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Friendly foxes and your fox questions

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Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 10:05 UK time, Thursday, 10 November 2011

When... perhaps that should be if... I am reincarnated I want to come back as a fox - what fabulous creatures they are. This week I went to meet our Springwatch "friendly family" of foxes down at Pitsea Landfill in Essex.

Things have changed for the family as you will see on Friday's Autumnwatch. But what an amazing experience to stand right beside a family of four foxes - literally feet away - ignoring me and going about their foxy business.

I think one of the wonderful things about foxes is that, although they often live right in amongst us, they never seem to lose their essential wildness. If you have an observations about the foxes near you, or any fox-related questions we'd love to hear from you. We're hoping to have a fox section in Unsprung and your input would make it much richer. Thank you!


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Martin, Chris and Michaela

    I do have a question about Foxes. I live out in the countryside and have a 2 acre back garden and we have a load of wildlife to watch out there. Recently, I have been seeing foxes during the day (especially about 10am) and they still look fairly young and playing about.

    My question is: How many litters can foxes have in a year?

    Many thanks Autumnwatch and I will definitely be watching both the main programme and Unsprung on Friday :)

    Julia x

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi all.Enjoying autumn watch again this year!I belong to a facebook dog lovers club.One of the memebers says that last night,she chased off some yobs who were letting their dogs attack a small fox cub.
    I would have thought that it would have been adult sized by now,do you think it`s a late litter? it was about the size of a small terrier apparently.Thanks.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    How much must a fox consume in a day and what is their main food source?

    Loving the show so far..

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi I have a question for Martin:

    Can you get black foxes? I am in Southampton and last Autumn I could have sworn the fox I saw in my back garden was definitely much darker than normal. It was not very light out but I see quite a lot of foxes in the evenings and this one looked almost black. Was I imagining it or could it have been possible?


  • Comment number 6.

    More of an observation than a question, our regular foxy visitor seems to be able to sleep absolutely anywhere as can be seen in a couple of my photos:

    she watched me sit down with my camera a few feet away and proceeded to go to sleep

    taken whilst asleep on my garden table right outside my (open) back door.

    She also regularly visits at the same time as our badgers which surprises me a little. I would have thought that foxes steer clear of badgers...

  • Comment number 7.

    Don't know how unusual this is but Last year my sister found her cat curled up asleep with a fox in her garden!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Martin.
    Loving the show - congratulations on another great series. I was just wondering if you could tell me why the two regular foxy darlings in our garden are so different? One is silky and looks well fed yet the other is scrawny and has fur missing. Also, (and I think this may be one for Chris...) my dog (sadly no longer with us) used to constantly roll about in fox poo at our local country park. Why was this? I'd take a guess at something to do with scent but why roll in theirs? Wouldn't it be more obvious to leave your own instead?

  • Comment number 9.

    I've always wanted to know why foxes have such thick, luxuriant tails - do they serve any purpose or are they purely decorative?

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Martin,
    I feed 3-4 foxes every night...I know that all the experts say we don't NEED to, but I like to think I'm helping. :) . Trevor at The Fox Project [http://www.foxproject.org.uk/ ] which is local to me, is a great source of info but I wonder if others/you have any more ideas?

    My foxes share a tallish tin of dog food, plus a bowl of dog biscuits...& plus 2 slices of toast with peanut butter or jam. I know.. bad for their teeth but it is a TREAT!] Is this enough?

    I'd like to know what else I can give them, in the coldest part of the winter to help fill them up & keep them warm. Porridge?
    Last winter [in the snow] I was out at 2am making sure they'd got [unfrozen] water to drink as it was freezing over in minutes.

    Any ideas for keeping their food & water from freezing over when the weather is so cold? Same for all wildlife & birds so any tips to keep food/water from freezing would be really helpful.

    Love, love , love Spring/Autumnwatch ...& specially you! xx

    Many thanks,

  • Comment number 11.

    this question may or may not be about foxes, as today i saw an animal which reminded me somewhat of a jackal, it was smaller than a fox with pointy ears with black tips and its body was not as orange as a foxes would be, also it was quite small yet still off the ground, not weasle/stoat like.
    Just wondering if you could help me identify what this was as me and my boyfriend seem to have our differences...
    ps. it was in a field near a canal in nottinghamshire, if that makes any difference.

  • Comment number 12.

    although i live in the country why is it that a fox would come into my garage one night ( i left the door open) curl up as if to go to sleep and then die! ( photo posted )

  • Comment number 13.

