MANY people would have recently seen the video footage of a fox that entered a Wonthaggi house during the night via a dog flap.
For many residents of South Wonthaggi, this was neither the first sighting of this particular fox of unconventional habits, nor its debut on CCTV. It has been gaining notoriety for at least a couple of months.
By unconventional, I mean to say that this fox doesn't seem to observe the traditional traits of foxes that patrol the back lanes at night, looking for the chook pen that has been left unlocked, while keeping out of sight during the day as far as residential areas go.
urthermore, it doesn't seem overly perturbed by encounters with humans. It has forced me to rewrite the rules (or lack of rules) of fox behaviour.
Later that day, I learned that it had been caught red-handed with a dead chook at 8.45am in the pen of the property next door to the one previously mentioned.
Over the next few days, there were many reported sightings in the neighbourhood. It nearly T-boned Reg at the intersection of Dickson Street and Reed Crescent while he was on a predawn bicycle ride. A week later at around the same hour, it rushed him on the corner of Reed and Matthew Street.
CTV footage caught it helping itself to a dog dish in Caledonian Crescent before having a lie down on the porch. Roy saw it sun baking on the bonnet of a car over the road from his house.
Meanwhile, regular daytime sightings continue and a certain urgency in the barking of neighbourhood dogs alerts me to its presence, both day and night. Elizabeth and John see it in their yard on an almost daily basis, and they can get to within a couple of metres of it before it moves on.
Linda also sees it regularly in her yard. Richard found it on his front lawn, but again, there was no hurry on its part to leave, and when it did, it trotted off to a yard over the road. Raymond reported that when he found it lounging on his lawn, it was totally uninterested in him. It has also been sighted on the foot path in Matthew Street close to McMahon Reserve, at the bottom of Reed Crescent, and who knows where else. I'm only speaking of reports from my immediate neighbourhood. It is behaving more like a stray puppy dog than a cunning fox.
There is a theory in the neighbourhood that it may have lost its mother at a young age, before she could teach it the do's and don'ts of operating in residential settings.
So far, it seems to be doing quite well without any such training in fox etiquette for survival. In fact, it is gaining a kind of cult status. Where to from here? Is it a one-off, or will it go on to mate and produce a new breed that will disregard the way things have traditionally been between humans and themselves. Time will tell. Stay tuned and don't be surprised by anything you see or hear.