Of all native carnivores, you are far most likely to see the fox, both in Argyll and elsewhere. We regularly saw one in our garden during the cold weather, and have also seen them on the road out to the Rest and be Thankful. In rural areas like this, foxes live on small mammals and invertebrates, but can also prey on new or weak lambs. Foxes are active all year round and can also be seen in the daylight. Their droppings are similar in appearance to those of the pine marten, and are often mistaken for them in surveys of marten activity.
Foxes live in earths in the ground which they will either dig themselves or occupy from badgers or rabbits. They mate from December to February and give birth to four or five cubs from April. All summer they will be fed by their mother and in autumn will leave to establish their own territories.
Sadly many people do not like foxes and regard them as pests, not only in rural but increasingly in urban areas. Watching one playing in the snow in our garden, I was struck by what a bad press such a beautiful creature has had, and how lucky we were to have the chance to watch it undisturbed and unpersecuted.
The life span of the fox is surprisingly short. The greatest danger to them is roads where they are often killed – shortening their lives to only around 18 months in urban areas; but even in a quiet rural area such as this, they will only live about three years.