Yes, as you’ll have guessed, the Fox came back. Another tranquil day, and husband said ‘There’s a rabbit!’ This is not unusual in these rural parts, but this time a very small, juvenile rabbit ran hell-for-leather down the garden from the compost heap at the end. Enter Fox from the same direction, confidently but not in urgent pursuit of prey. Nevertheless, you could tell he saw an opportunity not to be passed up. Rabbit made for the cover of a dense low-growing shrub, and disappeared. Fox followed and began circling the bush.
Unlike wildlife film-makers, who make it a policy not to interfere with the course of Nature, we took a rapid decision and, quietly, opened the kitchen door which leads to the garden. Fox paused and I said in a conversational tone (here you have my permission to laugh if you like), ‘Hello, you are a handsome fox, a lovely fox, a very fine fox indeed.’ Fox retained his poise and trotted, not ran, a short distance down the garden, paused and looked back. ‘That’s OK, it’s good to see you.’ After a moment’s consideration, Fox exited at a leisurely pace via the compost heap into the field. Rabbit lay low and we did not see it again until it returned a day later with some of its family.
All of this might be quite picturesque, but leads one to conclude that while we have no objection to foxes per se, and they do of course need to make a living, we would prefer that they left our garden – and our cats – out of their life plan.
OK. Foxes need to live but he’ll have found plenty of prey out there in the fields. He certainly was not desperate for a meal. You might think we should have let things take their course, but encouraging slaughter right here in our domain seemed short-sighted when Cat One and Cat Two believe it is their territory and on-one else’s (which in theory at least is correct).
To follow: the Fox in Winter.