Sir Winslow hunts a fox
Does a fox have anything to say?
What is it about foxes? What is the appeal, the charm? Because we all know the fox is a sly, sneaky creature, or is that because the story books have taught us to believe that? They are cute too, let’s not forget that! Sir Winslow decided to hunt down the fox and find out what all the hype was about.
The English fox is maybe best known to feature in The Hunt. Horses, dogs and men all pursue the elusive fox and turn it into a merry chase.Sir Winslow had no interest in killing foxes, so he simply set about finding it on foot.Now most of you know that Sir Winslow’s home was at Windy Willows in England. He had acres of forest around in which to find the fox, so he started there and quickly located several of them.
The Red Fox that is found in England is also found in North America, Europe and Russia. Sir Winslow knew that in order to find different foxes he was going to have travel further abroad. After doing some research he discovered that there are 27 species of fox. It was hard to choose but the next fox he decided to find was a Fennec Fox.
A light colored agile fox with huge ears and big eyes, it was not going to be an easy trip for Sir Winslow and his expedition.He didn’t expect to quickly find this fox in the northern parts of the Sahara Desert. However by following the expert advice of the local guides the fennec fox was soon found. The fox has learned to adapt to his habitat by having large ears that help the fox lose excess heat. They also help it hear its prey from a long distance away. The fennec fox has hairy feet that protect it from the hot sand.
In the Tibetan plateau of western China lives the Tibetan Sand Fox. Sir Winslow was keen to capture a family of these foxes for his zoo. He knew that the male and females remain together and so did not want to disrupt their lives by just taking one or two. The sand foxes live in a open rocky area and live mostly on pikkas, a rabbit like creature. They do not resemble their western cousins very much because they have a very compact almost square snout.
The gray fox of South America is not a true fox but a member of the dog family. They do strongly resemble foxes in appearance so Sir Winslow decided it needed to be a part of the fox exhibit at the Zoo anyway. For the most part they live in the mountains and edges of the forest in the southwestern South America. When traveling there in 1908 Sir Winslow found it helpful to use research done by Oldfield Thomas who was a friend from the Natural History Museum. Thomas had warned him of bandits living in the area who were called Zorros. It was a small joke however because fox in the local language is “zorro”.
In Sir Winslow’s Expedition Logs I found countless stories of foxes. He found most of the 27 true foxes and several “false” foxes too. Not all of them came to live at the zoo, but with his discoveries many of them survived from becoming extinct. As always I invite you to comment on what you have read or ask a question if you would like. Thanks for reading!