. “Whether or not an imprinted cub can be released depends on exactly how imprinted it is. If it is passed on to us when it is under 6 months or so old then it will almost certainly revert once mixed with other wild cubs but when we get them at for example 12-18 months old which is not uncommon it is virtually impossible to get them back into the wild and then they do have to spend the rest of their lives in captivity (or the alternative is euthanasia).” Frisky dingo One final species to cover very briefly are the Australian wild dogs known as the dingoes (Canis lupus dingo). Research by Chris Johnson and Jeremy VanDerWal at the James Cook University in Queensland has shown that dingoes can suppress fox populations in certain non-complex habitats. In a 2009 paper to the Journal of Applied Ecology the zoologists present a re-evaluation of data from eastern Australia’s forested habitats that suggest a triangular relationship between foxes and dingoes – in other words where dingoes are abundant you rarely find foxes while foxes are often (but not always) abundant when wild dogs are scarce or absent. The researchers conclude that: “…the abundance of wild dogs sets and upper limit on the abundance of foxes but does not fully determine fox abundance.” It should be noted that as with wolves lynx often make no attempt to consume the foxes they kill. In a 1999 paper to the journal Ecography Danish zoologist Peter Sunde and two colleagues report that almost 40% of lynx-killed fox carcasses in their study were totally uneaten whereas only 2% of the Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) carcasses hadn’t been touched. Sunde and his co-workers concluded that lynx killed the foxes because they saw them as competitors rather than as a potential meal. Brother bear Despite some archaeological evidence for Brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Britain to the Middle Ages according to Yalden’s 1999 opus evidence of their survival post-Roman times is negligible. Yalden suggests that it is prudent to assume pending evidence to the contrary that this species died out some 2000 years ago during the Roman occupation. There are much later records from Elizabethan times but these were almost certainly of animals imported for entertainment (i.e bear baiting) purposes. So has this changed my perception of foxes? Do I have a compelling urge to don a red coat and join the group affectionately referred to by The Guardian as the “Tally-Ho Brigade”? No not at all. As a rational person I see that the fox was only doing what it has evolved to do: feed itself and its family. However painful the situation was for Flick and our family (both emotionally and physically – I have the scars and rashes on my hands arms shoulders and face to prove I’ve ‘been there done that’!) I don’t blame the fox one bit. I will concede that I was gob-smacked that this attack happened at in the afternoon -- the irony of it being lunchtime is not completely lost on me -- during broad daylight when I had hitherto considered foxes nocturnal or crepuscular (i.e. dawn and dusk) predators. However you learn something new everyday. Intriguingly none of my family blames the fox either and I find this almost as refreshing as those people who suffer terrible mutilation at the jaws of a shark and then campaign for the protection of these magnificent fish. Getting scratched and stung whilst attempting to rescue a small duck from the dinner table of a fox is one thing but being hauled from the water by a lifeguard and waking up in the hospital missing an appendage must be harrowing. Moreover for these people to maintain the opinion that ‘well the shark was just doing what it supposed to be doing and our two worlds just kinda collided!’ is a type of clarity and fortitude that I could only hope to possess. (Back to Menu) Q: Why shouldn’t I feed foxes (and dogs in general) chocolate? I have heard people say that they’d be happy if all the urban foxes ‘went back to the countryside where they belong’. An important point to remember however is that our towns and cities were the countryside that foxes were in before we built upon the land. Indeed several authors have suggested that urban fox populations have arisen simply because as humans built on Greenfield s these animals unlike a considerable number of other mammal species didn’t move away; instead they adapted to their new surroundings and thrived. Martin Hemmington provided a potent example of this in his fascinating 1997 book Foxwatching: In the shadow of the fox in which he recounted the story of a fox earth he had been studying. The earth was situated in a country setting nestled in a hedge under some trees and Hemmington described the changes he witnessed: I have read many articles recently in which people have said foxes need to be controlled because their numbers are growing out of control and they have no predators. It is certainly true that there are none of the large Carnivora in the (although it is arguable how much of an impact predators have on fox numbers) but this doesn’t mean that fox numbers aren’t subject to control. “It seems there has been a long-term upward trend for this species which has stabilized in the last. Famed tattoo artist Steve Butcher did this @TheNotoriousMMA tattoo yesterday says it took him 12 hours /QXZwdHntnUOk Melo ‼️Bleacher Report @BleacherReportIt's like that @MELOD1P? 👀 /6zWLuSZPGh “It started about midnight we heard like a crying noise but could not see anything in the garden we thought it might have been the badger.  So we turned our bathroom light on and could see the fox in the middle of the garden laying down looking at the corner near the house we watched for a little while because we could still hear crying then the fox got up and walked away. About five minutes later we heard it call and then we saw a struggle the cub was trying to get away but the fox had it by the neck then we heard the crunch sound and the cub went limp.  