Foxes! Of all the wildlife in this country, foxes hold a special place for many of us, particularly those of us who live in an urban space. They are wild and yet they roam around our gardens in towns and cities, somehow connecting us to that wild part of the countryside – and possibly to ourselves. Although they can sometimes be very cute, they are also most definitely not domesticated, even though they often appear as though they might be. This Vulpes Vulpes visited our garden recently:
Carl von Linne (often known simply by his pre-ennoblement surname, Linnaeus), first described and classified the Red Fox in his Systema Naturæ, published in 1758. The Swedish botanist was the founder of a way to categorise all living organisms which we still use today. He developed a ranked system for categorising and naming organisms called Linnaeus Taxonomy – the word taxonomy comes from ancient Greek and simply means ‘arrangement method’. There are six classifications for all living things; Animal, Plants, Fungi, Protista, Eubacteria, and Archaebacteria. Each animal species has a two-word scientific name that usually combines their genus and species. Foxes are known, scientifically at least, as Vulpes vulpes.
Foxes have attracted and intrigued many authors over the centuries, beginning with Mr. Aesop, author of the famous fables written in the 6th Century BC. He writes about foxes in over 50 of his 600 fables. His representations often depict the fox as intelligent, but also as a creature that cons other animals. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is another example of a fox in literature, but this fox might just make you cry!
None other than George Clooney and Meryl Streep play Mr. and Mrs. Fox in Wes Anderson’s cinematic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Perfect for viewing with older grandchildren and discovering more about the way Mr. and Mrs. Fox are perceived by writers and filmmakers.
The foxes that visit our garden in Bristol don’t seem to mind that we live here too! They come and go at all hours and during mating season make the most horrendous noise. They sound like a woman screaming, so you will know you have fox visitors as they scream in order to communicate. A male screams when it feels threatened, wants to appear strong, or wants to tell another male to stay away. A vixen usually only screams during mating season to attract a mate.
In certain cultures, calling a woman a “vixen” most likely means she’s sexy. If you live in other parts of the world, however, calling someone a vixen implies she’s vicious or hot-tempered. Either way, it’s best to avoid comparing women to animals, but this says a lot about different cultures’ attitudes towards foxes.
Jimmy Hendrix brought us Foxey Lady in the 1970s and if you want to remember that song listen here:
The screech of his guitar does sound a bit like a vixen…
Have a listen and compare…
Foxes are generally shy creatures, but will hang about if they feel like it. They also smell. They like to spray their scent around and it’s not pleasant. I always know when we’ve had a visit from a fox because their odour remains for hours.
These are a few foxes that have visited us recently. As much as I don’t like their smell, and their sounds put me off, there is still something magical when they visit. They do remind us that as much as this is our place, they will stop by whenever they want.
Or simply loll about….
Foxes can’t be tamed, they go where they please and they roam anywhere they want. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Enjoy their visit, but remember, they are WILD!
All images by Kathy Feest.
Kathy Feest has a wealth of experience with writing, leadership and personal development mentoring. Kathy fulfilled her dream at the age of 41 and earned her first University degree; she went on to complete a PhD in Medical Education. She regularly runs self-development workshops at The Joy Club so keep your eyes on our events calendar for one of her next live sessions.