Black Foxes UK

Foxes in the news

2017

"Meet Wilf, the pet silver fox who has been causing a stir round Sale" - Manchester Evening News, July 2017

"A rare silver fox has been causing a furore in Trafford after he escaped from his owners. Wilf, who has a black and silver coat instead of traditional red, left residents in Sale scratching their heads after he was seen wandering around parks on Monday. Pictures of the creature were posted on Facebook and it was eventually discovered the fox was a domesticated pet. Owner Ellie Monaghan, 17, and older sister Jade drove around Sale attempting to trace him. The four-month old fox was eventually found in a park on Harley Road, close to Sale town centre"

Rare and Elusive Black Fox Spotted in Halifax, Again - Halifax Courier, June 2017

"The most recent sighting was reported by Elisabeth Turner, 44. She was flabbergasted when she spotted the elusive animal on her patio last year, initially thinking it could be a big cat. “I did a double take,” she said. “I told my husband, but he didn’t believe me.”"

Are black foxes breeding in Britain? New sighting of Britain's rarest animal -  Daily Mail, April 2017

"A flurry of sightings of Britain's rarest animal has prompted speculation there is now a breeding pair of elusive black foxes. The stunning animal gets its unusual colouring from a super-rare genetic defect and has only been spotted a handful of times in recent history"

*Here at Black Foxes UK we do not believe these animals to be lost pets. Instead, we believe it possible that these foxes are relatives, the potential descendants of those foxes rumoured to be released at the start of WWII - from an aspiring breeder who potentially sourced stock from a local fur farm. This would account for the high occurrence of melanism seen in foxes in the Halifax area.

Why Domesticated Foxes are Genetically Fascinating (and Terrible Pets) - PBS Newshour, March 2017

"After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the domesticated fox experiment fell on hard times as public funding for the project evaporated. The researchers realized quickly that keeping more than 300 foxes is an expensive enterprise. In the 1990s, the lab switched to selling some of the foxes as fur pelts to sustain the breeding program. “The current situation is not catastrophic, but not stable at the same time,” Institute of Cytology and Genetics research assistant Anastasiya Kharlamova told BBC Earth last year. Now, the lab’s primary source of revenue is selling the foxes to people and organizations across the globe.One customer is the Judith A. Bassett Canid Education and Conservation Center, located near San Diego. The center keeps six foxes — five of which are domesticated — as ambassadors for their species, so that people can get an up-close-and-personal view of the animals"

Escaped fox Thor back home at Hoo Farm in Telford - with video and pictures - Shropshire Star, Feb 2017

"After days of roaming the streets of Telford, Thor the three-legged fox has now been reunited with his pals at Hoo Farm. The white four-year-old fox travelled about five miles from the farm in Telford on Saturday night, after he used a fallen tree to escape the fox enclosure. A live trap was used along with some food as bait and straw from his fox enclosure, which would smell of his home.Edward Dorrell, partner at Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom, said: "He's been recaptured and he's now back in the enclosure" 

Fears grow for three-legged white fox missing in Telford - BBC, Jan 2017

"Concerns are growing for a three-legged platinum fox which has escaped from a Shropshire wildlife centre. Four-year-old Thor escaped from Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom, near Telford, on Saturday. Farm co-owner Edward Dorrell said he got out after a small branch fell on to his enclosure fence. "He must have jumped about 8ft on to the branch, which was pretty floppy. So that is still a hell of a jump," he said. There have been three sightings of Thor, an Arctic-silver fox cross, but staff are still searching for him" 

*Thor is now home safe and well (see above). 