    Martin - could you manage to play the respective bark sounds of a dog, a fox and a muntjac, so we know what we keep hearing at night! We've got plenty of foxes, and hear "gekkering" but need to differentiate between fox bark and other barks. thanks!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hello guys, keep seeing a fox and a cat together, looks like they are playing, is this normal? Loving the show........and I LOVE CHRIS PACKHAM! xxxx

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi, me again. Yes I'd really like to hear the barks too. We hear some weird sounds at night and would love to know what we're hearing as we are on the outskirts of a city next to the countryide and often have foxes, hedgehogs and thsomething that looks similar to a fox but darker and smaller in our garden. Oh and please Victoria, how can you love a man who sniffs poo? Its Martin for me every time - gorgeous!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    One of the foxes who visits our garden enjoyed eating our pears recently. She mostly ate windfall pears, but must also have picked some herself from a very low-lying branch that hangs to within 30 cms of the ground. She doesn't look healthy and is thin and has mange. I noticed that another fox tried a pear, but didn't seem to like it and left it. Do foxes usually eat pears?

  • Comment number 17.

    Those that support fox-hunting often say that unless fox numbers were controlled in the countryside, we would be overun by them. I have watched and photographed urban foxes in the city in my home town of Hull in East Yorkshire. There aren't any fox hunts in the city, so why aren't we overun by them? Where do all the cubs reared each year actually go? Here's a couple of pics of my local foxes - http://www.flickr.com/photos/43210094@N03/6332577319/in/photostream and http://www.flickr.com/photos/43210094@N03/6333327982/in/photostream/

  • Comment number 18.

    This is wonderfully playful behaviour by the foxes in our garden during last winter.

  • Comment number 19.

    I live in a housing scheme in Edinburgh, where we have a healthy local fox population. Recently I have noticed (to my delight!) that when I am out walking my dogs late at night or early morning I am joined by a fox, who 'meets' us at the local park, walks round with us, ducking and diving as he goes, then follows us back along the road, almost right back to my front door. It does this even as my lurcher is bouncing around on the end of his lead, clearly wanting to chase the fox. I have spoken to friends about this and have now heard of both dogs and cats actually 'playing' with wild foxes. Is this becoming a frequent happening in the UK? Why would a wild animal choose to follow or even play with domestic animals, even when humans are around? It seems an excessive response somehow, even given how 'urban' they have become. Surely we have no other wild animal who has 'evolved' this way? Would love to learn more about this, in the meantime I will enjoy my meetings and make sure my lurcher boy gets no-where near the foxes. :)

  • Comment number 20.

    As much as i have always loved foxes, i now have a foxy problem. A fox has become a daily visitor to my garden and is taking a keen interest in my chickens, although secure he is not giving up, he appears to be very brave, coming within inches of me and is not frightened away if i shout at him. He is becoming a nuisance, using a cat flap to go in the garage walking across my car and using the neighbour's car to jump over the wall in to the garden. As i have a dog flap in the back door i am afraid he will start to come in to the house when i am not about. I have two old dogs, could it attack these? All in all, he is becoming a pest. I have telephoned the council for advice and they suggested i contact pest control and i am quite within my rights to kill him as they are not protected. I do not want to take this action, but i want my chucks to be left in piece! Any suggestions?

  • Comment number 21.

    Have you ever wondered how a fox eats an egg that you have left out for it one night?
    My observation shows that the fox doesn’t simply crush the egg and lick the insides of the egg off the ground as many would think. No instead the fox carefully makes a whole in the egg as you can see in my videos and then efficiently licks all the insides directly out of the egg.



    The photo below is the actual egg eaten by the fox in the video. It’s remarkable how it can do this as the hole it has made is only 4cm in diameter, the method used by the fox must show it is quite an intelligent creature. It is my favourite British mammal!


  • Comment number 22.

    Fox in Mum's Bird House - Shoreham-By-Sea.
    Fox cub who frequents the birdhouse in a very leisurely manner. Also his sibling is in the video as well

  • Comment number 23.

    Sadly i've never had an actual encounter with a fox where i live, but last year we decided to own Chickens, and one of the pieces of advice given to us to keep the foxes from making them into a snack was to tie human or dog hair around the coop. I thought it was a strange suggestion, but does this mean that the foxes would be able to identify other people and other foxes living in an area just by smelling hair?
    Thank you.

  • Comment number 24.

