Fox week: VI (I think): Cropper and his human pal

December 10, 2013 • 2:00 pm

I have a few more posts to go for Fox Week, and this is a good one.

“A fox looks like a dog, but purrs like a cat. But in fact, it’s neither . . . They have the nicest nature of animal I’ve ever met.”

Those are the words of Mike Trowler of Kent. LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE PHOTO! Even I want to cuddle a fox after seeing this:

Mike and Cropper the Fox, sharing some quality down time

As recounted by D*gheirs, Mike rescued Cropper the fox and gave him a loving home.

Cropper was found on the side of a road and rescued by The Fox Project in Turnbridge Wells. Seriously injured and ill (toxoplasmosis), he could not be returned to the wild. There were only two choices: euthanize Cropper or find him a home.

Mike Trowler gave Cropper a home. A retired engineer, Mike is fascinated by fox behavior and spends a great deal of time with them. In addition to nursing injured foxes back to health, he also takes in orphaned fox cubs and raises them until they can be released back into the wild. He does this by releasing them into his nine acre garden. A few remain to be fed each night, some stay in the area for several years, while others take off to establish their own territories further afield.

When Cropper was nursed back to health by Mike’s patience, love and determination, Cropper became a member of Mike’s family. Cropper would eat food from the dog’s dish and curl up with the cats, but mostly, he would spend time with Mike. The two would even go for walks together and Mike would roll him over and give him belly rubs.

Below you can see a video of Mike and Cropper:

After six happy years with Mike, Cropper passed away in 2007. However, another fox, Jack, who had been suffering similar ailments, has moved in with Mike. Jack enjoys watching TV with Mike and even reluctantly tolerates a bath in the sink.
Don’t miss this video of Mike and Jack. Mike is quite passionate about foxes, and here is very eloquent in describing their appeal:

And a final amazing fact about Trowler:

In addition to foxes, Mike is also friends with a couple of badgers. One of the badgers, a female he named Benji, eats from a bowl while he holds it and allow him to pet her.

25 thoughts on “Fox week: VI (I think): Cropper and his human pal

  1. I went to Novosibirsk once to look at the tame silver foxes described by Richard Dawkins at the start of ‘the Ancestors’ Tale’. When the Soviet Union collapsed and money for the research largely disappeared, the program was severely cut and many of the tame foxes were got rid of.

    By selling them as pets.

    After holding one of them in my arms, I certainly wanted one, and wondered how I could smuggle one home to Australia.

    Foxes and Australia isn’t exactly one of the success stories of animal introduction, along with the rabbit, the cane toad and worst of all – the domestic cat.

  2. I loved this video and with him holding the fox so close, I wonder if the foxes smell that he has as pets. Apparently they have a strong smell in the wild & their urine is quite extra stinky as well. In other words, do foxes just smell because they are foxes or is it their environment that causes the smell.

    As a part 2, from bachfiend’s post above, I assume the domesticated foxes don’t smell so if it turns out wild foxes smell regardless of environment and these domesticated foxes do not smell, is this due to selecting them for traits that make them suitable for domestic life (either on purpose or as a result of selecting for other traits).

      1. Yeah, I figured if they smelled as they do in nature, you would have mentioned it because it’s something you can’t miss.

        1. Diana, over on the site that JAC took this story from, there is one more sentence there that says this:

          Mike warns that rescuing foxes takes a great deal of patience and understanding, and a strong awareness of fox behavior. He says that fox urine is especially odorous and difficult to remove.

    1. When we had foxes living under our garage I never smelled them. Not like the skunk family they replaced. Now those guys…

      1. Several years ago I had a gray fox raise two kits under my tool shed, and I never noticed any particular odor. They were not stinking up the place. I enjoyed having them around and wish another family would colonize my yard.

        BTW — there was just one adult, presumably the mother. Either male foxes don’t get involved in child-rearing, or more likely the male of this family had been killed by something.

  3. Euthanasia just for toxo? Clindamycin isn’t that expensive or hard to give (you can mix it in the food). There must be more to the story than that.

    Anyway, the fox is cute. Red foxes seem to be more social than other foxes – perhaps that makes it easier for them to form a bond with a human.

  4. Given how rapidly he apparently tamed this fox, I wonder how happened that H sapiens tamed wolves–>dogs and didn’t instead domesticate foxes.

    1. Most likely because wolves are far more useful and effective than foxes for hunting and for guarding/protecting the hearth and the Homo Sapiens young from predators (which could easily include other Homo Sapiens from different tribes/groups), I reckon.

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