Dublin Foxes

09:17 Fri 13 Aug 2010
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I first saw a fox in a city setting somewhere around eighteen years ago, cycling home very late one night along Woodbine Road. It was about eighty meters away, running across the road. It saw me and was quite skittish, running into a garden for cover as fast as it could.

A few years later, in the same area, I saw two foxes together, again late at night. These two were still intent on keeping their distance, but moved away less speedily.

Since then, I’ve seen foxes intermittently, every few years. Each time they seem to have grown more comfortable around people, and more comfortable in the city. I’ve seen them much closer to the city center than suburban Booterstown. Always at night, until recently, when I saw a fox wandering in early morning daylight outside CrossFit Ireland, in the Sandyford Industrial Estate. It was foraging, unperturbed by my presence, not really reacting when I got out of my car. It wasn’t about to let me get close, but its attitude was that I could be tolerated in its vicinity as long as I didn’t try anything funny.

When I first saw them, the foxes acted as if they were moving through alien territory, a weird and dangerous environment. Now they move as if they’re city-dwellers—and they probably are. I might have seen early immigrants back in the 90s, and now the ones I see are their descendants, generations later, whose parents and grandparents were already accustomed to city life.

4 Responses to “Dublin Foxes”

  1. Tadhg Says:

    My apologies to any visitors disappointed by the fact that this post’s title is entirely literal.

  2. Ann Says:

    Maybe I’m just literal-minded, but I really enjoyed it. The funny thing is I used to see foxes way more recently in Dun Laoghaire than I do in the middle of nowhere, County Cork. I definitely think of them as primarily urban/suburban wildlife.

    Although my best sighting ever was just outside Macroom, on my way home from work, in broad daylight. One fox ran out into the road with a rabbit in its mouth, chased by a second fox.

  3. Tadhg Says:

    That’s pretty cool. I’m pleased by the fact that one crossed my path tonight, near Donnybrook, apparently fine with judging late-night traffic.

  4. Léan Ní Chuilleanáin Says:

    I’ve twice met a fox in our front garden in HX, which I think qualifies as pretty much urban. I used to see them a lot around south Dublin too, driving home in the small hours. (Me driving. Not the foxes. At least, not that I ever saw.)

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