Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why are there so many foxes in town?

Walking home on Sunday evening I came across two foxes fighting outside the Roman Catholic church. I don't know if they had fallen out over some point of doctrine, but I shouted at them to break it up.

I wouldn't mind, but this is Market Harborough - the spiritual home of fox hunting since Melton Mowbray became too expensive and too scandalous at the end of the 19th century.

Why do we see so many foxes in town these days? Is it that changes in refuse collection mean there are more bins outside houses to be scavenged. Or have changing farming practices made life harder for them in the countryside?

Whatever the reason, the is no doubt that they are far more common here than they used to be. In my anti-hunting days in the 1970s, you hardly saw a fox in Market Harborough at all.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yo. I'm here because I couldn't be bothered to register at the New Statesman. What was your point about Tony Slattery and Stephen bloody Fry calling each other darling at the Heathrow protest? Was it just to drop some names for the sake of making your column more sexy? Seems pretty petty to slag people off just for that. Or do you think they do not share your purity of motive? I doubt you're right, but that's a point you could, and don't, make. Or is it just that you happen not to like the way they talk? Small-minded, if that's it, but maybe you're small-minded. You won't be understanding any of this, of course.

Frank H Little said...

Like Chelsea & Millwall crews, they're clearly looking for a bit of action. They are fed up with waiting for the hunting gangs to come to them.

Daniel1979 said...

On my morning commute I get on a short stretch of dual cariageway for about 2 or 3 minutes. There is typically 1 or 2 new dead foxes on the road every morning... there must be hundreds of them roaming on the road at night; I wonder also how many people have had near crashes after hitting or swerving to avoid them.

It was the same during spring/summer last year - but its only January and the bodies are already starting to pile up.

We had a fox in the garden last year, and I am worried incase my Samoyed gets hold of it... can't find anything (legal) on the internet that I can do or buy to get rid of it.

dheigham said...

Urban foxes have been with us for at least forty years. It was them that I met my first; a three legged animal purposefully trotting along a pavement in Purley. Nowadays they have reached close to the centre of London. They seem extremely well mannered. I take for granted that (unlike Chelsea and Milwall crews) they broke up the fight when you shouted. Daniel 1979 will probably find that the fox he is worried about has negotiated a non-aggression pact with his Samoyed.

Anonymous adds a unique touch here. Being off the point, entirely unable to see why Stephen Fry will have laughed at the reference to him, and deeming Johnathan Calder small minded is a range of foolishness which should be savoured.

dreamingspire said...

Its almost 30 years since the BBC did its original fox watch - a cheat, really, because they confined the foxes to gardens and a cellar in the land behind the Bristol BBC building - I believe that the BBC had bought up the extra land and buildings for expansion. But there were many foxes in urban Bristol then, so friends told me, and then the population went down for a while because of a plague of mange.

David B said...

On a really-not-very related note, I was pleased to see that our local la-di-dah sandwich shop/deli (I think they must have been a small chain?) in SW1 (near Cowley Street) had closed down. Its name? "Mange"! I think they must have thought they were being very ooh-la-la along the lines of Pret - but maybe there were too many dog owners/country folk who recognised the double-entendre and didn't fancy abite after that!

Anonymous said...

i grew up in London and the only foxes i saw lived in Hampstead Heath however when i heard about the fox hunting ban i thought "the fox hunters will send all the foxes into town and city's so that city dwellers would soon be asking for the fox hunters to resume the killing" good guess or just a silly conspiracy story!!!!

Anonymous said...

Because it's so cool!