The fox then dragged it up the end of the garden looked around and left it. When we went in the garden in the morning the cub was still there no blood its neck had just been broken.” This brings us nicely to the first point about the reintroduction of large predators: we cannot control what they decide to eat and in the event that they begin taking livestock or pets there would be an outcry.  The taking of livestock and in the very worse-case scenarios the attacking of people has a habit of generating public fear and mistrust that even the most reasoned argument will struggle to combat. However rational a given person may be about the situation humans are by nature a social species and public opinion can readily gain momentum – just look at the hyperbole about urban foxes recently. I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes of all time as delivered by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Men in Black which goes: “A person is smart. People are dumb panicky dangerous animals…” Similarly surplus killing can only really be considered a waste of energy for a predator if they expend more energy killing prey individuals in a single ‘hit’ than they would killing the same number individuals over a prolonged period of time. Ergo if a fox expends X calories killing 20 chickens in a coop this act only represents a waste of energy if the same fox were to expend less than X cal killing one chicken per night over say 20 nights. The exception to this idea is if the fox is in someway prevented from eating its kills. If the fox is discovered before it can move all the chickens or it’s cache of chickens is raided by another animal then the energy expended by the fox to kill the chickens provides no benefit to the fox’s direct fitness and the surplus killing event could then be considered a waste of the fox’s energy. Vg Nettvia VG NettFrance's Subs Win 11-0 😳Non-starters took on Spartak U19 in a 1-hour gameEquipe de France @equipedefrancePour conserver le rythme les joueurs qui n'étaient pas titulaires contre le Pérou ont affronté les U19 du Spartak Moscou (2 x 30 mins) Les Bleus se sont imposés (11-0) ⚽⚽⚽ Dembélé ⚽⚽⚽ Thauvin ⚽⚽ Fekir ⚽⚽ Lemar ⚽ Mendy /t33kDmkpRL When it comes to assessing the evidence whether it be scientific or otherwise we must be mindful that we can only observe a fox for a fraction of its time (often using radio-tracking which only tells us about the animal’s movements and generally nothing about what it’s doing at the time) and over a fraction of its range. Moreover each fox is an individual: some are bold some shy some reclusive some tenacious. We must thus be careful when generalizing; applying what we observe in one population or even individual to all populations may over- or underestimate the risk. Naturalist and writer Brian Vezey-Fitzgerald summed it up nicely in his 1942 book A Country Chronicle in which he wrote: “Dogmatism in any branch of natural history is not only foolish it is. World Cup Meet Marco ReusB/R Football @brfootballMarco Reus When it matters 🔥 From B/R x @pumafootball /n5RDLaNtPVReus Gets the Crucial EqualiserDortmund wizard's first-ever World Cup goal (🎥 US Only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerMarco Reus gets the equalizer for Germany! Game on /ToG82iXd4A In short culling can be effective at reducing and suppressing fox numbers but there are many factors to take into consideration and it is not a simple case of going out and shooting a few foxes to keep the population under control. The capacity of culling to reduce rural fox populations is well known but it remains to be seen how well it would work in urban settings and whether the economics would make it a viable option especially given the widely divisive issue of foxes and their control. This legislation also covers the mutilation of animals causing animals to fight and even tail-docking of dogs. In addition to fines (up to £20,000) and prison sentences (up to one year) Section 35 of the Act states that any person convicted under the legislation can be disqualified from owning keeping or participating in the keeping of animals. The Protection of Animals Act and Animal Welfare Act work in conjunction with a third law the Abandonment of Animals Act which we shall look at in a moment. There are incidentally some data from Canada suggesting that the lynx-to-fox ratio is an important factor regulating any population changes. It appears that a decline in foxes becomes more likely as the ratio of lynx to foxes approaches one (i.e. an equal number of both species). Fox depredation may also be influenced by season (presumably with underlying prey cycle influences) and in a study of lynx prey in northern Belarus during warm (April-October) and cold (November-December) seasons Vadim Sidorovich found that foxes appeared in the diet more than twice as often in warm seasons than in cold (4.7% vs. 2 % respectively). Why the fox wandered around the house might be alluded to by Mr Koupparis’ comment in the documentary that the fox “sat at the top of the stairs like a family pet”. I have seen many videos showing foxes being enticed into houses by people offering food and readers have sent me photos of foxes lying by their fireplace or standing in their kitchen waiting for food. I have equally seen people strike up that ‘special relationship’ in which the fox feels secure enough to take food from their hand and people who have awoken to find a fox asleep on their bed. It seems that some people see urban foxes as a ‘free pet’ forgetting that they are actually wild predators. The maternal infanticide observed by Braastad Bakken and Macdonald implies a non-adaptive behaviour – these foxes were kept in enclosures