11th May 2012: I will be following these cubs all over the marsh for the rest of this year.
Perhaps I should rename this blog “The Wilden Marsh Foxes.”
I think I might turn my attention to the badgers; maybe they can help break my obsession with the marsh foxes.
Many people consider the fox to be vermin. One of the definitions of vermin is: “Noxious or objectionable animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control, such as flies, lice, cockroaches, and rats.” In fact, vermin is what foxes like to eat. The fox is not vermin, it controls vermin. The food remains I have seen around dens are those of mice, rats, pigeon, moles and rabbits. I am glad that we have foxes to control the smaller wildlife. The success of wildlife on the marsh depends on a fine food chain balance. The fox and the badger will eat almost anything that can be digested; they are excellent survivors. Don’t get me wrong, foxes and badgers are not animals to cuddle up with; you are likely to get infested with all kinds of nasty things if you do. In their natural environment, foxes are essential. Without foxes on the marsh and in Hoo Wood, I would be fighting off rats with a big stick. Would people prefer to have foxes on the marsh, or rats in their houses? I say hooray for the fox!
The fox is not the only marsh predator to kill and eat rats; otter, mink, ferrets, polecats, and domestic cats will too. Badgers, being opportunistic hunters, will eat rat, but it is unlikely that they would be quick enough kill one. Badgers have been known to kill more than they need and will bury surplus food.