I often write late at night and have increasingly been disturbed by foxes. They really can be incredibly noisy. I see and hear them every night. They’re very vocal tonight. They sound happy though, which is a relief, after the agonising cries a few nights ago.
I don’t live in the country. I live in London. At one time I lived in a very remote house in Dorset but never got woken up by foxes, not once. It got me to wondering how we seem to have got to a point where foxes prefer the city to the countryside.
The only conclusion I can come to is a very sad one. Not only have the foxes been driven away from their natural habitat, but having been forced to live in the city, they are regarded as something of a nuisance in their new home. The few who try to welcome them are criticised for encouraging vermin.
Most dictionaries define vermin as either a harmful animal or ‘obnoxious’ person. Certainly the definitions given for animal vermin would seem to fit humans far more accurately…
Oxford: “Wild animals that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, or game, or which carry disease, e.g. rodents.”
Websters: “a: small common harmful or objectionable animals (such as lice or fleas) that are difficult to control
b : birds and mammals that prey on game
c : animals that at a particular time and place compete (as for food) with humans or domestic animals
2 : an offensive person
Dictionary.com: noxious, objectionable, or disgusting animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control, as flies, lice, bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, and rats.
an objectionable or obnoxious person, or such persons collectively.
animals that prey upon game, as coyotes or weasels.
This last one is interesting, by our own human definitions we are vermin. Humans, just like coyotes and weasels, prey upon game. Not only game, but also farm animals (as per the Oxford definition) and foxes too.
Unlike any other animals, we seek to destroy our own kind too.
I’m fighting with myself to end this on a positive note, but it’s just so heartbreaking to see what we’re doing to this world.