A VIXEN is giving staff at a wildlife centre the real runaround.
The skilful fox has become a huge attraction at RSPB Saltholme where it is delighting visitors, and providing a challenge for staff who are trying to stop her pinching all the bird feeders.
Assistant warden, Dean Heward, said: “This vixen is a clever one; we’ve seen her scavenging at the visitor centre feeding station for quite a while, but now she has cubs and is producing milk, the amount of food she needs has increased.”
Visitors to the reserve, near Hartlepool, have been treated to a fantastic acrobatic display from the vixen as she leaps up to the feeders, unhooks one, and carries it away.
Dean added: “People often don’t realise that foxes eat such a wide variety of food. Yes they eat prey items such as voles, mice and birds, but they also eat brambles in the autumn and are regular visitors to the feeding stations around the reserve where they munch on seeds.”
In an effort to stop the vixen carrying away the more expensive bird feeders, the wardens have been improvising by recycling water and juice bottles filled with seed for the vixen to carry away for her young.
Dean said: “There’s really no point in trying to stop her from taking food from the feeding stations; foxes are well known for being clever, so we put up ‘her’ feeder and she leaves the others behind for the birds.”
Because the feeding stations around the nature reserve are easily visible, visitors are being treated to fantastic views of the fox, and the wide variety of other wildlife that calls Saltholme ‘home’.
A video of the fox’s antics is above after Saltholme staff uploaded it on YouTube.
Saltholme is open daily from 10am to 5pm. For more information, contact 01642 456625 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/saltholme.