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Urban Foxes

posted on 2013-08-27

Did you know that Red foxes thrive particularly well in urban environments? Throughout the twentieth century, they established themselves in many Australian, European, Japanese, and North American cities. The species first colonised British cities during the 1930s, entering Bristol and London during the 1940s and later establishing themselves in Cambridge and Norwich. In Australia, red foxes were recorded in Melbourne as early as the 1930s, while in Zurich, Switzerland, they only starting appearing in the 1980s. Urban red foxes are most common in residential suburbs consisting of privately owned, low-density housing, but are rare in areas where industry, commerce or council rented houses predominate.

In 2006 it was estimated that there were 10,000 foxes in London. City-dwelling foxes may have the potential to consistently grow larger than their rural counterparts, as a result of abundant scraps and a relative dearth of predators. While foxes will scavenge successfully in the city (and the foxes tend to eat anything that the humans eat) some urban residents will deliberately leave food out for the animals, finding them endearing. Some researchers speculate that the urban fox is evolving into a different species from its countryside cousin, as it has a different diet of mainly man-made food, different survival skills (for example, the ability to cross roads), different places to live (under buildings rather than trees), a lack of their natural fear of humans, and a larger size.


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