DG Wildlife by Dalia Kvedaraite and Giedrius Stakauskas | Fox Photography or How We Photographed Urban Foxes

Fox Photography or How We Photographed Urban Foxes

April-July, 2016

We never dreamed about getting up close to red foxes. Our love story with foxes started when we moved to a suburb of London. We started observing these animals visiting our garden from the comfort of our home and soon were able to distinguish between individual foxes. So we we named them "Paw", "Beauty",  "Mom", "Fuzzy" and etc. They are all with their individual characters and in that regard they are no different from us - humans.

The feeling that the animal trusts you is very special. At the beginning when foxes saw as in the garden, they were a bit cautious.  But after some time they allowed us close to them.  Especially "Paw" and "Oldie" showed very curious and brave personalities.

They even did not mind to fall asleep in near us.

The whole photographic experience was very excited. We did not have time for anything else; after work we used to rush straight to the garden for the evening with the foxes. We simply loved being with them. 

We used several lenses. At the beginning when the foxes were more cautious or when we wanted to photograph portraits we used Canon 500 mm f4 and 300 mm f2.8, later we experimented with wide angle lenses. 

On discovering our camera equipment, foxes were very excited and at the same time they gave as good photo opportunities.

Close-up of a Red FoxClose-up of a Red Fox Foxes visited our garden every single day. They have not done much damage to the plants, just from time to time the younger ones used to dig up couple of bulbs. On the other hand, we have noticed that they enjoyed a whiff or two from a blossom.

Fox Smelling  FlowerFox Smelling Flower

We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to observe such a fascinating and interesting animal as the Red fox.

More about the project 'Fox the Photographer' please read this blog.



That will make you think...

People have mixed  feelings about foxes. All this controversy which surrounds urban foxes encouraged us to dig deeper and read articles and material by wildlife experts Prof. Stephen Harris, Dr. Dawn Scott, Chris Packham, Dr. Phil Baker and others. Mammal research group and fox website were brilliant source of information as well.

  • Media likes to put such headlines as "the fox population is exploding and we're overrun". The University of Bristol's Mammal Research Unit says that contrary to what some people might expect, little has changed since the last national census in the 1980's, which found about 33,000 urban foxes across Britain. That compares with about 225,000 adult rural foxes. Professor Stephen Harris, an expert in urban foxes, says that "there has not been much change in the fox population in the last 60 years". Dr Phil Baker, an expert on urban foxes at the University of Reading, agrees with the analysis. Fox population is self-regulating; foxes annually replace their lost numbers and may not breed at all if numbers are already optimal. Animal behavior experts says it's possible we are seeing more of foxes, as they are becoming more accustomed to humans and getting braver. Foxes are not aggressive by nature which we can confirm from our observations.
  • Media stories of foxes biting babies are usually exaggerated or invented as a means of diverting attention from a more embarrassing truth. According to Fox Project, of the three high profile ‘fox bites baby’ stories, one was discounted by medical evidence and subsequently ascribed to the family’s own dog; despite numerous offers of assistance, wildlife experts were denied access to the second, where rumors persisted about a family dog that ‘suddenly went missing’; and some within the media have privately informed the Fox Project that they remain dubious about the circumstances surrounding the third.
  • Let's assume the stories were true; fact is the rate of attacks from foxes is nothing compared to attacks from pet dogs and cats. To give some sense of proportion, up to a quarter of a million people are injured and even killed each year in the UK by pet dogs, over 6000 of them requiring hospital treatment. Eighteen people, mainly young children, have been killed by dogs since 2005 and in the first six weeks of 2014 alone, three people were killed by domestic dogs. Thousands more people are treated annually for cat bites and scratches. A few are even killed by bee stings and stampeding cattle. How many people were killed by a fox?
  • Sometimes people tell us that they do not like foxes because they look ugly and sick. A scruffy looking fox it is not necessarily an ill fox. When moulting in spring, foxes look quite rough but this does not mean they are mangy. Foxes do not carry rabies in the UK.
  • So what diseases can foxes carry? Doctors routinely warn pregnant women of the dangers of toxoplasmosis. The disease can be found in almost all warm blooded birds and animals, but the only animal that Toxoplasmosis oocysts (A cyst containing a cell) can reproduce is the domestic cat. Toxocara is a nematode roundworm for which most dogs are regularly treated, and it can also be carried by foxes. Annually, only around 20 people are diagnosed with toxocareasis in the UK, the last significant infection being 27 years ago. No case has ever been ascribed to a fox. Both pet cats and dogs may carry toxocara. Foxes may suffer from sarcoptic mange. The mite may produce a mild allergic reaction similar to nettle rash in humans and is much more likely to arise from contact with an affected pet dog than from a fox, with which few humans have direct contact.
  • Some people say that foxes kill their cats. It's possible for a fox to kill a cat but it is very unlikely. Foxes and cats meet many times every night, and ignore each other. From our observations we would say that foxes and cats have a mutual respect for one another. On couple occasions we have noticed a cat teasing a fox in our garden, on another occasion a fox was badly scared by a cat. 


Even if there are so many different and controversial thoughts about the Red fox, we hope that images showing the curious and beautiful side of urban foxes will find a special place in everyone's heart.



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