and supplied with food and water (and so presumably weren’t in need of food) and the death of the cubs appeared to have little impact on the mother with the exception (in the case of the Oxford vixen) of calming her. The burying of the dead cubs by the farmed vixens does suggest that it was seen as food but it doesn’t seem that hunger was the motivation behind the initial killing. Interestingly in many cases of infanticide especially in lions consumption of the body is rare and where it does occur it rarely appears to be a result of hunger. The act of hunting can generally be broken down into a series of discrete events: Searching; Detection; Approach; Stalking; Chasing; Capture; and Kill. I use the term “generally” because any given hunt may not involve all of these and the sequence of events referred to as “hunting” varies greatly depending on the circumstances. Indeed according to Hans Kru Professor of Zoology at Aberdeen University hunting depends on both prey and environment coupled with the predator’s own motivation and hunger. If prey is easily available (i.e.  none of the risks associated with the chase and capture are present) then a predator doesn’t need to be hungry to readily take the quarry. This scenario -- where a predator kills without the motivation of hunger or kills more than is necessary to sate its hunger -- is referred to as Surplus Killing. In the end while you may not be in breach of any laws -- and I should point out that the above applies only to the and the situation is different elsewhere in the world so please check with your local authority -- I would urge you to think very carefully before you attempt to take on a fox as a pet. Perhaps arrange a visit to your local wildlife rescue centre which will be able to provide a first-hand account of what it’s like raising a fox. Similarly should you come across a fox in need of your help the advice would always be to take it to your local wildlife centre – if you want to offer your help and support consider donating something towards its upkeep or sponsoring its rehabilitation. Please remember that caring for any animal is a serious commitment and should not be undertaken lightly.  (Back. In addition to the published accounts I have received several e-mails from readers describing cases of foxes killing other foxes and one in particular from a couple living in south Essex that clearly described infanticide. A portion of the e-mail is reproduced here with their permission: Keep the chocolate for yourself and dog biscuits for man's best friend! Sportlaku Levels Ronaldo 🙌Belgium striker joins CR7 on 4 World Cup goals Laku Is on a Roll 🔥Man Utd striker can't stop scoring “The relationship between the wolf and the fox seems to be one of mutual gain.” Indeed it seems that wolf kills may represent an important food source for foxes especially during the winter when their regular prey is scarce; there are reports of foxes following wolf tracks in search of a potential meal. In a 1970 paper to the American Midland Naturalist University of Wisconsin ecologist Wendel Johnson reported that moose remains were most common in the winter scats of foxes living in the Isle Royale National Park and that the meat was probably scavenged from wolf kills. In the paper Johnson wrote: “Foxes visit nearly all the carcasses left by wolves and were often seen feeding on these while wolves were still in. The Details: Monitoring animal populations especially species that tend to be nocturnal and rather secretive is a difficult task and until relatively recently there had been no attempt to census fox populations at the national level. So what’s the problem with counting foxes? Many of us see them everyday and in some cases they have become so accustomed to human presence that even in relatively busy locations they can be seen out during the daytime. Surely simply counting them shouldn’t be too much of a challenge? Well as the former M.A.F.F biologist H Gwyn Lloyd pointed out in his 1980 book The Red Fox it’s actually more difficult than it may first appear because fox: The good the bad and the ugly Foxes are predators and therefore catch kill and eat other animals to survive. Being carnivores they are subject to associated behavioural traits that sometimes get them into trouble – they don’t respect human property or pets and they sometimes get over-stimulated when surrounded by prey that doesn’t (cannot) run away causing their predatory instincts to go into over-drive and they kill for example all the hens in the coop. Such behaviour gets them a bad reputation as blood-thirsty maniacs when in fact they are no more ‘malicious’ than any predator. With this in mind though are there any benefits to having foxes in your neighbourhood? "at present there is no single proven reliable method for monitoring changes in the absolute density of either foxes or badgers on a national scale " and " indirect methods [field signs such as scat and den counts] can only be used to measure relative changes in animal density in the same region. Following the retreat of ice from the last ice age (the oddly-named “Late Glacial”) some 15,000 years ago many of the larger mammal species began to re-appear or extend their range northwards. Among these mammals were the wolf (Canis lupis) Brown bear (Ursus arctos) Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and contrary to popular misconception the Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). It was originally believed that the mammoth didn’t return to Britain after the maximum of (height of) the last glaciation.  