Rare silver fox Jerry's great escape is over! - Examiner, Jan 2017

"Jerry went missing from Ponderosa in Heckmondwike. An unusual breed of fox who escaped from a farm in Heckmondwike was found safe and well. Jerry the silver fox disappeared from Ponderosa last Wednesday, having the decided the farm life was no longer for him. After a week of being on walkabouts, Jerry was discovered in Brighouse on Wednesday night and given an all-clear from the vets. A spokesperson for Ponderosa thanked the public for their help, without which they said would have made it “near impossible to find Jerry""

Have you seen Jerry? Silver fox goes on the run from Ponderosa - Examiner, Jan 2017

"He's left his twin brother behind at Ponderosa animal centre... The fox called Jerry has vanished from Ponderosa rural therapeutic centre and is now on the run. He is just seven months old and shares a cage with his twin brother, Bambi, but it’s not clear how he got out. He’s thought to have escaped on Wednesday morning and was last spotted in the Staincliffe area of Dewsbury. Farm manager Eve Fern said: “Jerry is not considered dangerous having the temperament of a native fox; however please do not approach him"

*Jerry is now home safe and well (see above). 

2016

Black fox is caught on camera by Paul Stevens on Portland - Dorset Echo, November 2016

"An elusive resident of Portland has been captured on camera. Portland Camera Club member Paul Stevens spotted this rare black-silver fox in a quarry on the isle. He couldn’t believe his eyes but luckily managed to take this snap as proof. His wife Lorraine first spotted the fox on Saturday, and Mr Stevens went to grab his camera. By the time he got there, the fox had disappeared- but luckily Mr Stevens managed to guess its direction of travel and managed to get a photo. "

*Freda had returned home and was once again secured within her enclosure by the time of this report. 

A Soviet scientist has created the only tame foxes in the World - BBC, September 2016

"In the 1950's a Soviet geneticist began an experiment in guided evolution. He wanted to show how domestication works. From the richly-plumed red fox to the big-eared fennec, foxes look adorable. Because of this, people are sometimes tempted to keep them as pets..."

Chesterfield charity helps exotic pets - Derbyshire Times, July 2016

Never mind cats and dogs... a Chesterfield-based charity is helping unusual pets.Encounter Exotics cares for and rehomes interesting animals including golden knee tarantula Gordon, Japanese raccoon dog Bear and silver fox Brynn... The charity was launched at the start of the year and is operated by Lee Holland, Wenzdi Bennett and Sam Stuart. Lee said: “We’re passionate about animals and love our jobs. “We take on the pets when their previous owners give them up for whatever reason.“We can give species – which don’t usually get help from larger animal charities like the RSPCA – the best possible care" 

Owner expresses relief after missing silver fox found - Dorset Echo, March 2016

"A domesticated silver fox that went missing on Portland for nearly a fortnight has been found. Freda, aged two, was reported missing by owner Maddie Bates on March 10.  Following twelve days of uncertainty and a social media appeal, her husband Dave found the fox in Portland Port.  Maddie said: "We've got her. She's driving home in Dave's car. I'm really pleased."The fox had been spotted at various locations around the island, including the Grove, Weston, and Portland Port"

Have you spotted this Silver fox? Portland owner pleas for information - Dorset Echo, March 2016

People on Portland are being asked to look out for a domesticated silver fox.  Maddie Bates, from the Grove, has been keeping Freda as a pet for the past two years. The animal, however, has been missing since Thursday, March 10. There have since been sightings of the fox in The Grove, Weston and Portland Port. Maddie said: "I'm getting a bit worried as she's getting further and further away. "It seems like she's got some friends. People are reporting she's been seen with a red fox."

* Freda was located and returned home safely a few days after this report (see above). 

