What do people really feel about ol’ Foxy?

I received the following comment this morning from mymatejoechip, on a subject close to my heart. I think it is a very worthy comment about foxes eating mammals in Australia. I hope mymatejoechip doesn’t mind my featuring the comment.

To read the other comments about this post: http://thewildenmarshblog.com/marsh-fox-photograph-album/#comment-1018

I am genuinely interested in people’s views on the old Red Dog.

My view on the fox relates to personal experience of foxes living in my local area and is not, in any way, a criticism of mymatejoechip‘s comment.

>>>mymatejoechip says:

Mike I am sure that you are right. I hope I didn’t sound like I was opposed to predators in their natural environment, I am all for balanced ecosystems and biological diversity and the preservation of our environment.
The Australian experience is a little different as the fauna here have evolved over a long period of time in isolation without exposure to a predator like the fox. Their introduction only 130 years ago has led to an imbalance that has not been corrected. Part of the problem is that we persecute the closest niche predator, the dingo, which preys on foxes and feral cats. The dingo itself is interesting, itself only a recent arrival in evolutionary terms (arriving with the Aborigines in the last 50-100 000 years). Recent discussion about the re-introduction of the dingo into some areas has of course led to a predictable reactionary response, however it is I think much more reasonable than a recent suggestion that elephants be introduced into northern Australia. I think we interfere with the role of the predator at our peril, unfortunately in Australia we have interfered massively, so that in some areas the only main predators are foxes and cats, with nothing to prey on them. “Your” foxes are of course exactly in the environment they should be in. This article may be of interest.
http://www.realdirt.com.au/2009/07/11/mr-foxy-whiskered-gentleman-your-days-are-numbered/    <<<

Mike585’s says:

I have watched foxes for many years, and contrary to popular belief, they are not vermin; they rarely eat chickens, and I think they are essential to the control of vermin. I am not referring to urban foxes that live in towns and cities; I am talking about country foxes that live off the land and not from a dustbin.

I have tracked foxes by day and by night, on foot and with remote cameras. I have searched foxes’ territories in great detail. I have watched them hunt, and I have seen how they catch and kill their prey. Foxes try to make the best of their territories, in terms of hunting – few nooks and crannies, if any, avoid their attention. If food is scarce, they will search out new sources. Allegedly, they are partial to a burger or two; essentially, they will eat virtually anything digestible.

I have watched foxes give scant regard to well-protected chicken coups. Of course, if a fox can get in, it will kill all the chickens in a coup; this is what it does. The fox has evolved into a very successful and efficient predator, but then so have some humans. However, if foxes were really smart, they wouldn’t kill all the chickens in one go, they would kill one and come back for the others at a later date. Killing frenzies are one of the fox’s flaws – nothing in nature is perfect.

I think some people expect a fox to be something other than a fox, presumably because they don’t understand the purpose and importance of the fox. Some people seem surprised that a fox does what it does, and I wonder if they feel that the fox is misbehaving in some way. I feel that the fox belongs in the countryside; it doesn’t belong in a city. A fox in a city is still a fox, though, with all its evolved wily nature and killer instincts; it does in a city what it would normally do in a country based territory: hunt, eat, protect its territory and breed.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with foxes populating cities and towns; they will eat some of the huge rat populations, which must be a bonus. However, not everyone will feel as I do. I prefer the fox to live in the countryside where it belongs.

This is my personal view. I don’t expect too many people to agree with me – I suspect a few will and a lot won’t.

15 Comments on “What do people really feel about ol’ Foxy?

  1. I don’ t mind at all Mike, I’m rather flattered. I think that the UK, town and country, should be appropriately full of foxes, and long may your foxes thrive and live free!

  2. I agree with you Mike. I believe Foxes have their place in the great scheme of things and rightly so. I had a visit from a Fox in my garden in broad daylight during the cold spell in the middle of January and was thrilled to bits to see it though in reality I knew that it only came in to my garden in search of food. Grand looking creatures when you see them at close range.

  3. i agree foxes have their place, i like foxes, but sadly our small australian animals have no defense against foxes, who with cats have decimated the small mammals as mymatejochip says above … if only we could fence them out of the national parks we would not have so many extinctions

    • Our animals are wise to the fox and it doesn’t have an easy time catching a meal, particularly in winter. In summer, it has to feed its cubs. I think the marsh foxes eat small prey most of the time, a few pigeons, quite a few rats and a pheasant now and again.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  4. In Australia foxes, feral cats etc are a pig problem eating native animals : Here in Europe it belong to the natural fauna and is not an invasive species or pesy.

  5. You are right, Ann. “You have knocked the nail square on the head,” as we British say.

  6. I think all birds, insects, animals & reptiles have a place in their natural environment. I first saw a fox in the back lane behind where I live in the inner city near the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, only a couple of years ago. I was so surprised to see this introduced species, especially in such an urban environment.

    Family living in the country have had 8 foxes kill or raid their chicken coop in recent weeks. I understand 5 foxes were caught and humanely disposed of by a trained and licenced person. The other 3 were caught in traps and humanely disposed of.

    Unfortunately, many introduced species of birds and animals in the early settlement of the Eastern Coast of Australia have decimated some of our smaller indigenous birds and mammals and have multiplied to almost plague proportions. Household cat and dog pets have escaped, gone feral and now are decimating indigenous Australian mammal populations (as well as a few indigenous birds).

    The hideous and enormous cane toad (which it was suggested came to Australia via an Asian fishing boat) has mulltiplied and spread from northern Queensland to the southern states and is in plague proportions. It has no natural predator.

    I love foxes and while living in the UK in the late 1970’s took great delight in catching a glimpse of this wiley creature – but that is where I would like it to stay. In it’s natural habitat and country of origin.

    Personally, I believe all creatures should be protected and/or kept in their natural environment. I believe Man is the culprit and has disturbed the balance of Nature in many of these once beautiful, pristine natural environments and unless they, as the supposedly intelligent top of the food chain, rectify their behaviour, many more creatures further down the food chain will become extinct.

    So while I love foxes, I would have preferred that they had not been introduced to Australia by the early white settlers.

    …….and while I believe that caging wild animals is unnatural, I support our zoos and wildlife sanctuaries in rescuing injured animals and/or initiating captive breeding programs in their efforts to breed endangered species and if possible, releasing them in the wild to re-populate their old habitats.

  7. If human beings weren’t so darnt greedy and egocentric and allowed the natural balance of things we wouldn’t have problems with foxes chomping on poultry and so forth.

  8. Well, the way I see it is that human species has unbalanced nature and the way it works. Nature, if left alone (as far as I can tell) has a wonderful way of balancing things out in her own way. now, I do not see ‘Nature’ as fluffy bunny. She can be harsh and cruel but only from our view point. When we look at our home (and the Earth is our home) it is only human beings that are ruining it in their greediness. Getting back to Reynards, well of course they love a juicy plump chicken to chomp on, why wouldn’t they? They don’t see a chicken as a farmer’s livelihood. They just see ‘dinner’! But it’s us humans that decide that foxes are a problem. Same with wolves and many other animals. We have encroached on their home and now they have no choice but to encroach on ours and then humans get snitty about it. I guess I just don’t have much faith in my own species.

  9. Dominant species will take maximum advantage of all the good things that nature provides. We are THE dominant species!

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