Here`s another selection of notes from Muirhead Archives in Muirhead Mansions. Actualy 'Fortean foxes' is a bit of a misnomer because I am only looking at odd colouration in foxes today, not the whole range of Fortean possibilities in foxes. I hope you enjoy the following and if you have any more observations please can you contact Jon or myself? Thanks.
I found a note in a book called The Sedgefield Country in the Seventies and Eighties (and that meant the 1870s and 1880s) about a male blue - yes blue - fox in Mainforth-whin, in what I thought was the West Country. But I have just done a Google search on the names Sedgefield and Mainforth-whin and I could only find a Sedgefield in Co. Durham, once Tony Blair`s constituency. This is the only instance of a blue fox in
Some time in 1995 Jan Williams (through whom I 'rediscovered' Jon after our time in
“A pure white fox was killed in 1887 by Taunton Vale Hounds in
In Country Sportsman 1949 (page number unknown) there is a story: `Albino Foxes In Northumberland A Strain That Persists Around Rothbury`
`In the year 1937 a white fox was killed in the grounds of Brinkburn Priory almost within sight of the River Coquet by the Percy Hounds. The mask is now believed to be at
* Coincidentaly I will be at the Franciscan friary in Alnmouth near Alnwick in mid-November so I will see if I can see the mask at the Castle.
Jumping forwards 38 years to The Mail on Sunday August 30th 1987, `Lair of the little white foxes` by Dr Brendan Quayle, which told of with two white cubs, one of which was shot the other “booted to death”(3). 'According to David Bellamy* the birth of an albino or white-skinned specimen of a wild or even domesticated creature, unless specially bred, is very rare.' (4) One fox was shot. The story continued concerning the killing of the other fox: '…It was two teenage sons of a local farmers who killed the other white cub and one of its red brothers from the same litter. "Why did you do it?" I asked them bitterly this week. "Foxes are vermin and we were worried they were going for our geese," they told
* I wrote to David Bellamy four or five months ago about this story but received no reply. The above incident was in the Border country between
According to Roger Burrows in A Complete Study of The Red Fox (1988) :
'There are records of white, presumably albino, foxes from
The Wild About Forum on the Net reported an eyewitness sighting of a white fox near the Wirral. This was on May 2nd 2006. 'Lemming' thought it was a dog but later: '..This morning I saw it streaking across the field in front of my house, grabbed my binoculars and saw it was a white fox. White from head to hind legs then it turned a peachy colour. How lovely!!! Just wanted to share my sitings with you all.' (7)
On the same Forum in September 2007 there was some interesting communication about black and other coloured foxes. On September 22nd John (in Coventry) said: 'I have just had a shock. I was looking out of my bedroom window and a scrawny looking Black Fox walked past my Bungalow…I have never seen a Black Fox before and must admit that I didn`t know they could be that colour. It wasn`t a full on black but dark enough to be able to pass for black.' (8)
C C replied giving instances of a black one in Maesycmmer near Caerphilly and one on September 21st 2007 'on the fields by
Finally, on September 18th 2008 a newspaper website reported the sighting of a black fox on the outskirts of Chorley, Lancashire: Mr Hehir, from Preston, Lancashire, was walking in a cemetery with a friend when he spotted the animal among the gravestones…..Country villagers traditionally told stories of how the fox was as 'black as night, so that it could live in a man`s shadow and never be seen.' (10)
1.Letter from Jan Williams to R.Muirhead c.1995.
2.Country Sportsman 1949.
3.The Mail on Sunday August 30th 1987 `Lair of the little white foxes`.p.13
4.The Mail on Sunday Ibid p.13
5. The Mail on Sunday Ibid. p.15
6.R.Burrows. A Complete Study of The Fox. (1988) pp71,73
7. http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/ May 2nd 2006
8.www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk September 22nd 2007
9.Ibid September 22nd 2007
10. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ September 18th 2008.
That`s all for today,friends. Tomorrow: `Talking Turtles.`