    Congratulations Autumn Watch on another great series. I have a bit of a fox or badger problem. They are lovely animals to look at, and we see the foxes very often as our garden runs alongside a railway embankment. But practically every night something is leaving two or three poos in the garden (mostly black with what look like either fruit seeds or stones). I have been using sonic deterrents for 12 months but the poos are regularly in front of the devices. Please can you tell me if it is possible to permanently get rid of the culprits. Many thanks and keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 25.

    really enjoying the show and so happy your doing a feature on foxes ! I love foxes, have been lucky enough to see a couple at the local country park, one was right next to us and i clearly saw its face. I would very much love to hear the calls that foxes make, as we also hear seom strange sounds at night and would love to know if its really a fix we are hearing.
    Katie xxx

  • Comment number 26.

    It is often said that foxes kill for fun and those who claim this frequently site the apparently motiveless killing of many chickens in a single raid as evidence of their theory. I believe they do this because in common with many predators they have an instinct to make a kill whenever possible and cache anything that can't be eaten immediately. I have seen footage of Arctic foxes doing precisely this in the wild. If the prey is abandoned I assume this is explained by the difficulty of actually removing the prey because of for example disturbance, distance from "home" or the size or nature of the entry and exit route. Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 27.

    Re my previous post "site" = CITE.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Martin - love the show - You, Chris and Michaela - miss Kate though!

    Please could you ask post-people not to discard their red elastic bands in our streets on their rounds. Not only are they litter and an eye-sore, they are harmful to wildlife. Chris will love this - no hate it - there was a foxes poo in our garden which had a red elastic band in it. This fox was lucky - I wonder how many other wildlife creatures have not been? (I took a photo of it, but could not work out how to include it here!!) I know foxes are part of wildlife, but they are becoming a nuisance and causing damage in our garden - very much love and dislike them at the same time.

    Shirley, Dartford

  • Comment number 29.


    I've sussed it! This was one lucky fox!

    Shirley, Dartford

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi, I have noticed where I work (Marchwood near Southampton) that foxes are doing their poops on top of mole hills! Can you tell me why they do this? PS loving the program! Ed Bentley.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello everyone

    I live in the city and there are a few foxes around my bit including one who I have nicknamed Timmy. As it is coming up for the winter and getting chilly I was wondering if I can help them out with food. I was going to scatter food for them in my garden, not everyday just once every other day so they are not expecting it. Is this ok as I can bare to watch them eat pizza and food that doesn't give them energy. Also what can I feed them? I usually just give them like apple, bits of bread, boneless chicken is their anything else I can give them as I feel like someone has to look out for them lol

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    Wonderful to see the tame fox in the Unsprung studio. I'd like to know more about Chris's fox experiences he mentioned briefly in the programme: when he said he smelled of foxes for, umm, 3 years I think.

  • Comment number 34.

    I wanted to know if anyone has seen a cat playing with a fox. Our cat, who is about 1yr and 4m old walks up to a young fox who comes into our garden, and seems to treat him like a playmate. The fox seems not to mind that much and they get quite close to each other. My cat leaps out at the fox and bats at him with his paws!!! On one hand it is funny and fascinating, but worrying too. Would the fox go for the cat?
    By the way my cat is a ginger tom.....anything to do with the colour? :))

  • Comment number 35.

    Good morning Autumnwatch Team

    I believe this question is fox related, but if anyone has another answer I'd be grateful to hear it! For the last few weeks I have been finding piles of what looks like dirty snow in my front garden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69814216@N08/6339468987/
    It stays for quite a long time and even rain doesn't seem to disperse it. Without getting too close to it I can't be certain but when I was raking the leaves this morning there was quite an unpleasant smell which I think comes from this substance. The appearance of this, in different parts of the garden, coincided with the beginning of nearly nightly visits from foxes so I wondered if this was some kind of strange fox wee, or worse...?

  • Comment number 36.

    hi martian,i have a family of foxes in a car park where i live and have been feeding and watching them for many years with my dog sasha,last year we had a new male move in and caused allsorts of trouble,anyway to cut a long story short,he lost most of his tail and now i call him stumpy,his pic is on flickr would love you to take a look and may be show him on fridays show as you will be talking foxes.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi Chris
    I have a small natural pond which once had a flourishing population of frogs and newts. However, in recent year’s mallard ducks home in and eat all the frogspawn and plants and generally devastate my pond. Could the increased numbers of mallard be responsible for the demise of our frogs and newts?
    Barry Henley

  • Comment number 38.

    hi martin, can you tell me, how long this out break of fox mange can last and can they get over it , l have a lot of fox`s where l live some have it bad, and l think some must of died ,and a few looking like they could be getting it,did try to help by giving a herbal treatment from fws ,do feed them,some run if they see you, others come to window ,also quite a few badgers who do the same,my cat is not bothered by the fox`s but not so keen on the badgers, seen him sat by fox`s and have seen fox`s and badgers have goes at each other,but the badger seem`s the boss.dorothy dorothy


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