The garden has been busy this morning! The poem in the post below was prompted by the wild yelping, followed by a few foxes running around. However, my speculations were answered pretty swiftly when the pair began mating, right in the middle of the garden! It’s 10:30 am for goodness’ sake…It was pretty fascinating to watch, actually.
There was an open-mouthed behaviour that I first thought was the female telling the male to **ss off, where she held her mouth open and bared her teeth, and he did the same in response. It actually seemed to be more like an, ok are you ready to go again? Gesture.
The whole shindig carried on for quite some time, probably about an hour. I didn’t watch the entire time, but I did get rather nervous when I realized my neighbour’s little cat was hanging out just below our window! The foxes couldn’t have cared less. After a little bit of research it seems that urban foxes don’t tend to go for cats, which is good news and also makes sense–there are an awful lot of cats in this neighbourhood as well as an awful lot of foxes. Some really interesting information about London foxes can be found here.
Unfortunately, while I was observing the mating foxes and doing research about what was going on and their level of threat to the cat, they finished mating. (That’s not the unfortunate part.) When dogs finish mating, they “tie” or get stuck together:
“This is due to the bulbis glandis of the male dog’s penis swelling after it enters the female, thus preventing the male from withdrawing from the female until after the swelling has subsided. This is a completely natural occurrence that can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, and does not hurt either one of the dogs. The worst thing a person can do is to try and pull them apart because that can cause trauma to both dogs.”
Well, trauma may have occurred, because after about five minutes of the “tie,” the neighbour (in the flat below), ran out, clapping her hands and driving the foxes off…The neighbour turned to see her cat, innocently standing by, and made a dramatic gesture of relief.
I wasn’t able to see, but what happened to the poor, post-coital foxes? Did they have to lope off sideways, butts stuck together? Based on the way they were pulling each other around, back-to-back, they were very definitely stuck.
If only the neighbour were more well-informed, she wouldn’t have been so worried about her cat and maybe would have left the foxes alone. Even if foxes did eat cats, they certainly weren’t thinking about food at that point!
Even though I’ve got to adjust to the number of foxes around, I should say that I certainly wouldn’t advocate shooting them. It seems pointless, (and cruel,) as they just breed more and a new fox will take the territory of one that has been “culled”. Once you know what the yipping is, it’s not so bad, though if you don’t know it can certainly scare you! Urban foxes are part of city life, just as other wildlife is part of country life. People should adapt– the foxes certainly have.