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Fox attack! Really?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#21 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » June 9th, 2010, 5:24 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

jaywhat wrote:Take your point Emma and I feel a bit like that, but these things are presumably being said privately - sort of.
Well, not really. Not just privately, anyway. These comments can easily be found by Googling. The Mumsnet ones are easily found, and they have a lot in common with this thread.

I think part of the problem may have been that John Bryant and Terry Nutkins expressed their doubts about the attack without knowing that Pauline Koupparis had said that she saw the fox. John Bryant has since said that he thinks it must have been a cub attracted by the smell of the nappies, and Nutkins is now referring to the attack as "one isolated incident". But their initial comments have fed the suspicion.

Emma

Marian
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#22 Post by Marian » June 9th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Emma, I'm not saying the mother is lying. I don't know that for sure and you're probably right that evidence will come to light one way or another. In the mean-time, her story is a bit far-fetched whether the reporters capitalized on that or not. I also understand that foxes are a bit of trouble in urban centres. That being said, the parents must have known that to be the case. They are responsible for the welfare of the babies since they can't defend themselves and leaving the doors open was irresponsible unless they were completely ignorant of the foxes. And if we are going to go with far-fetched, then I suppose I could throw out there that the possibility of those babies being snatched by human interlopers is reasonable.

I'm sure the parents feel badly although we've heard neither hide nor hair of the dad. He's conspicuously absent in this whole affair. Not even there supporting his wife. In my mind, it's equally likely the children have been abused as attacked by a fox because I've nothing else to go on but what is reasonable. Sure, weird stuff happens and I'll be the first to admit I was wrong if evidence comes out.
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Nick
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#23 Post by Nick » June 9th, 2010, 7:49 pm

I really don't think we can accuse anyone of not thinking of foxes before leaving the french windows open. The next thing we'll hear is of some poor kid who couldn't get out because the french windows were shut. Sometimes the unfortunate happens. Do we really want our lives governed by fear?

Marian
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#24 Post by Marian » June 9th, 2010, 8:21 pm

Nick wrote:I really don't think we can accuse anyone of not thinking of foxes before leaving the french windows open. The next thing we'll hear is of some poor kid who couldn't get out because the french windows were shut. Sometimes the unfortunate happens. Do we really want our lives governed by fear?
That's just being silly about the kid. If foxes are an issue in your neighborhood and you leave the doors open, then you meet the consequences of your bad decisions. Yes, shit happens but a lot of the time, if we put some forethought into it, then we can avoid a very great deal. We often bring shit down on our own heads and then blame everyone/thing else.

It's not about being governed by fear. It's about making intelligent decisions when we are faced with a certain set of circumstances and we are responsible for others, especially little ones. If you live on a boat, do you put life jackets on your kids? Of course. You don't say, 'oh dear, look the water came and swallowed them up.'
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getreal
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#25 Post by getreal » June 9th, 2010, 10:46 pm

This incident seems to have unearthed a lot of claims about "nuisance" urban foxes. People are appearing all oover the TV and radio, claiming their lives are made intolerable by urban foxes. Really? Why have we never heard these views before? One London resident claimed that they had repeatedly made complaints to the council about the potential danger these urbanised foxes posed to the community (on radio 4 this morning). The reporter ended the piece by stating that they had approached the relevant council, who stated they had never had any complaints about foxes.

We have no real evidence that this was in fact a fox attack. The police will only state that it was an "alleged" fox attack. It seems much more likely (as, I think Nick said) this was a cat and in the confusion the mum thought it was a fox.

Unfortunatly, this has whipped up a whole lot of chatter amoungst the green welly brigade. Unpleasant chatter.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Nick
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#26 Post by Nick » June 10th, 2010, 12:48 pm

Marian wrote:
Nick wrote:I really don't think we can accuse anyone of not thinking of foxes before leaving the french windows open. The next thing we'll hear is of some poor kid who couldn't get out because the french windows were shut. Sometimes the unfortunate happens. Do we really want our lives governed by fear?
That's just being silly about the kid. If foxes are an issue in your neighborhood and you leave the doors open, then you meet the consequences of your bad decisions. Yes, shit happens but a lot of the time, if we put some forethought into it, then we can avoid a very great deal. We often bring shit down on our own heads and then blame everyone/thing else.

It's not about being governed by fear. It's about making intelligent decisions when we are faced with a certain set of circumstances and we are responsible for others, especially little ones. If you live on a boat, do you put life jackets on your kids? Of course. You don't say, 'oh dear, look the water came and swallowed them up.'
I think the distinction here is to worry excessively. Trying to think of every conceivable danger. Certainly, if foxes are a problem in your area, then one might come into the house in search of food, say. It would be rational keep food out of the way or the door shut. But no-one has ever heard of a fox attacking babies before.