Siberian Cupcakes’ educates about, & trains domesticated foxes - St George News, March 2016

"Ever think of a fox as a possible candidate for a search and rescue animal? This is what [one] couple... considered after hearing about foxes being raised in Russia as part of a domestication experiment. While initial plans didn’t quite work out as hoped, the couple, who currently reside in south-west Utah, have turned their passion for the little fluff balls into an effort to educate others about the foxes"

Tragedy as incredibly rare black fox struck by car and killed - Express, February 2016 

"An incredibly rare black fox has been tragically killed after it was struck by a car in Yorkshire. The animal, which was well-known in Halifax due to its startling jet black coat, was found dead by a council worker this morning. It is believed the fox was killed by a car, whose driver could not spot the mysterious animal in the dark"

*This fox was believed to be that of the famous "Black Fox Bob" (see below

"The black fox and red vixen faced off on a shed roof in Hounslow, London. When the red male padded into view of the black fox, he leapt into action. Trevor Williams, of charity The Fox Project, said: 'In 27 years and dealing with some 10,000 foxes we have never had a black fox brought in'"

2015

Foxy Lady! Mother of two keeps two foxes as family pets and treats them just like her dogs - Daily Mail, October 2015

  • "Tara White lives with two foxes at her home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. The 27-year-old walks them, has taught them tricks and feeds them blueberries... [Tara] has won funding [from the Prince's Trust] to take the foxes to schools and local community groups"

Wildlife photographer captures amazing images of extremely rare black fox - Daily Mail, September 2015

"A wildlife photographer has captured these amazing images of an extremely rare black fox playing in his back garden. Robert Fuller was shocked when he heard the rare animal had been spotted by another nature enthusiast outside his flat in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and was prompted to start tracking it. The artist and photographer was inspired after seeing some shaky footage by Robert Burns and the pair began embarking on a three-month mission to study the fox and its habits"

*Sadly, this fox was later found to have been killed in a road traffic accident (see above).

Rare black fox captured on camera as it plays in nature enthusiasts garden - Daily Mail, July 2015

"Robert Burns noticed striking animal playing with another fox in his garden At first he thought it was a black cat but realised it was something rarer He set up his camera and captured the fox and vixen playing the next day It's actually red fox going through phase where colour of fur is extra dark"

* This is actually a silver fox (a red fox colour morph), not a cub going through a change in colour. 

Red fox preys and rare Arctic rival in Norway - The Local, July 2015

"A red fox has been spotted devouring an endangered Arctic fox high up in the Børgefjell mountains in Norway, something wildlife experts said had almost never been previously observed."

* This appears to have been a territorial battle, rather than a hunt, as suggested.

Super rare black fox spotted in Coventry for the first time in years - Independant, June 2015

"A black fox, the rare product of a highly uncommon genetic defect, has been spotted in Coventry.Wendy Hier spotted the fox in a grassy area in the Walsgrave area of Coventry, but it ran away before she could take a picture."

Cunning desert fox emerges from hole in rock face to steal mobile phone... and nearly gets away with it - Daily Mail, June 2015

"The fox slowly materialises from its den and looks around cautiouslyIt spots the mobile phone and reaches out to grab it with its mouth.After picking it up, the fox retreats back inside but drops the mobile
The owner then runs over to the den and manages to save his phone."

The fox and the hound: Orphaned cub rescued from roadside accident bounces back to health thanks to it's new collie best friend - Daily Mail, May 2015

"Three-week-old fox found lying in road next to dead mother after crash. Young animal taken to vets before being adopted by couple in Germany.Fox, called Dinozzo, formed unlikely friendship with pair's collie dog.It now believes it is a dog and also plays with couple's piglets and cat"

Todd the fox who was rescued as a baby cub and thinks he is a dog now goes for walks on a lead and even wags his tail - Daily Mail, March 2015

"Todd the fox tamed after being rescued as cub and raised as domestic pet.N ow 11-month-old animal behaves like a dog and wags his tail when happy. Also sleeps in a kennel, plays with dog toys and goes for walks in the park. Owner Emma D'Sylva, of Staffordshire, also keeps a skunk and a raccoon."

Rescued animal Roxy becomes a family pet - Express, March 2015

"Grandad, I’m just taking the fox for a walk! Rescued animal Roxy becomes family pet. At first glance, four-year-old Isla Rowe looks like any youngster taking her dog for a walk. But on the end of the lead is Roxy, a fox rescued by Isla’s grandfather, Jeff Grewcock, in 2001. “We think she may be the oldest fox in UK captivity,” said Jeff of Roxy, who turns 14 tomorrow."