However the remains of four specimens (one adult and three juveniles) found in a kettle-hole (a pit full of sticky grey sandy clay) in Shropshire have been radiocarbon-dated to 12,800 BP. Infanticide appears to be a complex behaviour and there is no single theory that appears applicable to all cases although most cases can be explained by one or more of the five main presiding theories. I don’t wish to get too wrapped up in the details of these theories and so I shall only provide an overview of each here before we look at where. Q: Why does my dog seem to have a penchant for rolling in fox’s dung? In 2001 a team of biologists at the University of Zurich in Switzerland led by Sandra Gloor proposed two hypothetical explanations for the presence of foxes in built-up areas: the Population Pressure Hypothesis (PPH) and the Urban Island Hypothesis (UIH). Basically Gloor and her colleagues suggested that urban foxes were either intruders forced out of adjacent rural areas by the high population density (the PPH) or that they can breed in and colonize human settlements because they have adapted to the conditions of the urban habitat (the UIH). In other words the PPH states that urban environments are suboptimal habitats for foxes -- that is foxes live there because they have to not because they want to -- while the UIH predicts. Dingoes are known to enter urban areas at night and so could potentially have an impact on urban fox numbers (although the data are lacking) but as with coyotes they have never been native to Britain which would severely complicate any introductions Predators on the doorstep To the exclusion of the mysterious ‘big cats’ that have been reported from various parts of the country Britain’s landscape has been free of large carnivorans since the extirpation of the wolf and despite many campaigns there have been no reintroductions. There are many reasons why reintroductions have not happened and a significant barrier is public perception of what many see as potentially dangerous animals. A big problem for Vale and many other rescue centres is that foxes taken in as cubs and raised to adulthood as pets often become imprinted.  Imprinting as Arizona State University’s John Alcock describes it in his 2005 book Animal Behavior is the process by which: “a young animal’s early social interactions usually with its parents lead to its learning such things as what constitutes an appropriate sexual partner”. Imprinting which is now often lumped together with what behaviourists refer to as “associative learning” (despite the latter generally involving a reward) was first described by ethologist Konrad Lorenz. In his 1952 book King Solomon’s Ring Lorenz described how he was able to imprint himself on greylag goslings (Anser anser) such that they followed him everywhere thinking that he was their parent. Collin Sexton Doesn't Play 😳Harry Lyles Jr cheering for Nigeria 🇳🇬 @harrylylesjrthis is the only reason you need collin sexton on your basketball team /z1SmWA8k5nIceland's Clap Still UnbeatenFOX Sports @FOXSportsIt's just so cool VIKING 👏 /V68KuQ92hB Reutersvia the GuardianIt's a Multicultural Party in Moscow 🎉'Like no Moscow I've ever known in years of living here'Shaun Walker @shaunwalker7There are different groups at different points down the street singing and drinking Some Brazilians had setup a makeshift beer stand My favourite were the Panamanians I think /pQFgsOTVIS So do foxes enjoy killing? Yes they probably do - they have evolved to kill to feed themselves and their families and a conscience or dislike of doing so would hamper their surival. However does enjoying the hunt make them "wicked"? Quite simply no. So far as anyone has been able to tell predators are indifferent even apathetic to the lives or “feelings” of their prey in the same way that their prey is indifferent to the lives and feelings of their predators! Predators just do what they do. The adjectives “malicious” and “evil” are often used when referring to the predatory behaviour of foxes (and indeed many predators). I think that Aidan Martin sums up this debate quite nicely on his ReefQuest  Aidan writes: “Normally I could not distinguish the behaviour of non-breeding vixens towards cubs from that of the real mother…” We have seen that most cases of infanticide in this species can probably be explained by the RCH PH or can be considered non-adaptive behaviour. This raises the question of whether the SSH can be applied to. Timothy Rappvia Bleacher ReportMata in as Iniesta ReplacementDean Jones @DeanJonesBRWith Griezmann deciding against a move and the end of Iniesta I'm told a move for Mata has emerged as one of their top options In a paper to the Journal of Applied Ecology during 1981 Stephen Harris estimated the number of foxes in Bristol city and assessed some of the factors affecting their distribution. Harris collated 4,894 records of stray dogs (3,012) and cats (1,882) from Bristol Dogs Home mapped them against records of fox presence and found that the concentration of stray dogs (but not cats) explained fox distribution in parts of the city. Harris wrote: “This study suggests that a major factor affecting the distribution of foxes in Bristol is the presence in certain areas of large numbers of. "a person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice." The Act considers "an animal's needs" to include: - its need for a suitable environment - its need for a suitable diet - its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns - any need it has to be housed with or apart from other animals - its need to be protected from pain suffering injury and disease In February 2005 the Daily Telegraph carried the headline “Hungry foxes start eating the nation’s cats” and in the accompanying article told how fox attacks on cats were on the increase and quoted a pest controller near Edinburgh who explained that the fox population has gotten out of hand because the introduction of wheelie bins has deprived foxes of their regular food supply. As we have discussed already there is no evidence of this so if the number of fox attacks on cats has increased (or is increasing) it seems the reason lies elsewhere. In dogs methylxanthines are absorbed by the intestines after which they are carried -- via the hepatic portal vein -- to the liver. Some of the methylxanthines are successfully excreted by the liver but many make it into the inferior vena cava (the vessel that takes the blood into the right-hand side of the heart) where it travels through the pulmonary (lung) circulation and into the main circulatory system. The situation is compounded by the fact that some of the methylxanthine by-products excreted by the liver into the bile ducts can be converted back into methylxanthines and reabsorbed by the small intestine.  