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"The Tropic of Trafford" (in (Zone 8a)
Feb 9, 2019 10:42 AM CST
I didn't know where to put this but it may be interesting.

We've always had foxes visit our garden occasionally, every year, despite us having a six-foot post and panel fence all the way round our back garden, except the bit between the corner of the house and the garage, where it's an eight foot one with a lockable door in it. So quite secure. But this particular fox came every few days at the beginning of 2017. It would stand in the middle of the patio for half a minute or so just staring at us. We realised later that it was looking for a reaction. We never opened the French windows to shoo it away. So it must have decided we weren't a threat. We "christened" it "Fergie."

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Taking a drink from our "frog" pond.

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It would stay for a while then make its way along the rockery, jump up onto this Japanese lantern, then over the fence. It could get over our neighbour's far side fence which is only 4ft high, or out onto the road down the side of their house

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After a week or so, it stopped coming or so we thought and we didn't see it until the April when I saw this from the kitchen window. So we had to change the name to Fiona.

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She'd got under our tea-house in the 18" gap between it and the rear fence. There was no "skirt" along the bottom of the back wall I'd left it like that for ventilation, so there was a 9" clearance she could get under and have her den between the supporting brick piers.

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There were six cubs!

What amazed me, was in between her disappearing in February and coming out with the cubs, I was in the garden for a few hours every week-end doing "stuff," but at the same time playing my vinyl jukeboxes in the tea-house. They must have liked Motown, cos' I played a lot of it and never heard a peep out of them,.

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I took a lot of photos and some videos, on "zoom" but only through the kitchen window or the French windows in the lounge. We didn't go in the garden when they were out. But I did leave a bowl of cat food out every night, as six cubs would have presented her with problems to able to feed them all. Fortunately there was no "runt", They were at first all the same size.

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Having five minutes away from the kids in the shade of one of our acer palmatums.

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She was an excellent caring mum. They stayed under the tea-house whenever she left the garden and only came out when she let them. She pinched kids' soft toys from other gardens for them to have things with which they could chase each other around.

On one occasion during one of their frantic chases around the koi pool (I temporarily put a taught net over it in cae any fell in) , my wife said, "One of them has got a blackbird in its mouth !" We've always got them in the garden. I explained that it was "just nature" and we had to accept it.

However, the following morning I found the "blackbird" on the lawn.

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They didn't do much damage, apart from flattening some bulbs in the end bed and digging a few small holes in the lawn.

They made a bit of a mess of the tea-house veranda, practicing their " pouncing" off it. I had muddy paw prints going progressively higher up the white tea-house doors each week. But how could you not love one of these?

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So I gave them a sturdy box to use.

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As they got older they got braver and liked to steal the mealworms we left out for the blackbirds. If there were none in the bowl they'd try to attract your attention by looking at you through the window.

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They were alway "immaculately presented."

"Excuse me, will it be alright for me to eat these mealworms?"

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We worked out there were four males and two females. The males were very competitive with food , but the females "shared.
We had them until late July, then she took them out of the garden two at a time over three nights, she'd previously let them practice jumping up onto the top of the lamp In the first photo So they would eventually be able to follow her that way out of our garden.

The garden recovered after they left and the only evidence of them ever having been there is the big file of photos I've kept.

I made a few videos of them and they're on my YouTube channel.

Not yet able to post YouTube links.

Here's one I took at night and set to music. We've a security light on the back of the shed which they set off. But weren't bothered about it.

Check out


We didn't see them again. But we got reports of the cubs having occasionally a bit of a dig in a few neighbours' gardens. Although Fiona came back towards the end of last year just once, to check out her old den. (Those are the photos at the head of this thread, but we recognised her and she us)

But after they left, I put a mesh screened wooden frame over the entrance, so she'd have to go elsewhere. Not many neighbours liked it when they found out we had foxes.A lot of rubbish in the press about foxes. But once you've got them, what choice do you have? You aren't going to shoot them are you? They have a tough enough short, life if they survive.

"I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like 'em myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings." (Philip Marlowe to Vivian Rutledge).
[Last edited by DoghouseRiley - Feb 9, 2019 12:30 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1905491 (1)
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1
Feb 9, 2019 11:05 AM CST
Thank you for the outstanding photos! They are around here, but much more wary of humans. They never hang around if they see us or our dog.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California
Plant Identifier
Feb 9, 2019 11:15 AM CST
Story and photos are both excellent! Thank you for sharing! Thumbs up
"The Tropic of Trafford" (in (Zone 8a)
Feb 9, 2019 12:27 PM CST
plantmanager said:Thank you for the outstanding photos! They are around here, but much more wary of humans. They never hang around if they see us or our dog.

The wife of the couple who live in the house whose garden backs onto ours, actually came round and complained about a fox constantly coming out of our garden into their garden. Fiona sometimes jumped up on the pagoda and got out of our the garden that way. She had two girls between the ages of six and ten who often played in the garden. She wanted to know what I was going to do about it.

"Well, I'm not going to shoot it." I didn't tell her about the cubs.

I said "Have you ever seen the fox in your garden when your kids have been in it?"

She had to agree that she hadn't.

I said "You won't, they're even wary of cats."

I think there's generations of foxes that are really just scavengers, plenty of fast-food shop bins in our village to raid and anyway, I was feeding "ours." But I didn't tell her that either!

This is the bit of the side fence Fiona and the cubs used to get out of the garden. They had to jump off the top of the lamp, put their paws on the top rail then scrabble up the waneylap panels, then drop over. There's a few claw marks on them.

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I had to lay fine concrete mix in this gap between the tea-house and the fence then top it with mortar. The wooden screen had to be really strong, and the chicken wire doubled over, or she would have been back in again last year.

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The frame is only secured to the building with three screws, so I can easily remove it if I ever need to remove any leaves that get under the side skirts, in the two inch gaps between them and the path on the three other sides.

"I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like 'em myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings." (Philip Marlowe to Vivian Rutledge).
[Last edited by DoghouseRiley - Feb 9, 2019 2:42 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1905549 (4)
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Dog Lover Birds
Feb 13, 2019 1:02 PM CST
I very much enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing. I tip my hat to you.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~

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