2014

Is that what they mean by political beasts? Wily fox makes it to number 10 Downing Street -  Daily Mail, December 2014

"Urban fox surprises photographers, police and parliamentary aides today. It slips past armed guards and runs around Downing Street looking for exit. The plucky creature seemed unfazed by the attention it was receiving."

Somewhere in Turkey a wild cat and a fox are best friend - Huffington Post, November 2014

"Cats and foxes are cute on their own, but together, they reach a new level of adorable. Take a look at this wild cat and fox's best-friendship, and tell us you don't agree. This duo was discovered by fishermen on the shores of Lake Van in Turkey, according to BuzzFeed. Photos of their friendship spread across the Internet last November, but the pictures resurfaced on Reddit today. And we literally can't look away."

Meet your new pet, a domesticated fox - Fast Company, October 2014

"Dogs have been evolving as human companions for at least about 14,000 years. Cats have lived with us for 12,000. But if you want something a little more cutting edge—and you’re willing to pay up— a pet fox might be just the thing. Domestication started just 55 years ago, but because Russian geneticists methodically bred just the friendliest foxes, a handful of charming, domesticated and trainable foxes are available today"

Is this Britain's friendliest fox? Pudding is so tame she can't be released back into the wild - August 2014

"Pudding the fox was abandoned to her mother in Yorkshire three years ago. The young vixen was taken to the National Fox Welfare Society in Rushden. Pudding failed to reintegrate to fox society preferring human company. Now the three-year-old fox has a growing legion of fans of Facebook."

Couple devastated after fox cub they nursed back to health is taken away - Daily Mail, July 2014

"Rocky was found on a road by Mark Lumsden and Louise Henderson, who took the cub home and nursed him back to health. He loves cuddles, chew toys and chasing his tail – but this is no pet puppy, this is Rocky the house-trained fox cub."

Farley the famous fox goes missing - ITV, Feb 2014

"A domestic fox, made famous in a national advert has gone missing in Chesterfield. Ten month old Farley was hand reared by his owner Pam Mackinson after his mother abandoned him.High winds at the start of February forced open his enclosure and he escaped, leaving Pam worried about him, as he doesn't know how to hunt for food or care for himself properly in the wild"

*Sadly, Farley was later found deceased

Fox sets new record after being tracked for nearly 200 miles - Telegraph, Jan 2014

"An urban fox which travelled 195 miles to find a new home is believed to have set a new record for the longest recorded journey made by its species in the UK."

2013

Angelina really is a foxy lady! Scientists discover silver foxes share same facial features as a beautiful women - Daily Mail, November 2013

"A Russian experiment to breed friendlier foxes in 1959 suggests that an affable looking face is more desirable as it signifies sociable behaviour. Research by the University of Cambridge found attributes of a 'beautiful' fox face are similar to the features of an attractive human.  The presence of characteristics such as a soft jaw and small nose in children plays a role in dictating how a mother treats them, according to research."

Elusive Kirkburton black fox spotted in Highburton garden - Examiner, October 2013

"The mystery Kirkburton black fox has been spotted in a Highburton garden - foraging for food. The elusive animal was first seen in a field in Kirkburton and is believed to be a rare black fox, with possible ancestry stretching back to the Second World War."

Outfoxed! Fearless cat turns guard dog as he chases intruder of his land - Daily Mail, October 2013

"Leon the Norwegian Forest Cat outfoxed his furry rival. The cat chased an intruding fox off his owner's land in Norway."

Fox steals phone, send text in mysterious fox language - Huffington Post, August 2013

"Footage has emerged of a fox stealing a teenager's phone. After scurrying off with the boy's device, the sneaky beast then sent a taunting text. It read: "Jlv In ø \ a0ab 34348tu åaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw." Chilling."