Ultimately this means that dogs cannot effectively breakdown and excrete theobromine. Thus in conclusion we can say that foxes -- and dogs in general -- are not colour blind; they possess dichromatic vision that effectively makes them red-green colour blind. The lack of a fovea in canines also implies that humans are able to discern details twice as well as dogs. However dogs do have a significantly better ability to discriminate between shades of grey than humans coupled with a capacity to detect movement and see objects in conditions of dim light (thanks to a reflective tapetum) that’s superior to ours. (Back to Menu) Q: I have taken in an injured fox cub and would like to keep it as a pet – is this illegal? Q: Why do foxes kill their own young and the young of. “Being in and caring for nature can be health promoting for individuals families communities ecosystems and the planet.” This is something that has been trialled in hospitals by placing recovering patients in rooms facing gardens and playing bird song. More recently the NHS in Cornwall has been taking people suffering from mental health problems (i.e depression and anger management issues) to Watergate Bay in Newquay and proving them with surfing lessons in a bid to improve their outlook and temperament. Q: On the BBC's Hunting TalkingPoint one participant said: "The fox is not 'our [Britain's] natural wildlife' it was introduced from France for the sport of the Normans and to help keep down the rabbits they had previously introduced here (another non-native species) and which had got out of control". Is this true? A: Conventionally species “native” to a given country are regarded as those that have arrived since the last ice age without human assistance. Such species are also often referred to as being indigenous.  The last ice age to grip Britain ended some 15,000 years ago and pre-glacial Britain had both rabbits and foxes. As with many apparently off-the-cuff proclamations about foxes the one given on the TalkingPoint has elements of truth buried in an otherwise rather inaccurate statement. Little Pea's 50th international goal has El Tri cruising into last 16 (🎥US only tap to view)FOX Soccer @FOXSoccerCHICHARITO GETS HIS GOAL! /i6ougYi1ScMexico Fans Are Too Lit 🤣Bleacher Report @BleacherReportMexico fans were so excited for today's game Rafa Marquez had to go outside the hotel and quiet them down so the team could sleep 😂 (via @miseleccionmx) /rHdqfYDy5V Observations on the activity patterns of canids do suggest that they are “visual generalists” able to work in conditions of various light intensities. For example I’ve just returned from walking our dog – the weather is bright and sunny and she chased anything that moved as we meandered around the forest. Similarly anyone who has taken their dog out at dusk or at night can vouch for the fact that while they may not be able to see the path they’re walking on their dog is off investigating the undergrowth. Observations of fox movements suggest that they are able to cope with a wide variety of light conditions; foxes are active during dawn daytime dusk and throughout. “…it is probable that during the inter-war years the piecemeal development of many cities engulfing tracts of rural land which were only later developed gradually forced the foxes to live in closer contact. Q: Foxes are well known to kill more than they can eat at the time. This behaviour often leads to foxes being branded “malicious” or “evil” and merely the word “fox” is enough to bring out negative emotions in many livestock owners. Why do foxes kill to excess when such activity seems to represent a waste of energy and resources for a wild animal? “… every year we have to take in at least one cub that has been hand-reared and then discarded when it gets older and starts to smell or becomes aggressive.” Indeed on their web Vale Wildlife Rescue has short profiles of several foxes that have been taken in after apparently being kept as pets before being dumped. Seven-year-old dog fox “Bart” for example (photo left) was taken in by the centre after being found wandering in Birmingham’s Sutton Park wearing a collar. “The results from our study suggest that the present deficit of large carnivores over most of their former ranges may have resulted in an over-abundance of red foxes in many areas. Allowing large carnivores to re-establish may thus be an efficient way of limiting fox populations.” A third option is to use field signs and relate their frequency to the number of animals in the area – these are called population indices and are technically a form of indirect census. Population indices are among the most widely used methods of estimating animal populations although they’re not without their problems. Indeed in a 2004 paper to the journal Mammal Review Linda Sadlier and colleagues at the University of Bristol assessed the use of field signs as a method of monitoring populations of Red foxes and European badgers (Meles meles). The biologists concluded that: “At a national level fox density was not different between the two surveys. Therefore it appears that neither the Hunting Act nor sarcoptic