A sad end this week for Greta, our lovely grey goose.   I let the geese out in their compound first thing in the morning, they don’t  go out into the field until after breakfast.   I am always worried about the danger from foxes, there are so many around here.   If you think a goose is safe behind a strong wire and plank fence, then you are wrong.   By the time the geese had their breakfast, it was too late.   The fox had torn the wire away and within a few yards of the house, had ripped poor Greta to pieces.   The ganders had tried to protect her and Gregory now has a badly damaged wing.   Although they are  big and strong, they are no match for a hungry fox.

It’s shocking to see the aftermath of a fox attack.   Because people feed them and do not realise what cunning predators they are, foxes have become unafraid of people and dwellings.   Where once they were wary, now they are bold.  Who would think that a fox would attack in daylight and so close to the house?

It is the gentle and inoffensive creatures who suffer when a fox goes on the prowl.  Foxes will often kill every bird and small animal they see, even though they are not hungry at the time.   This is a survival instinct.   The fox is an opportunist and feels that he has to kill when he can, so that he can come back another time to reclaim his prey.   He is a scavenger and will eat whatever he can, whenever he can.

And yet, he is a handsome and resourceful animal.   There is no prettier sight than a vixen playing with her cubs on a spring morning.   Like many of the criminal fraternity, Mr. Fox is charming and likeable on the surface, but when you get to know his real nature, he is nothing like he seems.

But the fox has his role – he plays his part in the cycle of life in the countryside, taking up the weak and old and ensuring the survival of the fittest.   There are two sides to every story and humans have changed the behaviour of foxes by feeding them and enticing them into closer proximity to our dwellings and teaching them to be unafraid.    Cats beware.    Anyone who thinks that foxes don’t take cats is wrong.    They don’t go after some cats – the feisty feral streetwise ones.   A sweet house cat who does not know Mr.Fox’s real nature is not so safe.

Knowing the fox as we do, it was no surprise to us that human babies were recently attacked.   The fox would see them as an interesting potential food source.   As he would see anything that was made up of flesh.   This is the make up of the fox, just as it is with lions and tigers, hyenas, wolves and bears and predators in other parts of the world.

The fox,like all animals, must eat to live and his natural food is not so plentiful in some areas, especially now he has discovered urban living.   He preys on the frail, the gentle and the vulnerable and it is this that is upsetting to us humans.   Greta was a fine and gentle goose, she was inoffensive and a delight to care for – her death has made us very sad.   We shall miss her.