Amazing moment a tiny fox with it's head stuck in a jar approaches two men for help - Daily Mail, June 2013

"Filmed on a Russian dirt road, this shows the wild fox overcome its shyness. Curiosity had got the better of the fox and it knew humans were its only help. One rescuer joked: 'Where's the thank you?' as it returned to the bushes."

Urban foxes: The facts and the fiction - Gaurdian, February 2013

"The attack last week on a baby in south-east London has led to them being described as a 'menace' and to be culled. But are they really a threat?"

The fox and the hound! Rescued Roxy becomes best pals with dogs at animal sanctuary - January 2013

"Roxy found nearly strangled hanging by a rope from a bridge. She walks on a lead, plays with dog toys and only eats cooked chicken."

Can I have a pet fox? - PopSci, January 2013

"How a furry-convention-attending, mid-western-accented fox owner teamed up with a bizarre Floridian exotic animal importer and a Soviet geneticist to bring pet foxes to your living room"

2012

How I trained my pet fox called Anna to be like a household pet dog - Siberian Times, November 2012 

"These remarkable pictures show how young Siberian scientist Irina Mukhamedshina, 22, has trained a fox to be as obedient as a dog. The experiment was on her own initiative, though she used foxes from a special Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics farm, where research into taming the animals have provided remarkable insights into how - over many thousands of years - man domesticated wild animals into pets"

Extremely rare, extremely curious: Photographer captures enchanting images silver fox - Daily Mail, October 2012

"Too curious for his own good: Rare silver fox that has been hunted to near oblivion can't resist lure of a photographer."

Commuters late night brush with baby fox on the tube - Standard, August 2012

"They've invaded London's garden and even homes - now it seems urban foxes are taking over the tube. Gadget and gaming journalist Stephen Ebert and student Harriet Horn were travelling on the underground late last night when a fox suddenly came into their train and jumped onto a seat."

Rare black fox "likely to be from fur farm" scientists say - BBC, May 2012

"Scientists studying the body of a rare black fox killed on a Cambridgeshire road, say it may have originated from a Russian fur farm."

* This was a lost pet, and was indeed a fur farm descendant. It was not a hybrid, but instead had genetics not yet recorded in silver foxes.

Mysterious white fox spotted on Kent farm where iconic TV show was filmed - Daily Mail, May 2012

"It is best known as the home of 1990s TV comedy The Darling Buds Of May, which threw a young Catherine Zeta-Jones into the public eye. But Buss Farm in Kent has now become a stomping ground for a mysterious white fox, which would look more at home on Frozen Planet than the classic TV show. The albino creature's coat is so white that the farm's owner thought it was a lamb until he saw it chasing down rabbits in his field."

Is it an omen? Mysterious black fox reappears in British countryside for first time since 2008 - Daily Mail, March 2012

"John Moore from Bassingbourn, near Royston, Herts, saw the creature, with its distinctive white-tipped tail, in fields behind his house. Only one other black fox has been spotted in Britain before in Preston."

Largest fox killed in UK shot on Aberdeenshire farm - BBC, March 2012

"A fox believed to be the biggest killed in Britain was shot after attacking lambs on an Aberdeenshire farm. It weighed 38lbs 1oz (17.2kg) and was 4ft 9in (1.4m) from nose to the tip of its tail. On average the animals tend to weigh up to about 15lbs (6.8kg)."

