On the trail of the cunning fox

FELIXSTOWE editor RICHARD CORNWELL goes on the trail of the fox that has made its home on the resort's seafront to see if he can find his beachside pad.

FELIXSTOWE editor RICHARD CORNWELL goes on the trail of the fox that has made its home on the resort's seafront to see if he can find his beachside pad.

WHERE is Felixstowe's pub-crawling fox living?

That was the big question today as more details emerged of the lifestyle of the creature who has made the resort's seafront his home - far from the rural wilds where his relatives reside.

It seems the fox is not just a regular at Bar 129 and The Alex in Undercliff Road West, he has regularly been seen by residents and is well-known to anglers on the beach.

The fishermen say the fellow is partial to tit-bits from their hooks and they often see him prowling around looking for scraps, as tame as a domestic cat or dog.

But where is the creature living?

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What bijou apartment has he found just a stone's throw from the shore?

Most residents say they believe there are two choices - the steep back garden of one of the seafront homes built into the cliffs, or the Spa Gardens with their maze of flower beds, bushes and hidey holes.

Foxes are notorious for hiding their dens well and the Spa Gardens have plenty of space and places to hide.

On one set of steps there was a tell-tale sign of a fox on Christmas Eve - a cluster of feathers spattered on the concrete. One less seagull. It could though just as easily have been a cat.

Being a clever and resourceful animal, picking off a seagull or two would not be beyond him - despite their size, he could easily lay low on the beach and snatch one with his element of surprise.

He is said to appear about 3pm and then disappear again until later in the evening, about 9.30pm, when he makes another appearance.

One seafront resident said: “I would think the most likely place is the Spa Gardens - especially if the fishermen have seen him.

“I haven't seen him but my neighbour said he came from the Spa direction.”

Bar 129 customer Chris Strang, of Quilter Road, Felixstowe, said: “I was with some friends having a Christmas drink when the fox wandered in searching for scraps and showed no fear as it sat under our table and then wandered around the bar,” he said.

“It was bizarre - people did a double-take. It was so tame people even stroked it.”

Do you know where the fox is living? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FOX FACTS:

Red foxes are widespread in Britain - typically found in woodland and open country, but their presence in urban areas is increasing.

In folklore they have a reputation for being sly and cunning.

They are opportunist feeders and eat insects, earthworms, fruit, berries, wild birds, small mammals and scraps left by humans.

Seen from a distance, the fox might appear as a large animal but in fact, foxes are rather small - in Britain, an average fox is a little bigger than a pet cat. Length of head and body is about 70cm with a 42cm tail.

Captive foxes can live up to about 14 years, comparable to domestic dogs, but in the wild they rarely live more than a couple of years.

Vixens give birth to four to seven cubs in a den (also called an earth), one litter a year, after a gestation period of 50 days. The cubs are weaned after seven to nine weeks.

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