Thursday 15 January 2009

Resourceful scavengers

First of all, a link:

I was idly internetting and decided to revise my knowledge of foxes a little. This website has plenty of useful information in accessible form. I had a read of the comments on fox feeding since this is a topic that frequently arises.
Do many people feed foxes? Yes, a lot of people do! Some enthusiasts buy meat specially but this is unnecessary. Most kitchen scraps are acceptable, except maybe for some vegetables. Any meat trimmings, ends of cheese, stale sandwiches, fruit, sweet stuff (foxes really have a sweet tooth!)
I often wonder if the traditional caution about giving cooked chicken bones to dogs and cats applies to foxes. My guess is that they eat so much found stuff that a chicken carcass is just a mouthful to them! Still, I go a little carefully just in case.
Commonest question: Are they hungrier now that they can't get food out of wheelie bins?
Answer: NO! There are more foxes around the suburbs now than there were ten years ago, and they look pretty well fed. Bird feeders, cat dishes, compost heaps, mice and rats, worms and insects, dead birds, roadkill, dropped fast food like chips and wrappings with pizza crust, apple cores and ends of bread in the schoolyard, and of course, the offerings of suckers like me and many of my neighbours!
One handy thing about the carrion-eating habits of the fox is that they have a palate for food that is quite "high". So that bit of ham or fish in the fridge that is well past it's use-by date can be put out for foxes and do them no harm. This reduces your waste footprint, too.
I'm afraid the corollary is, if a cherished pet has died and been interred with full military honours in your back garden, it is advisable to put a good solid rock or paving slab on top to avoid exhumations...'nuff said.
In the last week, I've put out: the skin from a side of smoked salmon, fat and gristle trimmed from stewing beef, stale cheese sandwich, scrapings of spaghetti bolognese, two mince pies.
Gone, all gone. Signs of passage under my garden shed too. Barking and yikkering at night.
No actual sightings, but signs clear to read.

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