Hero or villain? Few animals divide opinion like the red fox. This most successful of the world's wild canids has lived alongside people from time immemorial. Celebrated by some for its resourcefulness and lush pelt, reviled by others for plundering chicken runs and overturning bins, it has worked its way deep into Western culture - from Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen to Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox. Behind the folklore and tabloid headlines, however, lies a remarkable natural history success story.
This highly readable study explores how the red fox's versatility has allowed it to thrive across the northern hemisphere, from desert and mountain to farmland and urban jungle. Separate chapters explore all aspects of its biology and lifestyle, from hunting and catching food to defending a territory and raising a litter. They reveal the secrets of its complex vocalisations and body language, and explain how its success has spawned at least 45 separate races worldwide. Finally, they examine the complex, often troubled relationship that the red fox has enjoyed with humankind, relating the history of its fluctuating fortunes and suggesting what the future might hold.