Sunday 9 September 2007

playing with prey

This morning, about a quarter to eight, I looked into the garden from my kitchen window and was thrilled to see one of the foxes on the lawn. Up to know we have mostly had to watch them from an upstairs window. But about two months ago our dear old family dog had to be put down. Foxes used to just ocasionally flit through after dark, and the dog would whine and yelp in the house. If we let her out, the fox would vanish like an arrow. She was a darling dog, a Lolly, and I still miss her sadly.
Lately however the foxes from next door have been cautiously colonising this space, since we now have neither dog nor cat. And of course I have been feeding them, ironically on raw meaty bones that were got for the dog and were still in the freezer.
So I was delighted to see Tipless this morning. He was nuzzling something on the short grass beside the Frogway. Then he tossed it into the air and caught it again. Then he dropped it and prodded with a paw. I ran for binoculars to see what he had, hoping it was a mouse but worried for my frogs. Annoyingly I couldn't see well, just a smallish dangly dark object which Tipless played with exactly - but just exactly - the way a cat plays with a mouse. He flung it a yard in the air from his mouth and as it landed, pounced with two paws. Then he tried burying it behind a tuft of long grass.
This is something I have often seen them do, hiding food. In fact sometimes I come across a little hollow with a bit of earth on top which often contains a dead worm. On this occasion he sort of abandoned the game and went mooching about our rockery as if looking for something - either insects or hidden food. Found something because he munched and licked a bit. Went out of sight under the windowledge, then reappeared.
Back to the long grass and retrieved his toy. Seemed to wonder if it was dead (I hope it was!), tossed it about. Every now and again he would try to munch on it and drop it with an air of dislike. Hmmm, if it had been a mouse he'd probably have eaten it.
Anyway I began to knock and gesture at the window and Tipless simply sat down and watched me. I took my coffee-cup and went out. Even as I came out of the side-passage entrance he was still on the lawn and only trotted away as I came down the steps. I tried looking for the prey where Tipless had been but could not find it. Eaten? Tossed into darkest corner? Wrong spot?
It's nice to see the foxes occupying my garden at last but I must try harder to protect the frogs. Can't win against Nature!

No comments: