Foxes roaming the streets are not an uncommon sight in Bradley Stoke, but one local family is currently being treated to a much closer encounter with the creatures after a vixen chose to raise a litter of three cubs in their back garden.
Christina Hulbert, who lives within a few hundred yards of Meadowbrook Primary School in central Bradley Stoke, says she and her family feel very privileged to be sharing their space with the cubs and their mum, and she has shared some fantastic close-up photographs of them via The Journal’s Facebook page.
Christina says she had seen the vixen in her garden for about a month before the cubs appeared and had noticed her excavating a den under their shed. Then, one day in mid-April, she saw the vixen carrying a tiny cub in her mouth, presumably in the process of moving it into the den.
The vixen has become very trusting of Christina and will come to the back door of the house. She says they don’t regularly feed it, although a neighbour a few doors down the road is understood to leave cat food and water out for the local wildlife.
The cubs stay under the shed during the day while their mother is “out and about”, but they come out to play around the garden when mum returns and calls them with what she describes as a “low-pitched grunting noise” – usually around dusk.
In the morning, Christina often finds that her garden has been “rearranged” by the playful cubs, with small garden ornaments turning up in new locations and being added to by “playthings” presumably brought into the garden by mum to amuse the cubs.
One cub managed to get itself tangled up in the net of a football goal and had to be cut free from it the next morning by Christina’s husband, Andy.
As the cubs are growing, the vixen appears to be encouraging them to become more adventurous, and one of them was recently spotted exploring the neighbourhood a few houses down the road from its den.
Christina says she has always been a fox lover and is delighted to have the animals in her garden, adding: “If there weren’t any houses here, it would be their land anyway. There is a mutual respect between us.”
All photos by Christina Hulbert (click to enlarge).
• See lots more of Christina’s photos at http://bit.ly/bsfoxes
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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