For Fox Sake

This article is about Urban Foxes (a.k.a fokzez). They are wild animals with sharp teeth, in cities. Sometimes they do bad things. Their countryside cousins, although identical in DNA, simply do not pose the same kind of problems that the inner city ones do. As for suburban foxes – who knows? Maybe a bit vapid, but generally content with the larger gardens and good transport links.

Of course, the shocking incident involving a fox mauling two babies whilst they slept in their cot has given rise to media outcry. Awareness of fox-based peril is increasing, and this is with good reason. Naturally, the Daily Mail jumped on the bushy-tailed bandwagon, took a massive detour, and drove the cart off down a road of self-righteousness and idiocy. Of paramount importance in their coverage was the fact the fox had entered a “£800,000 family home”, thus making foxes seem even more repulsive. Clearly, rich people should be impervious to danger. Naughty foxes. Missing the point ever so slightly, the Daily Mail later published a screaming headline of “Why I Hate Squirrels” followed by a disturbingly lengthy diatribe on the subject by Quentin Letts. As we all know, squirrels are savage and can nibble a man to death in a matter of minutes. Well done, Mr Letts for single-handedly saving us from the indescribable danger of Tufty.

Annoyingly, this hysteria detracts from the plausible argument that wild animals in cities can genuinely cause problems. Back to the foxes. We all know, that name-calling isn’t big or clever, in fact it’s a cheap shot, but when an animal is referred to as Vulpes Vulpes – it would be rude not to comment. Perhaps an indication of how vile foxes really are, their Latin name sounds worryingly similar to the sound of a cat vomiting up the alphabet backwards. Twice. Not a good start and it gets worse. The word fox apparently originated from the Proto-Germanic word – fukh. If you don’t know what Proto-Germanic means, it doesn’t matter: you still get to say a swear word and think of foxes.

Foxes can be dangerous. They keep us awake at night bonking. They shit in the garden and they have mange. Apparently they serve to keep rat and mice populations down, but in the city where Mrs Silly on the road opposite feeds them daily with frozen chicken breasts, even this isn’t going to happen. They are a pest, like seagulls and pigeons which, incidentally, in Bristol, you can get an ASBO for feeding. Confusingly, a quick search online proves that a pigeon has never reportedly entered a (£800,000) house and bitten a baby. Admittedly, there are actually very few attacks made by foxes in the UK, but the problem is that they have got the better of us and they know it. They are purposefully ignoring any semblance of natural hierarchy. In fact they probably love the attention – Señor Vulpes and his crew are most likely tucked up in their den right now, collecting all of the newspaper clippings, and wondering when would be the right time to make some proper money and call Max Clifford.

So, apart from the obvious of NOT feeding them (yes, you, Mrs Silly): what else can be done about urban foxes, except for wait with baited breath for their first interview on the sofa with Lorraine Kelly? There’s only one avenue left to explore, the only logical explanation – campaign for urban fox hunting. Swap tweed for polyester and beagles for pit bulls and you’re on to a winner. Twenty men on quad bikes hurtling through the town centre on a Sunday morning is nothing compared to your towel being territorially shat on by a fox when you go in from the garden for five minutes to get a drink. Even if we kept it on a traditional tip, the logistics of fitting all the dogs, horses, men, egos and bulging right-wing wallets down Bristol’s small streets is merely a twinkle in the eye of impossibility: it really is the only feasible answer.

Published in Venue (a now defunct magazine) yonks ago, so no link