Ramsgate man describes pet foxes as 'like a puppy crossed with a cat' - Kent Live, March 2012

"They are not everyone’s idea of a perfect pet but an animal lover from Ramsgate says his foxes are just fantastic. Niels Peters, 30, of Hollicondane Road, Ramsgate keeps two pet American red foxes – Max and Roxy – as pets, which he has had since they were kits. Exotic-pet nut Niels says his foxy friends which he says can provoke a mixed reaction from people"

2011

New museum displays highlight story of fox and mink farming in isles - Shetland Times, April 2011

"Shetland Museum this week unveiled three new focus display cases within the galleries, including an 18th century waistcoat, a folding “scrap screen” and a number of items portraying the story of fox and mink farming in Shetland. The first new display, next to the textile area in the upper gallery, features items telling the story of fox and mink farming in Shetland from the 1930s to the 1970s. Fur was a popular fashion accessory and the humane farming of these animals contributed to Shetland’s involvement in the fur trade"

Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia - BBC, April 2011

"Russia's Arctic foxes are under threat from an expanding population of red foxes, according to scientists. For the first time, a red fox has been observed intruding on an Arctic fox breeding den in Russia's far north. The Arctic fox abandoned its den to the dominant intruder, leaving pups to fend for themselves. Researchers say this is evidence that red foxes are expelling Arctic foxes as a warming climate allows them to survive much further north."

Animal Domestication: Taming the Wild - National Geographic, March 2011

"We're standing between two long rows of similar crates on a farm just outside the city of Novosibirsk, in southern Siberia...Hidden away on this overgrown property, flanked by birch forests and barred by a rusty metal gate, he and several hundred of his relatives are the only population of domesticated silver foxes in the world"

Fox may have been prehistoric man's best friend - Daily Mail, January 2011

"Early man may have preferred the fox as a pet rather than dogs, new findings suggest. Researchers analysing remains at a prehistoric burial ground in Jordan have uncovered a grave in which a fox was buried with a human, dated thousands of years before dogs were kept as companions. The University of Cambridge-led team believes that the unprecedented case - in which the remains of the animal and the man were then partially transferred to an adjacent grave - points to some kind of emotional link between human and fox."

Fox shoots man: Wounded creature pulls trigger on rifle hunter was using to finish him off - Daily Mail, January 2011

"A hunter became the hunted after a fox managed to shoot him with his own gun. The stricken animal somehow pulled the trigger of the man’s shotgun with its paw, hitting him in the leg. The bizarre incident happened as the unnamed 40-year-old hunter tried to kill the fox with the butt of his gun after shooting it from a distance."

2010

Nature UK: Have you seen a black fox? - BBC, May 2010

 "Over 20 years ago I was tipped off about an incredibly rare black fox in southern England and was lucky enough to film it. I have not seen one since... The Springwatch team have been searching all over the country to see if any are alive today, and hopefully to film one, but unfortunately the trail has gone cold. Although I've heard rumours of sightings here and there, I'm intrigued to know whether or not there are any living examples of these near mythical beasts. And I really need your help. If you have ANY information about a black fox, please, please let us know by commenting below."

2008

Unlucky rare black fox spotted in Britain - Telegraph, September 2008

"A rare black fox has been captured on camera in Britain for what is thought to be the first time. Kevin Hehir, 48, was astonished when he spotted the fox while out walking. The black fox is so rare that wildlife experts believe there are only a handful of the breed left in the country."

More black fox videos emerge  - BBC, September 2008

"A BBC News website reader has sent in footage filmed in 2005 of what he says is a black fox cub. Stephen Webb from Surrey says that the mother of the cub is a red fox which lived in his garden and regularly gave birth to black cubs."

2006

Rare Pregnant Vixen Caught in Snare - National Anti Snaring Campaign, April 2006

"This rare silver coloured and lactating vixen has died in a snare leaving her starving young to die. Not only is this an indication of the snarer's inhumanity, but shows how indiscriminate and detrimental to conservation snares are. The snare which killed the fox was also set in a fence line, contrary to Defra's new code"

1999

Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment - American Scientist, March 1999

"Foxes bred for tamability in a 40-year experiment exhibit remarkable transformations that suggest an interplay between behavioral genetics and development... Belyaev believed that the patterns of changes observed in domesticated animals resulted from genetic changes that occurred in the course of selection. Belyaev, however, believed that the key factor selected for was not size or reproduction, but behavior—specifically amenability to domestication, or tamability"

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