Skip to content

Urban Foxes

March 4, 2011

(c) USFWS, photo by John Sarvis

Britain’s urban foxes are rather famous — at least in the urban wildlife world. There are long-term studies of populations in various cities, and foxes seem to occupy niches in most, if not all, of England’s cities, including London. Lately they seem to be making the news in our neck of the woods as well.

Last week, one British fox in particular made headlines. Apparently the fox (dubbed “Romeo”) climbed to the 72nd floor of the under-construction Shard Building near London Bridge. He was up there for at least two weeks, eating food left behind by construction workers. Β To do this, he not only had to climb 71 flights of stairs, but also a ladder — quite the feat!

Red fox in Central Illinois, (c) Proctis. Re

A nice story that first appeared in the Financial Times and was recently reprinted here at Slate described the author’s experiences with his newest neighbors, the famous urban foxes of Bristol. Bristol is the site of a long-term study of its foxes and all of their ups and downs (the population was decimated by an outbreak of mange in the 1990s), led by the mammal research group at the University of Bristol (click here for their red fox website)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2011 2:32 pm

    Really interesting, and if you blog again about foxes, I’d be interested in the variety of sounds they make. We’ve been hearing a variety of vocalizations during the night lately, and I’ve been wondering how to tell the fox, wolf, and coyote calls apart. These sounds we heard had none of the long, high-pitched, sustained howl of the coyote, so we still don’t know if those are wolves or foxes we heard. And googling for various sounds didn’t help a whole lot. Are wolves common in urban settings?

  2. March 5, 2011 6:50 pm

    Red foxes make a lot of different sounds, from a sort of bark to something that sounds like a woman shrieking at the top of her lungs πŸ™‚ I have some recordings on my computer — next time I see you I can play them. Coyotes often don’t have sustained howls, though — they usually have a yip-yip sort of call. The only wolves around you would be at Wolf Park, of course πŸ™‚

  3. March 5, 2011 7:03 pm

    THANKS for the interesting and informative reply! Really, there are no wolves around here other than in Wolf Park? But we do hear a rare occasional high-pitched and sustained howl. Could there be wolves out in the county that find their way into the park near our house? So if coyotes only have a yip-yip, then we’re hearing a lot of foxes carrying on endless conversations with other foxes. Chatty bunch! Fortunately, we haven’t heard the “woman shrieking” sound in awhile. It’s unnerving.

  4. March 5, 2011 7:11 pm

    Definitely no wolves where you are πŸ™‚ The wolves in the UP in Michigan are about as close as they come these days (but who knows? Maybe one day). Coyotes will do sustained howls, so that’s probably what you’re hearing. Dogs, will, too, of course, so if there is an outside dog or two around you, they could possibly be contributing as well, but my money is on the coyotes.

  5. March 5, 2011 7:59 pm

    Hmmm…so maybe there are outside dogs out there in the park next to our house. Or a stray coyote or two. The sounds are far off in the distance, not like the foxes who tend to hang out on the peninsula at the side of our house. So the fox sounds are the ones we hear a lot, but mostly in the summer when they’re out all night enjoying themselves…or catching smaller animals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: