Back in 1999, whilst walking back to my flat in Stanford Avenue, I saw a fox walking, bold as brass, across Preston Road. It was the first time I had ever seen such a sight in Brighton, yet one which has been repeated on multiple occasions’ since-and with increasing frequency.
I remember in, I think 1979; the BBC aired an astonishing documentary about foxes in Bristol. An online search uncovers nothing of the piece now, but the images have stayed with me ever since. I never believed that I would ever see one in my own town, not in those days.
For me the proliferation of this animal in the local area has occurred in the fifteen years since 1999. Perhaps other folk can point out otherwise. I live in Queens Park, but walk through Hanover in to the town most days. It is in this area that I see them on a regular basis, mostly on their own, although I saw two together running across Finsbury Road, and down the steps of my Mum’s childhood home, just last night.
The increased sighting of the fox in the urban area is probably down to its familiarity with humans, and perhaps the inclination to feed them. As much as the fox is a cute and untroubling sight, I would suggest that it does represent a threat to cats, and I’m sure they would say so themselves.
Hanover probably has a number of small fox families, and the difficulty in maintaining an efficient rubbish collection system may fuel the population, although the Seagulls may not be so happy with the competition.
A while ago I was walking down Sussex Street a fox came strolling up the pavement. It stopped only a few yards in front of me, and appeared to look me up and down. Deciding that I was too big a banquet to challenge and drag home in one go, it popped in to the pathway of a nearby home and turned to pose for a photograph before running off:
Below is a short BBC documentary on Brighton foxes:
Whatever we think of the urban fox, it is clearly here to stay.