The unstoppable advance of the fox
The night fighter with its beautiful bushy tail can also be found in urban areas. He has been hunted for centuries, just like the wolf. Nevertheless, this canine has always managed to adapt to the circumstances, as evidenced by the fact that of all predators the fox has the largest distribution area. The predicate ?? cunning fox ?? did not just come to him. But dark times are looming for this predator. How to proceed with the fox has also acquired political weight.
- The fox is easy to recognize
- Pointed ears
- Hearing and touch hair
- Special eyes
- Chicken coop
- Habitat and distribution of the fox
- The fox in the Netherlands
- Important characteristics of the fox (Vulpus vulpus)
- The fox and the human
- Controversial fox hunt
- Foxhunt advocates claim
- The opponents of the fox hunt claim
- Who is right?
The fox is easy to recognize
The Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is both an omnivore and a hunter pur sang. He is easy to recognize by his canine head and usually very beautiful bushy tail, which can be 30 to 50 centimeters long. Its coat shows a variety of colors. Most foxes are reddish brown. However, some can also have bright red fur. Or silver gray and even black. In addition to the typical ?? red fox ?? all kinds of color variants are possible.
Characteristic are also the pointed ears, black on the back, the white upper lip and mouth and the narrow muzzle. Hunters call the foxtail “wick”. Especially in winter this tail can be strikingly beautiful. Foxes bark and yelp, but they can also howl ‘horribly’.
Hearing and touch hair
The fox has phenomenal hearing. Compared to his smell and hearing sense however, he sees relatively poorly. Few people know that the fox not only has whiskers on its snout, but also on its legs. They come in handy when he goes out hunting at night.
The fox is well equipped as a night hunter. The eyes are specially adapted for hunting. Usually he is looking for between midnight and dusk prey. Behind the light-sensitive eye cells is another layer of cells (tapetum lucidum), which re-reflects the light entering the eye. In the dark, the eyes glow green.
The fox is a solitary, opportunistic, agile and intelligent, cunning hunter. It usually only hunts at night. During the day he also wants to go out sometimes, but then he has to walk undisturbed to feel. In fact, he eats anything that gets his paws. From rodents (mice), rabbits, birds (including chickens) and even hedgehogs to berries, carrion, waste, insects and fallen fruit. Furthermore, earthworms are an important part of its menu. He also does not hesitate to rob birds’ nests when he gets the chance.
If he manages to gain access to an animal cage, and the chickens or other poultry have nowhere to go, he can cause a ruthless slaughter there. That has partly given him a bad name. Although the fox does not hoard, it occasionally buries food scraps if it wants to enjoy it again later. He stalks his prey and is an excellent sprinter, easily reaching 60 km / h.
Outside the rut and mating season, in the winter, the fox lives solitary. He then spends much of the day in his cave or aboveground hideout. The males and females are most fertile for a week at most. The gestation period is over 50 days. The throwing takes place between March and May. A litter contains between four and six cubs. In a good biotope ?? for example when there are few other foxes and a lot of prey lives ?? the throws can be larger and more frequent. Since the life expectancy of the fox is relatively short, the bitches give birth three times on average. The male can usually provide offspring only once.
Shortly before the throw, the male is no longer allowed to enter the hole. Often times aunts and sisters act as “maternity assistants” and “educators”. Thus all bitches gain experience. After the delivery, the male constantly drags food. Two weeks later do the woolly cubs their eyes open and after four weeks they leave the hole. In the fall, they are just as heavy as their parents and seek out their own hunting ground and territory. However, the mortality rate among the young foxes is high. Foxes in the wild can live to be nine years old, but most live no more than two.
Habitat and distribution of the fox
The fox is native to Europe, North America and Asia, basically all of the Northern Hemisphere. Varying from the polar regions to deep in the North African countries on the Mediterranean. In the countryside he can account for up to 2000 hectares. He was deported in Australia in the mid-19th century. There he is now regarded as an exotic that many ecological damage causes. Thanks to its enormous adaptability and cunning, the fox as a species is not endangered. A harsh winter can decimate the stock decisively. However, there is a trend going on; in inhabited areas their numbers are increasing.
