Suffolk: Rise of the brazen urban fox
One is the symbol of the countryside; fit and fed on plump rabbits, voles and mice.
The second is an altogether more devious character – skulking, fleet-of-paw and scavenging for food in our street bins.
That is the difference between the country fox and town fox.
For some, both are a joy to see – and while town foxes are becoming more common, and more brazen as they patrol our streets and gardens, the sight of its bushy-tailed country cousin is rarer and often fleeting when it happens.
The fabulous photo here of Mr Fox emerging from the reeds on Trimley marshes alongside the River Orwell was captured by Michael Lingley, and uploaded onto our new iwitness24 website.
Mick Wright, manager of the 250-acre Trimley Marshes nature reserve, said there were foxes regularly roaming the Suffolk Wildlife Trust site and evidence could be found of them scavenging all year round.
“My volunteers often see foxes coming out of the reed bed – they are a beautiful and wonderful animal and we love to see them,” he said.
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“We also see them stalking the geese but they don’t catch them. They go round the geese and the geese walk with them and shield them away.
“There is plenty of scavenging though. At this time of the year, birds will die and there are dead birds which the foxes will pick up and take and eat.
“They scavenge earthworms, frogs, and come right across the reserve to get to the shoreline..”
Mr Wright said foxes were persecuted in the countryside and seen as the bad boys.
“The only time we might have a problem with foxes is if we get a colony of ground-nesting birds in the spring, but even then you cannot really interfere too much.”
Colonies of ring plover, common terns and oystercatchers used to breed along the county’s coast from Felixstowe to Lowestoft but not any more – and not because of predators like foxes, but because of disturbance by people, walkers with dogs off leads.
Mr Wright said urban foxes were very different in character to the rural animals – highly-skilled and professional at secreting themselves in gardens and knowing where to find food.
Just this week a fox was seen wandering in Ipswich, trotting down Felixstowe Road. Others have been seen in the town centre and on our beautiful waterfront.