And certainly I agree that we do live in too much of a blame culture these days.

Caterpillar
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#27 Post by Caterpillar » June 10th, 2010, 1:21 pm

I often leave my back door open while I am upstairs or in the kitchen when the weather is good. I don't have any children, but I think I would probably still do this if I did because it never occurred to me before that a fox might come in. (And I live in a suburban area where foxes are about.)

The incident does seem a bit odd, but who knows why the mother is reacting as she is. Do we know what is a "normal" reaction to having your children savaged by a fox? Maybe she is vulnerable right now and is being taken advantage of by the media. Maybe she feels determined that what happened should be publicised to prevent something similar (or worse) happening to another person's child.

It is a weird situation, but we probably need to leave it to those who actually know the details to establish whether there is blame to be placed.

Marian
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#28 Post by Marian » June 10th, 2010, 1:30 pm

Actually, I often see people shift the blame to this, that and the other thing. Anywhere but themselves. I see more people trying to avoid responsibility but perhaps that's a North American phenomenon, especially since litigation seems to be quite popular over here. Although more so in the US.

Incessant worry isn't helpful but it is a parent's job to look out for the potential pitfalls especially with babies. Any wild animal has the potential to be harmful.

Caterpillar, I was thinking that perhaps the other issue is where one lives. I wouldn't dream of leaving my back door open here in the city and not because of the smaller wild animals...I was thinking of the two-legged kind. :)
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Dave B
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#29 Post by Dave B » June 10th, 2010, 5:17 pm

Marian said:
Any wild animal has the potential to be harmful.
Make that "any animal has the potential to be harmful" Marian! All domestic pets still have something of the atavistic in their makeup. Gold fish are not normally a problem, but a hamster attacked me once, unprovoked as far as I can see (but then I do not think like a hamster - well, not often!) I treated it as I would have done a dog bite, even furry little pets harbour nasty oral flora!
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Marian
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#30 Post by Marian » June 10th, 2010, 5:38 pm

Dave B wrote:Make that "any animal has the potential to be harmful" Marian! All domestic pets still have something of the atavistic in their makeup.
True but the discussion with Nick was about wild animals specifically.
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Paolo
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#31 Post by Paolo » June 11th, 2010, 8:51 am

Urban foxes are often hand-fed and entirely familiar with people, so I have no difficulty seeing why one might have been wandering around a house in search of food. However, an urban foxes are not tame or domesticated - they can become aggressive or dangerous quite unpredictably, particularly younger adults or females with cubs. I've been bitten by a young male before - the fox was calm and it was only after it bit me that it suddenly ran or gave any indication of being aggressive (I remained motionless throughout). Foxes are not trained in an effort to stop them from eating food where they find it and a baby is pretty obviously food to a predatory mammal, although at the upper limit of the foxes prey size range.

I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often, given the huge number of foxes in cities and the number of people that will feed them by hand near their open back doors. Foxes may be cute, but they are also one of the UK's few predators that pose a risk to infants and people need to bear that in mind when they encourage them to overcome their fear of humans.

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jaywhat
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#32 Post by jaywhat » June 11th, 2010, 9:34 am

Thanks for that, Paolo.

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getreal
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#33 Post by getreal » June 11th, 2010, 1:14 pm

they are also one of the UK's few predators that pose a risk to infants
Since when were foxes considered a danger to children?

Simon King said that in his 36 years of experience he has never heard anything like this (it was on Springwatch, the other night).
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Mike
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#34 Post by Mike » June 13th, 2010, 10:38 am

getreal wrote:Unfortunatly, this has whipped up a whole lot of chatter amoungst the green welly brigade. Unpleasant chatter.
Exactly my point. Whether the story is true or not (and for me the Jury is out on that) the hunting, shooting and bloodthirsty b******s brigade are milking this for all it's worth. And, with some Tories determined to repeal the Hunting Bill, the timing of (whatever creature it was) could not have been worse.

Marian
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#35 Post by Marian » June 14th, 2010, 2:07 am

From Newsarse:

Across the country large groups of immaculately-attired horseback vigilantes have bravely proclaimed that they will not rest until they have apprehended and brought to justice the vicious fox accused of attacking 9 month-old twin girls in East London.
“We have trained for years for just such an incident, and let me tell you, there is nobody better than us at bringing evil foxes to justice whilst blowing horns and looking spiffing.”
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Paolo
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#36 Post by Paolo » June 14th, 2010, 8:37 am

getreal wrote:
they are also one of the UK's few predators that pose a risk to infants
Since when were foxes considered a danger to children?

