I’ve been intrigued by foxes for many years, my interest and imagination kindled by the mysterious and often mystical representation of foxes in literature. But I wanted to become better acquainted with the animals themselves and Brand’s book, packed with her knowledge and research, was an accessible read.
The Hidden World of the Fox briefly looks at various aspects of Britain’s foxes including anatomy, feeding habits, social lives, common misconceptions, etc.
The fox-human relationship is a major focal point in the book since many people are aware of foxes living in their area, both in the suburbs and in cities. Some are fascinated by these animals and feed them; others are scared of being bitten or of catching a disease, a fear often fuelled by the media. This is one area Brand is not neutral about and she launches a scathing attack on the media’s (lack of) responsibility when it comes to representing foxes. She lists various examples where popular news channels tap into fears and misconceptions about foxes to write sensational articles lacking scientific evidence.
Brand shares some of the research she’s done over her career, as well as some anecdotal stories. She believes in the power of sound information to improving humans’ understanding of this often misunderstood species. Brand uses science to illuminate the hidden world of these interesting animals and dispel myths and negative beliefs some members of the public hold. The tone is never patronising and her genuine care and interest in animals’ wellbeing shine through.
I found it an easy to read and informative book written by a passionate researcher with years of experience. One of the things that stood out for me is how incredibly adaptable foxes are. The way they have adapted to live with humans in an ever-changing environment is fascinating. The proximity of foxes to humans also acts as a way for humans to feel more connected to nature, according to Brand. To many humans, foxes represent the enduring wildness of the natural world even in densely populated areas. Her thoughts on how people’s reactions are often based on emotions, rather than facts, also made me think. I thought this was important to acknowledge and I’m in agreement that instead of ridiculing people’s feelings, care should be taken to understand where misconceptions stem from. This is why, understandably, Brand has such a dislike for the British media’s representation of foxes.
This book is for fox enthusiasts or people who are curious about a local fox family in their neighbourhood. She offers many great tips on what to do when encountering foxes, how to become a fox watcher, and she included a list of useful resources. Adele Brand also has a blog, A Walk with Wildlife, where she shares some fascinating observations and photos. Her YouTube channel is also popular. Have a look at some of the videos she captured with her trail cameras and her videos on identifying fox tracks or fox sounds.
P.S. How stunning is the hardback dustcover design for The Hidden World of the Fox!
Thank you for visiting the Wild Library blog. Have a look at my Wild Reading List for more book reviews and recommendations. You might also be interesting in Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places if you enjoy nature writing,