Monday 20 April 2009


What a lovely morning it was today. I strolled around the garden, inspecting violets, checking on tadpoles, etc. Noticing that the fox food from last night was gone, but a strong smell lingered in the still, dewy air. I had gardeners coming to do some chores today so I went and fetched the petrol can and put it on the terrace table. Some bluebottles flew up.
We have suspected a leak in the sewage pipe near that spot. I peered under table, but could see nothing. A home-made hutch for Cleo the cat to sleep out in is under that table too, but Cleo was indoors. So why was there a paw sticking out?
I backed away from the table, and peered directly under it. There, not one foot from my own toes, was a fox in the box, on top of Cleo's cushion.
I promise you, gentle readers, I was so gobsmacked I was breathless! I ran quickly and quietly into the house and got my mobile phone, took a couple of pics. Fox barely moved - in fact at first I had thought it might be dead!
A runny eye blinked, flies buzzed around. The camera-phone has no zoom. But luckily, just then, I heard my husband arriving home from an early-morning errand. I called him, and son no, 4, to view the fox. "Pretty cool!"
Patrick is a keen photographer and he fetched his excellent camera. Took several shots of the fox in the box, and then the fox got uneasy and began to come out. We were shocked to see the mangy hindquarters so close - naked haunches: septic scabs: lame left back leg. He limped off down the garden.
Later, when the gardeners were working, one of them pointed out our poor sick fox asleep in the picnic area, and reported seeing him unable to jump the wall: banging his head as if blind in one eye, which was indeed very suppuratey.
I phoned the DSPCA, in distress: thay said that they would send a van if we could get it into a crate. But our attempts only caused Stringfellow to crawl through the only possible gap into a neighbouring garden, (Cassidys) and then further out of sight, unreachable.
So that was that. Poor creature, he looked on his last legs. Probably dead by now, already.
It was the nearest we ever were to one of our own foxes, and rather touching to see him in the cat's hutch. Near his food supply, in a comfy spot.
I think now of his vixen, probably nearby with cubs, but not in our or Martin's garden:
There is a row of houses further up where all the owners are elderly and their long gardens probably overgrown. Of course a sensible vixen will choose there. She will have to defend the cubs herself now.


Charlotte said...

Wow! We've never had such a close encounter before. Do you think there would be any point in baiting a crate or box with suitable food and leaving it near likely routes? It sounds as if you could have trapped him in Cleo's box if you had known then.

kate said...

Yes, we could easily have clapped something on to the front of the hutch had we but known how sick it was.
Last night's food not touched...I'd say he's gone.
Didn't think of the baited box, but it's not a bad idea. Will bear it in mind if occasion arises again.