An insomniac fox from the neighbourhood stopped by in broad daylight today to, perhaps, offer thanks for his nightly feasting.
|Y a w n ... A fox can't sleep so why not visit the dining table extra early, just in case.|
However, come dawn, a pair of magpies, collar doves, and nesting sparrows and finches, make short work of any leftovers.
Or, very sadly, it might be that he wanted to show off the ghastly attack of mange that is eating way his fur coat.
Very smart fur coats
About three years ago, animal specialist Sue Pell gave me some medication that cured the mange.
It enabled several members of the local fox group to wear their own very smart fur coats again, and hopefully gained an extension of life, too.
When I asked Bristol University's mammal group The Fox Website how long urban foxes live, I learned that only a quarter of them make even their second year. Very few last beyond their sixth birthday.
It seems likely then that the present generation has arrived since the earlier mange treatment.
|Waiter! ... A fox diner turns up for an early snack, or perhaps the mange on his back is making him a very unhappy insomniac. The appearance was so brief, there was no time to grab my excellent Pentax camera.|
I like to think that the varied diet I offer each night - mostly good food for domestic cats and dogs - gives them the chance to outlive most of their unpampered neighbours.
Ignoring the healthy food
However, when a neighbour throws out bread rolls, as happens regularly, the critters ignore the healthy food and dash instead for the sugary carbs.
The suffering that mange causes my day visitor makes for really grim reading. 'Heavily infected individuals suffer from fur-loss and develop a thick crust of parasite wastage on the skin surface.
'Animals have been known to chew their own tails off trying to relieve the itching.
'At advanced stages of the disease, infected individuals are often seen wandering around during the daytime, especially in cold weather; the infected animals try to maintain their body temperature seeking warm places, such as buildings.
'Death may arise from a wide variety of causes, including starvation and hypothermia,' The Fox Website states.
All about foxes