17 February 2012

The Lazy Brown Fox

Pest control and personal charm tend to go hand in hand I have found. The exterminators' cool approach to the things which make us hysterical can give them heroic status. There's a hornet's nest above the back door - no problem. My favourite chair is infested with mice - they'll be gone in a jiffy. What about the rats in the chicken coop - we'll see what we can do.

The friendly controller of pests at Brooke Hall is always welcomed with open arms. The other day I asked him about the tricky subject of foxes, which come under his general remit beyond the park gates. I've been giving Vulpes vulpes some thought lately. It must be strange for urban folk to be confronted with foxes face to face in a way that country people never are. The latter see the damage done but they rarely spend time with the cause of it. In towns people with foxes living in their gardens or in gardens nearby find themselves taking measures to prevent the more relaxed variety from strolling into the house and helping themselves. The predator is now the scavenger and his tail is less bushy; he is still wild but looks a bit like a dog but also a bit like a cat...

My friend from environmental services suggests that the urban fox is turning into a different sort of animal. It's a test for Darwinism: country fox = survival of the fittest while urban fox = survival of the unfittest. The fox that outruns the hounds is arguably a superior being to the mangy animal that doesn't exercise much and passes diseases around the family and through generations.

The dinner party tone of the conversation soon moves to practical methods of pest control but you'll have to find this on The Observer Allotment Blog. The good news is, the suggested fox deterrant is free, and so is the online Guardian/Observer.

fox courtesy The Graphics Fairy

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