mange have had an effect on fox populations in. “Then disaster struck. Planning permission was given for a housing estate of over one hundred and fifty houses. Soon the area of which I had grown fond was barren. The regular fox paths had been replaced with tarmac; the rabbit warren was flattened and the trees and hedges which used to conceal the earth were cut down. My countryside retreat became a concrete jungle.” Ccontrary to Hemmington’s initial fears however the foxes didn’t move away; instead they remained and thrived. He continued: “Within a very short time the householders in this area started asking why foxes which belonged in the countryside had started to invade their streets and gardens and had chosen earths under garden sheds to give birth! In fact the foxes were the original residents and the people invaded their territory.” Via Bleacher ReportLaku Wants That Golden BootThe only man who is keeping pace with RonaldoB/R Football @brfootballOn fire 🔥 /Jn1aTSCdBL Foxes undergoing their summer moult are sometimes mistaken for those suffering from mange because the infection starts from the hind quarters and spreads forward; infected foxes often have very bedraggled looking hips and tails. The Sarcoptes scabiei para (above right) is conventionally treated with Ivermectin although sulphur with arsenicum is a common homeopathic alternative.  According to an article in the BBC Wildlife Magazine during July 2001 severely infected foxes may be taken into captivity for treatment although it seems that they may return to find their territory has been taken over by another fox within a few days. For more detailed coverage please see the main Sarcoptic Mange article. (Back. A: The short answer is: No. It is as we shall see certainly not unknown for foxes to attack cats and more rarely dogs and people but none of these incidents are likely. I must say from the start that I understand and appreciate that this is a sensitive subject and that all the statistics in the world offer no consolation to someone who has lost a beloved family pet or who has been injured or whose children have been injured by a fox. I feel however that it is important to understand that the fact such events do happen does not mean that they are common occurrences. That which follows is a summary of the information currently available regarding the occurrence of fox attacks on people cats. Both species are indeed numerous with an estimated fox population of some 250,000 animals. In 2014 the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association estimated there to be around eight million domestic cats in Britain with 18% of British households playing host to a moggy which would be roughly one fox per 40 cats (Photo: This image shows a stand off between a dog fox and domestic cat in a garden in the West Midlands during February 2016 The photographer Lee Ashbourne told me "it was a bit intense for a few minutes but the cat wandered off without a care in. The Details: Recent reports in the media have raised fears that urban foxes are becoming bolder; that they no longer have any fear of people do not run from people and may actually approach. There have also been some recent suggestions in the press that foxes are unafraid of dogs and in February 2011 TV presenter Ben Fogle reputedly “rugby tackled” a fox that chased his elderly Labrador near his home in London. With these reports comes the intimation that bolder foxes are more aggressive and thus pose a danger to people. To answer this question we need to look at what boldness actually is and how it might evolve. Nonetheless decapitation and the smell of fox on the body are both strongly associated with cats killed by foxes. In his Town Fox Country Fox book Brian Vezey-Fitzgerald described two instances where one of his cats appeared to have been in a fight with a fox and in the first instance he noted how the cat smelt strongly of fox; several readers have contacted me saying much. Cells on the retina can be divided into two broad types: rods and cones. Rods are sensitive to very low levels of light but are monochromatic (i.e. don’t detect colour) which is why in conditions of very low light (i.e. dusk and at night) we see objects in greyscale.  Consequently rod cell vision is often referred to as “scoptic” or “twilight” vision. The rod cells are also used for detecting movement.  Conversely cone cells are sensitive to bright light and colour. In the human eye we recognise three different ‘types’ of cone cell separated by their colour pigment: red (peak at 570nm); green (535nm); and blue (445nm). The colours we see are determined by which combination of sensors are excited and because most humans have these three pigments the human eye can sense almost any gradient of colour when red green and blue. There are few data sets to tell us how many cats are attacked by foxes each year and there have been no recent attempts to collate records. Probably the most off-cited statistics on the subject come from Bristol University. Professor Harris surveyed an area of north-west Bristol by distributing 5,480 questionnaires asking about fox disturbance including losses of pets – 5,191 (95%) surveys were returned and from these it was estimated that there were 1,225 pet cats in the area. From the data Harris calculated that eight (less than 1%) of these pet cats most being kittens less than eight months old were thought to have been killed. Is Mo Bamba better than Giannis? @Giannis_An34 says “HELLLL no” 😂 /bNmQyotXQ8 As anyone who has ever tried giving their pet cat a worming tablet can testify to cats have a set of sharp claws and teeth that they are not afraid to engage should the need arise This probably explains why most eyewitnesses of fox-cat interactions describe the fox keeping its distance. Thus in conclusion we can say that the RCH and PH as well as certain non-adaptive hypotheses appear to explain some cases of infanticide in Red foxes. Our inability to ascribe relatedness in many cases and that we only observe a fraction of the animals’ behaviour means we cannot be certain as to the cause(s). Nonetheless the AA and SSH do not seem to fit as explanations of infanticidal behaviour in these animals. (Back to Menu) Q: Are foxes getting bolder and if. So in conclusion without regular census data it is impossible to say precisely what is happening to Britain’s Red fox population. Nonetheless the data we do have suggests that rural populations are either stable or slowly declining (and have been for almost a decade) while urban populations are probably increasing as a response to recovery from mange – it is nonetheless impossible to estimate urban numbers or trends with any accuracy while the population is in such a state of flux. (Back to Menu) Q: Is it likely that a fox will attack me my child my cat or. Mood /juugaMJhFPGiannis Keeping It Real 😂Bleacher Report @BleacherReportIs Mo Bamba better than Giannis? @Giannis_An34 says “HELLLL no” 😂 /bNmQyotXQ8Mexico Stays Perfect 💪B/R Football @brfootballMexico are on fire at the World Cup 🔥🏆 /CuJm13EjVs Q: When and how did foxes come to live in our towns and cities? A: Contrary to popular misconception (recently reported in a documentary on urban foxes) the ‘phenomenon’ of the city fox is not particularly new and foxes have been present in some of Britain’s towns and cities for at least. Where there are surfeit resources foxes and cats may be observed feeding side-by-side In this case the young black cat appeared to be living with this fox family in Surrey until its capture and re-homing in December 2005. In the long run I suppose it would’ve been sensible to let the fox take Flick. However at the time I was not thinking clearly and acted on impulse. Immediately after we lost Flick his brother (Flash) seemed distressed at the loss of his sibling and became aggressive. Since Flick’s departure we have got Flash a playmate (called Storm) and the two follow each other around like they’re chained together! Although Flash is still aggressive towards my Mum (and it seems women in general) he has improved and seems a much happier duck. We have also made some alterations to our garden now and have more control over where the ducks are allowed to wander – we have not seen sight or sound of the fox since despite hearing that a family down our street lost a rabbit recently. Some might argue that there is the added energy “expense” of caching all this prey which isn’t present if the predator killed only what it needed. This is certainly true. However although the expense of caching 20 birds is reduced -- I shy away from ‘removed’ because leftovers from a single bird may well still be cached -- there is the added outlay of returning to the coop gaining entry chasing and killing another chicken. The idea that surplus killing represents a waste of resources seems less likely when we consider that predators often bury (or cache) un-eaten food.  (Felis sp.) for example have been observed to put the remains of their meals under logs; stoats (Mustela erminea) and mink (Mustela vision) larder cache while pumas (Felis concolor) may scrape branches or leaves over a carcass presumably in a bid to conceal it. Polecats (Mustela putorius) are also known to store frogs in their dens after biting the heads to immobilize them. Still caching is not infallible -- have you ever cleaned out the kitchen cupboards or fridge and found food that has exceeded its “Best Before” date? -- and some cached food will invariably never be recovered. The presence of three colour-sensitive pigments is referred to as trichromatic vision. Humans are not the only mammals with three cone types cats as well as certain apes chimps and African monkeys also have three colour-sensitive pigments. However the presence of these pigments doesn’t necessarily mean that they see colour in the same way as humans. Although cats have three cone pigments they have slightly different peak sensitivities leading to a more pastel-coloured vision with less saturation than humans can register. Trapping foxes for dispatch is very time consuming and may require substantial public cooperation although it is widely used by pest control companies but provided the animal is subsequently shot by a competent marksman this is a humane method of removing ‘problematic’ animals It is however generally ineffective for the widespread and intensive culling required Foxes may occasionally be trapped for relocation but the territoriality discussed earlier makes it unlikely released animals fare well (and thus might be illegal under the Abandonment of Animals Act of 1960) and there is the potential to move diseases (i.e sarcoptic mange) into previously healthy populations. There was plenty of star power on display at the @SteveNashFdn's #ShowdownNY (➡️ @paniniamerica) /3SkW92QXr6 Where individuals of the same species compete for limited resources (either by fighting or simply getting to it first) we call it intraspecific competition. Q: Should we reintroduce large predators -- such as wolves lynx and bears -- to control fox numbers? Return. Assessing the culprit of an attack based on intercanine distance (shown in red) is not a simple tasks because many species have overlapping ranges. Reasons for implementing fox control We have established that urban fox control is expensive time consuming and rarely very effective but that is not to say no arguments can be made for re-starting fox control programmes. The main reason as I see it is a restoration of public faith. “Almost invariably started with tail-biting from a few hours to a couple of days port-partum. Some vixens bit off the tails gradually 1-2 cm at a time until virtually nothing was left.” It appears that infanticidal vixens often bit off the tails of all their cubs even though not all were later killed – in most cases the vixens ate the cubs they killed. Braastad also observed a tendency towards subsequent infanticide; if infanticidal vixens were allowed to breed the following year they were likely to exhibit the behaviour again. Analysis of the infanticidal vixens’ behaviour compared to that of non-infanticial individuals suggested that stress could’ve been the cause and Braastad concluded that infanticidal vixens felt more tense and insecure than ‘normal’ ones. “The fox avoids dogs rather than ignores them. I do not think there is any question of fear involved. Certainly I have seen no sign of fear.  