I often see foxes referred to as “catdogs” on Tumblr, but I wonder if folks realise how true that really is.
There’s a phenomenon called convergent evolution that occurs when two taxonomically unrelated species exploit the same ecological niche. The features that are needed to best take advantage of a given niche are pretty much the same everywhere you go; thus, over time, those species will become anatomically and behaviourally similar, even though they’re completely unrelated.
And foxes? Foxes are what you get when an ecosystem has no native small felines, so a canine species evolves to take advantage of the ecological niche that would have been exploited by a small feline, if one existed.
In other words, a fox is literally what you get when a dog tries to cat.
In 2004, the British government introduced the Hunting Act, which made the hunting of animals such as red foxes, hares and deer for sport or pleasure totally illegal. Now, just 11 years later, Prime Minister David Cameron is moving to repeal the ban, by opening the issue to a free vote of the MPs. This means that MPs will be voting based on personal views, but more importantly, on the views of their constituents.
For those who might be unfamiliar with British ‘traditional’ fox hunting, it’s a so-called ‘blood sport’ typically practiced by England’s very rich minorities, where a group of riders on horseback will set loose a pack of dogs on the countryside to hunt down and brutally kill wild animals for no other reason than personal enjoyment.
Despite the ban, these people (and I use the term loosely), have continued to hold regular ‘hunts’ (claiming that no animals are harmed) and have repeatedly shown that they feel the law does not apply to the privileged gentry.
Rounding out the trifecta of Japanese animal utopias (see previously: Bunny Island and Cat Island): the Zao Fox Village in the mountains of Miyagi. I wasn’t sure quite how many foxes to expect when we arrived. As it turns out: a lot. There are six different species of foxes in the village, making for a colourful (and adorable) array of vulpine inhabitants