We are a wildlife sanctuary as well as one for pets and we see foxes nearly every day. One family has a den next door to the badgers, it’s in a sett they abandoned some years ago. To see the badgers you have to get up while it’s still dark, they are nocturnal and don’t come out in daylight hours. Foxes also hunt at night but their habits are changing as they now live in closer proximity to humans and we often see them during the day.
So it wasn’t unusual to see a big dog fox at 6.0am this morning. He was heading for home but what was surprising was the way he was pelting across the fields. Normally the foxes saunter home, pitter patter with lots of diversions, but this Mr.Fox was streaking as though the hounds of hell were after him. I expected to see dogs or hunters chasing after but there was no-one. Why was he in such a hurry?
A few minutes later and he came out again, this time a vixen was with him. They both set off running as fast as they could and when a fox is at top speed, you can barely see their legs touch the ground. They seemed to float across the grass, almost a blur as they shot past me. Mr. Fox was turning his head to encourage his mate, he was excited, it looked as though he was telling her ‘Come on, hurry up’.
I watched as they disappeared through a hedge close to the village. Beyond it were some chicken sheds and a run but there was no squawking or flying feathers so that wasn’t where they were going. Had Mr.Fox found a dustbin with some thrown away ready meal? Or some chicken nuggets outside the takeaway? I waited a while but they didn’t come back so it must have been a real feast.
The behaviour of foxes has definitely changed over recent years. They have become less afraid of humans and used to living in an urban environment. Did Mrs. Fox stay home with the little ones while Daddy went out to forage for food? And did he then come to fetch her when he found something really tasty? This seems the most likely explanation – I’ve never known a fox to fetch his mate to share his breakfast before.