United Kingdom, Foxes, insects, earthworms, small mammals, birds
Foxes are wild animals that scavenge in the urban areas and have over the years adapted to the city environment. They have broad adaptability, are widely distributed and can live in diverse habitats. They usually move in a huge pack in search of food in places where resources are scattered. They can take one day to occupy an area after being eliminated in densely populated urban settings. Thus, it is impossible to create an area that foxes will not infiltrate and expand. Since they are omnivorous, they can easily adapt to any food available. Their diet consists of insects, earthworms, small mammals, birds and foods provided by residents. They breed once per year with an average litter of five cubs.
However, they have a high mortality rate where most die 14 months after birth. The major causes of death are winter, car accidents, bacterial and viral infection and fights with other foxes (Bynum 2004). Majority of urban residents have interacted freely with these animals by allowing them into their compounds and feeding them. As a result, they have lost their fear of human beings and can even enter into people's houses (Gehrt et al. 2010). The essay explores the menace caused by the urban foxes and how to control them. It also discusses the effect of economic and social changes on the fox habitat in urban areas.
[...] On the contrary, their supporters see them as a constant reminder of the wilderness that was teeming with animals before it became a city of concrete structures. In reality, children are more susceptible to be attacked by domestic dogs and other urban pets then by foxes. The new breeds of foxes are many in number and have disregarded human boundaries. The bold ones invade people's homes in search of food and shelter. Due to their overabundance, the urban environment is unable to cater for their food (Downer 2014). Urban foxes are considered dirty, criminal, violent and inadaptable to city life. [...]
[...] Nevertheless, trapped animals cause disturbance in the area due to the protracted screams they make until they are collected. After catching the foxes, it is illegal to relocate them for it is considered as cruelty toward the animals. They are required to be shot dead. Animal rights activists are opposed to trapping of foxes in open public spaces (Wandsworth Council 2007). Fencing is a safe method of deterring foxes from entering homes. Secure fences should be built at least 45cm in the ground, two meters high with a 30 cm overhead at the top. [...]
[...] Moreover, residents might be expected by the Council to pay for the pest control measures. Due to low success rates of the methods used, most households may refuse to support such a program. Legal protection of foxes The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 protects foxes from ill- treatment and abuse of any kind. For example, destroying the areas that the animals live so as to control them is considered an offense under the Act. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides limited protection for fox. [...]
[...] They ruin flower beds, lawns, and shrubs as they mark and protect their territory. Moreover, they bury their food in the ground to hide it from other foxes or conserve it for future when there might be scarcity. Excluding the foxes In considering the case of Wandsworth Council's advice to the residents of the borough is that the most natural and humane method of killing the urban pest, foxes, is to starve them. Another form of controlling them is setting up baited cage traps. [...]
[...] Disadvantages of foxes Foxes are common carriers of sarcoptic mange and internal parasites. However, these diseases do not necessary spread to humans but may be transmitted to other pets when they are not vaccinated or given adequate healthcare. Mange is a skin disease transmitted by a mite that leads to extensive hair loss and untimely death of a pet. They are believed to carry roundworm and echinococcus, which results in hydatid disease. Foxes are also likely to cause Weil's disease which is passed to other pets and human beings through contact with urine. [...]
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