Hero or villain? Few animals divide opinion like the red fox. This most successful of the world's wild canids has lived alongside people from time immemorial. Celebrated by some for its resourcefulness and lush pelt, reviled by others for plundering chicken runs and overturning bins, it has worked its way deep into Western culture – from Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen to Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox.
Behind the folklore and tabloid headlines, however, lies a remarkable natural history success story. This highly readable study explores how the red fox's versatility has allowed it to thrive across the northern hemisphere, from desert and mountain to farmland and urban jungle. Separate chapters explore all aspects of its biology and lifestyle, from hunting and caching food to defending a territory and raising a litter. They reveal the secrets of its complex vocalizations and body language, and explain how its success has spawned at least 45 separate races worldwide. Finally, they examine the complex, often troubled relationship that the red fox has enjoyed with humankind, relating the history of its fluctuating fortunes and suggesting what the future might hold.
Illustrated throughout with stunning photographs and illuminating diagrams, RSPB Spotlight: Foxes brings to life the fascinating story of one of nature's most enigmatic animals.
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Mike Unwin is the author of more than 25 books for both adults and children, including The Atlas of Birds (Bloomsbury), 100 Bizarre Animals and Southern African Wildlife (both Bradt). A specialist in natural history and travel, he writes regularly for numerous publications, including The Independent, BBC Wildlife, Nature's Home (RSPB), Wanderlust and Wild Travel. Mike was voted UK Travel Writer of the Year 2013 by the British Guild of Travel Writers. He is based in Brighton, UK, where foxes trot along his pavement and dig under his garden fence.