The fox in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, one has to look for the fox in relatively higher areas, such as in Limburg, the eastern provinces and Utrecht. This species is also well represented in the dunes. All in all, it can be said that the fox in almost all habitats occurs: in the forest, the park, on arable land, but also in heath and peat areas. And not to forget on the outskirts of villages and cities, especially in transition areas of biotopes. After all, this is where the fox finds the most food and feels protected.
Important characteristics of the fox (Vulpus vulpus)
The fox belongs to the order of the Carnivora (predators), the family of the Canidae (canids) and sex Vulpes. The species is called Vulpes vulpes and is not an endangered species.
- Length: male average 110 cm, female average 108 cm.
- Head-body length: 60-80 cm.
- Shoulder height: 35-40 cm.
- Weight: male 6 kg and heavier, bitch 5 kg and heavier.
- Food: rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, earthworms, insects, fruits.
- Sexually mature: after 10 months.
- Mating season: January.
- Gestation period: 50-60 days.
- Number of throws: 1 per year.
- Number of young per litter: 4-6.
- Life expectancy: on average 2-9 years.
The fox and the human
The fox has been hunted since time immemorial, just like the wolf. And not only for its beauty fur. In England there are dogs specially bred for fox hunting. The fox can also be a carrier of the rabies virus. This epidemic disease, which is also dangerous to humans, is still not controlled in neighboring countries, despite the fact that the fox has always been hunted and the number has been decimated by shooting and gassing out burrows. In addition, the nuisance caused by the fox in Maas and Waal, for example, is becoming ever greater.
According to Wildbeheer, the floodplains are a breeding ground for the fox, because hunting is not allowed there. At high tide, the animal then moves to the built-up bowls and loots the chicken run. Apparently the consequences for poultry farmers are major. After all, many have stopped keeping chickens, turkeys and geese. The fox is a culture follower, according to insiders. become. In other words, the fox is advancing towards the city. Fox families seem to live in the backyards of houses in Oosterbeek and elsewhere.
Controversial fox hunt
Can the fox be hunted? Opinions are strongly divided. Hunting associations suggest that the fox should rightly be prosecuted all year round because it causes much damage to wildlife and agriculture, among many other reasons. In other words, the animal is on the national exemption list. The Animal Protection does not consider this a good measure, because according to this association, the policy, such as the permitted fox hunting to improve the breeding success of meadow birds, is ineffective.
Foxhunt advocates claim
- Those who hunt the fox protect the meadow birds.
- The fox is a carrier of parasites (tapeworm) and diseases, including rabies.
- Fauna in general is at risk in all respects if the fox is not hunted. This applies to chickens, pheasants, hares, rabbits, but also to meadow birds.
- The fox kills more than it needs and is driven by gluttony.
- In the Netherlands there is little or no place for real predators, such as the wolf, the lynx and … the fox, who also have no natural enemies. Hunting compensates for this and ensures balance in nature.
The opponents of the fox hunt claim
- The fox catches pests, including voles, voles and rats. The damage the pests cause is far greater than what the fox supposedly does for mischief.
- Poultry farmers who see their cages looted need to make more solid runs.
- There’s no need to kill foxes. After all, the number is regulated by the presence of prey and other food.
- Explaining vaccinated bait will keep rabies in check. Policy in the Netherlands and Belgium has now proven this.
- Killing foxes to reduce numbers is ineffective. After all, if their biotope is good, the survivors will provide more offspring.
Who is right?
Many believe that the proponents’ arguments are scientifically incorrect. Still others disagree. For consideration, it can be said that the occasional killing of chickens by foxes can be prevented with a proper, buried fence. In general, the fox avoids inhabited areas. However, the reality shows that people who live in the outskirts and centers of towns and cities, and suffer from fox families, have little use for that claim. After all, the inconvenience can be great. They will have to take measures, such as a sturdy cage for their chickens and not leaving garbage bags outside at night.
Rabies is very rare in the Netherlands, in contrast to Germany, France and Wallonia. Shooting foxes does not appear to be a good method of controlling the disease. Also, a slope does not prevent the fox tapeworm spreads. Moreover, the risk of infection in humans is very small. Especially people who come into direct contact with foxes should take precautions to avoid tapeworm infestation, such as wearing disposable gloves.