Simon King said that in his 36 years of experience he has never heard anything like this (it was on Springwatch, the other night).
Since when were wild carnivores capable of killing 10kg lambs (ref), living in close proximity to humans, not considered a risk to infants? Foxes are opportunistic predators, they target easy prey and I suggest the main reason they haven't attacked infants more often is because the opportunity hasn't arisen. Urban foxes have only recently become so reliant on getting food from humans as councils have switched to wheelie bins and people feed the skinny foxes that they see in their gardens, this has created an environment where the opportunity can arise.

The fact is that foxes are perfectly capable of killing and eating a human infant should the opportunity arise and the wishy-washy sentiments that many people have about foxes (largely due to their overly-positive portrayal in the media by people like Simon King) are misplaced - they are one of the UK's top natural predators and they should be treated and considered with caution.

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Dave B
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#37 Post by Dave B » June 14th, 2010, 10:41 am

I agree with Paolo about the excessive emotional regard shown to foxes (and badgers if it comes to that), it annoys me that some feed the pigeons and seagulls in Gloucester, it makes them bold enough to approach other people and, with the gulls, try to steal food from the hand - very frightening for kids. It also means that diseased and injured animals and birds, who would normally suffer a quick natural death, may linger on for a lot longer. I appreciate nature and wish to preserve it, but prefer keep it as natural as possible, not an extension of our love for almost totally unnatural, humanised, pets.

But my experience with animals seems to inform me that though they can become habituated to some people they may still be very wary of strangers. It might be that a starving animal may get over this natural caution, may even put itself in a position where it may become trapped.

I wonder whether the people in the house might have encouraged foxes, left food for them so that their daughters could watch the "lovely little fox" through the window? This would have made it more bold in their territory.

Pure speculation of course, and also quite natural (but mainly modern and urban) human behaviour if it is so; but "natural" is not always "sensible" where humans are concerned.
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Paolo
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#38 Post by Paolo » June 14th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Dave B wrote:I wonder whether the people in the house might have encouraged foxes, left food for them so that their daughters could watch the "lovely little fox" through the window? This would have made it more bold in their territory.

Pure speculation of course, and also quite natural (but mainly modern and urban) human behaviour if it is so; but "natural" is not always "sensible" where humans are concerned.
This is along the lines of what I was thinking may have happened. Feeding wild animals is a bad idea if it teaches the animal that humans are safe, because:
1) not all humans are safe for animals to approach and;
2) wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous when approached.

The trouble is that people don't think about the wider effect of their actions. I have no fear of being attacked by a fox, because I am confident that I could fight one off with ease, so I can afford to feed a fox by hand with little fear of personal harm. However, a small child would not be able to fight off an attacking fox with ease, so it would be irresponsible to teach a fox that humans provide food, if it is possible that the fox will encounter a small child (as is the case in the modern urban environment, where foxes and toddlers share gardens). Better to shoo off foxes in gardens so they get used to the idea that humans are unfriendly and not good sources of food.

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Dave B
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#39 Post by Dave B » June 14th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Paolo said:
Better to shoo off foxes in gardens so they get used to the idea that humans are unfriendly and not good sources of food.
Yes, at the rescue centre it was standard practice to make a lot of noise when approaching the pens, especially the fox and badger ones, to frighten the occupants into hiding (good, natural, hiding places were always available) to ensure habituation was at a minimum.

At the other animal centre birds that were being raised for wild release were never allowed to see a human without a disguise, camouflage, of some sort when being fed. One does not want a buzzard, with its flesh ripping talons, landing on an unprotected arm when one is actually trying to shoo it off - raising the arm is an invitation to habituated birds!
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getreal
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#40 Post by getreal » June 15th, 2010, 1:24 am

I really think all this is hysterical chatter. AFAIK there has NEVER been a confirmed case of a fox attacking a human in the UK (please let me know if anyone knows different)

We may as well say that badgers, wildcats, polecats, otters pose a threat to infants. There are all preditors with big sharp teeth who can bite.

Statistics on dog attacks make worrying reading.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Fox attack! Really?

#41 Post by Alan H » June 15th, 2010, 11:02 am

getreal wrote:AFAIK there has NEVER been a confirmed case of a fox attacking a human in the UK (please let me know if anyone knows different)
From the BBC (so it must be true!):

Baby 'attacked by fox'
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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