And I think that the fox is not an easily frightened animal. Avoidance is merely an elementary precaution.” Content Updated: 7th February 2016 It has been widely reported that domestic cats are at greater risk from foxes now that wheelie bins have been introduced by many councils There are no data to suggest that healthy adult cats on the whole are particularly vulnerable to foxes nor that the introduction of wheelie bins has led to foxes starving. So infanticide works for lions but the same principles do not apply to foxes. Foxes like most mammals are spontaneous ovulators which means they have a fixed breeding season – more specifically foxes are monestrous meaning they have a single breeding season during the year.  Indeed vixens are receptive for only a few days each cycle between December and February. Consequently even by killing a vixen’s litter a dog fox could not bring her back into oestrous. To ensure he is her mate in the following season he would then need to stay with her until she comes back on heat (which depending on the age of the cubs could be eight months. Method in the madness So which of the five infanticide explanations best explain the behaviour in foxes? In truth we cannot say for certain.  Even under captive conditions where the relationships are known and the environment can be controlled behaviour is often triggered by several stimuli that are difficult if not impossible to tease apart. We can however look at how the predictions made by the infanticide hypotheses fit the cases we. Stephen Harris and Jeremy Rayner provided some statistical support for this idea in a paper to the Journal of Animal Ecology during 1986.  Using a statistical method of grouping related variables (called a discriminate analysis)Harris and Rayner demonstrated that local fox densities in 157 towns in England and Wales were best explained by the proportion of owner-occupied housing situated away from industry. The biologists proposed that the boom in private house construction after 1930 (largely the result of increased mobility allowing people to live and work further apart) led to a proliferation of privately owned three-bedroomed semi-detached houses; these middle-class suburbs had low-density housing with quiet residential roads and medium-sized gardens. It appears that these areas provide foxes with exactly the type of habitat foxes favour and the authors wrote: Before the time of archaeologists animals had to find other ways to establish who were indigenous and who weren't! Although the Red fox is a native species to Britain this is not to say that the idea of foxes being introduced “from France for the sport of the Normans” is unfounded. Indeed there is considerable evidence to support the introduction of foxes from outside the when fox populations declined. In his 1987 book Running with the Fox Prof David Macdonald of Oxford University notes:

In 2004 the Hunting Act was passed into law and concerns were raised that removing this source of fox control from the countryside could lead to an ‘explosion’ in fox numbers. In a bid to find out just over half (252) of the original squares were re-surveyed -- along with 139 new squares -- during the winters of 2005 and 2006. The results published as the National Fox Survey 2005/2006 Newsletter were similar to those of the 2002 survey with an increase in fox density in eastern England and a decline in southern England.  Broadly-speaking fox droppings increased in almost half the squares and declined in the other half (only 7% were unchanged). The conclusion of the Bristol biologists. There are to the best of my knowledge no studies looking at whether Brown bears influence sympatric fox populations. The only reference I have come across is the description of an incident during June 1940 where a fox followed and watched a bear digging out Ground squirrels for more than an hour-and-a-half as recounted by Mech in his 1966 report. At no point did the bear seem bothered by the fox’s presence although the fox was observed to keep a safe distance. The two species may compete for some of the same prey (e.g. small mammals and berries) but both are highly catholic feeders and competitive displacement seems unlikely. Likewise Brown bears may chase foxes from their kills but they don’t appear to actively predate them and it seems probable that as with wolves foxes may ultimately prosper from scavenging kill remains. Studies on the distribution of rod and cone cells on the retina’s of canids has shown that although some species do apparently show an increase in cone density towards the centre of the retina dogs do not have a fovea (the region on a human retina composed entirely of cones that you’re using to read this article). The lack of a fovea suggests that a dog’s ability to discriminate details is less than ours. Indeed some authors have estimated that a dog’s eye for detail is about six times worse than ours. Similarly a recent study by a team of biologists at the University of Vienna reported that brightness discrimination ability in dogs is about two-times worse than in humans.