Thursday 5 February 2009


More thick snow tonight, quite unusual for Dublin, we are having a good bit of snow this week for once.
About 10 tonight a couple of our resident young lads decided to go out in the garden to make, appropriately, snowcones. I went with them to put out food from fridge-clearing.
Well, Snowcone had been here already! I was absolutely thrilled to see the neat line of fox prints, coming up from the shrubbery, around by the pond (where the fox-dish was missing) and back down to the grass-heap. We don't often get to see good spoor so I eagerly looked up my book of animal tracks and signs.
Here I learn that foxes are digitigrade, would you believe that? Well I'd never have guessed (eye roll)
More seriously, I did know to recognise fox prints by their narrow oval shape, most usually seen as a series of tight pairs as the animal trots, their characteristic gait. If these are printed on deep snow, which then melts a little, it can look like a straight line of single prints, which has caused many folk-tales of a one-legged creature hopping in a straight line for miles.
I haven't seen any fox droppings but naturally I recognise those too, a small coiled pile with a pointed tip. Traces of hair in winter, of fruit stones in autumn.
A thought occurs: here's a golden opportunity to find out if the fox is denning under our shed, or in one of the neighbouring gardens. I'm off out again to have a look!

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