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Sunday, January 10, 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: Crazy like a fox

Uxbridge is a large suburban town in northwest London. In 2009 it happened to be the prowling ground of a very unusual creature...or possibly something very normal. Like most beastly headlines, the Uxbridge Gazette's (28th May) eye-catching 'Mystery monster spotted in Ruislip' certainly seemed dramatic, but was this just another case of too many eyewitnesses seeing something that wasn't there?

Step forward Maggie Daly, who claimed that on May 17th she'd seen something similar to an African Hunting Dog in the vicinity of Chichester Avenue. Karen Lewis then contacted the paper to say that in 2008 her son had seen a similar beast on the Hayes bypass. It was huge, skinny and mangy.

Read on


Ego Ronanus said...

Be careful if the creature is an African wild dog. This is the one species of dog you cannot tame. The reason is that most dogs were tamed because they fitted into a situation where a human adopted an alpha male role as leader of the pack. In the wild, the alpha male is usually the toughest dog in the pack. However, nobody told the African hunting dog about this and the alpha male status in their packs goes from father to son. Now, how they know their alpha males are the sons of previous alpha males, I don't know. After all, groups of primitive humans don't even know paternity exists.

My own dog thinks that my wife is the alpha male in our pack - I mean family. I can see where that impression comes from.

Syd said...

Even in the 21st Century, it amazes me just how many town/city dwellers cannot identify their wildlife neighbours or even many domesticated ones.
When I was taxi driving a few years ago I was taking a passenger home one night and he got rather alarmed when he saw a small group of WOLVES in the road. They were of course just foxes, but he was convinced, despite my reassurance that we had no wolves running about loose in Nottingham, that they must be wolves as he had never heard of foxes in the area. Needless to say, this super brain passenger was a University student.

Lanette said...

There are so many different breeds of dogs out that often mixes are mistaken for things such as wolves or coyotes, then also you have dogs that breed with wolves and coyotes.

I would check with the conservation dept or whoever is in charge of licensing individuals or organizations who keep exotics to find out if there have been any escapees or if there was a chance an owner had turned something loose they should not have.

Neil A said...

When I looked into this case it seemed pretty clear that we were simly dealing with a large, mangy fox. The press and the public simply got caught up in a 'monster' mystery that didn't exist. A rather common occurrence.

Mind you, sightings of doles do still persist in east Kent. A year or so ago one of the local zoo parks lost twelve animals, and claimed that most were recaptured, the rest shot dead, and yet I still get reports of these animals in the local woods.