Monday, April 23, 2012

The fox in the henhouse is the least of our problems

Last week, a nine year old English boy came home from the playground and found that a fox had made itself at home in his second floor bedroom. The animal appeared to be in rather poor condition, but it wasn't feeling too bad to be picky, since there was evidence it had tried the master bedroom and found it wanting before settling down.

The mother proclaimed herself "shocked" and reportedly closed the door and called the RSPCA, but being good 21st-century people, somewhere along the line someone had the presence of mind to take the photo above.

This is the second time this year we've reported on a fox sauntering into a house and taking over a human bed. The previous case was a bit more of a shock since the woman of the house was still in the bed at the time.

And that woman got off much more easily than one back in September who awoke and felt something tugging at her hair and then biting her ear. Those of you who are cat owners will understand her initial reaction: "I screamed and swore at the cat at the end of my bed."

But after taking care of the wound and coming back to bed, she realized she'd misplaced the blame: she felt the tugging again and opened her eyes to see a fox.

Cats perhaps deserve more of the blame in a case from January: A fox got into a woman's house in the middle of the night, and when she tried to chase it off because she feared for the safety of her pet cats, it bit the tip off her finger.

Keeping foxes out of one's house is apparently difficult, and even if you manage to do so, you're not safe in public anyway. As we saw last month, a fox mugged a man for a loaf of garlic bread in a supermarket parking lot.

Readers in the US might note that all these stories take place in England, but don't let that fool you. In fact, just this past Saturday police in Stonington, Connecticut shot and killed a fox after it attacked two children and was continuing to act aggressively.

At this point there may be fewer reports in the US, but with all the news coverage at least the British seem to be aware they have a problem. In contrast, Connecticut authorities continue to reassure "healthy foxes pose virtually no danger to humans." Perhaps they're comfortable with the risk of wild animals in their bed, but readers of this blog no doubt have higher standards.

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