Of all the foxes who visit the garden, there is one whose years with us match those of several others combined; who has taught me more about fox behaviour, language and learning ability than another other, and who makes up a sizeable percentage of all pictures on this blog!
No need to say who it is, of course
May Day 2006
I actually have no idea who the Old Dogfox's parents were, or even if he was born locally. Foxes can disperse hefty distances from their natal territory. In any case, the first evidence of his presence here dates from 2001, when he was filmed nosing about the garden...but unfortunately, despite a lengthy search, I haven't been able to find it However, I have found something else that I will upload tomorrow
Anyway, I was at university 2001 - 05, and did not really know him as an individual at this stage; my long stays in East Anglia interfered with fox watching! However, my mother emailed me pictures of a large greyish fox who, even then, was digging holes in the lawn.
5th March 2005
By November, I was back home and sufficently familar with "the dogfox" to identify him even outside of the garden. I snapped this picture in what is now the Territory Next Door, where the meadow foxes are currently found. It's not uncommon for fox territorial boundaries to slide - the territory size remains the same but the boundaries themselves shift. I wonder where it will eventually end up
20th November 2005
As I mentioned on the Survivor Vixen's biography, the winter of 2005 - 06 was rather a difficult one thanks to a mange outbreak. Unlike the SV, the Old Dogfox did not have to be trapped and taken to wildlife rehab. Instead, his visits were reliable enough for him to be fed ivermectin wrapped in cheese, and other treats. One dose weekly for three weeks cured him. Also unlike the SV, his mange was concentrated on his rump, and he lost all fur on his brush. It took a very long time to grow back. I've had several questions on my YouTube videos about his apparently shaven tail!
Here, the fur has started to regrow.
29th March 2006
He has interacted with a variety of other animals, from those crazy magpies (direct link; if the video below appears grey, please press F5 to refresh your browser)...
2005 ...to Leila, as we have seen more recently. 18th August 2006
But foxes, first and foremost, exist in a world of other foxes. I do not know how many cubs have belonged to him over the years, but my hunch is that many foxes around this part of the village carry his genes. I wish I could do genetic analysis to estimate an actual percentage.
Then, also, are the rivals. Some have seemed to have had the better of him for a while; he disappeared for several months when One-Eye first arrived. He also initially seemed disturbed by the presence of a large, young male whom I dubbed "the Interloper" back in 2006. However, after the intruder sustained an eye injury, the Old Dogfox took complete control, expressing his dominance with ritual arching of back and biting of hedgerow.
The Interloper - 22nd August 2006
These days, of course, he is an almost daily visitor, as my blog records show. He has slight cataracts but otherwise seems to be in good health. Perhaps his generally easy-going attitude helps!
Max nested elements reached Max nested elements reached