polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

London’s Urban Foxes

by Andrew Wade

Urban migration isn't just for humans. It turns out that in London, foxes are also drawn to the density of urban life. With access to leftover food from millions of human inhabitants and leafy green spaces, from secluded back gardens to sprawling Royal Parks, foxes have a lot to admire in The Big Smoke. Istanbul has cats, and Berkeley a notorious squirrel, but London is a fox town.

London's foxes have commanded attention from the media for some time, with reporting ranging from the bizarre – bullet-point recommendations on “how to outfox the fox” – to the playful. Most recently, foxes seemingly staged a protest against London's imminent Olympic Games by disrupting a shooting test event. For a nation with an ingrained yet controversial legacy of fox hunting, this reads as a ripe moment of well-timed retaliation. With a fox population of around 33,000 and a comparatively well-organized human population of 7.8 million, a “Rise of the City of the Foxes” seems unlikely. But they are notorious enough to have pubs and car services named after them.

We often lose the thread of our connection to the natural world, especially in urban environments of our own creation. Foxes remind us that we weave the fabric of the city with other creatures.

Credits: Photos by Tim Ferguson.

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