BBC Wildlife
Mirror Mirror On The Wall Image Credit: BBC Wildlife
Mirror Mirror On The Wall Image Credit: BBC Wildlife

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

An ordinary red fox on a north London street – made extraordinary by its near-perfect re ection of a stencil by street artist Stewy.

Matthew Maran

“All urban animals are special, but I’ve a soft spot for foxes,” says Matthew. “Not only are they the UK’s largest carnivore (along with the badger), but they’ve somehow managed to survive persecution for as long as they’ve existed. Foxes have always been maligned as cunning and evil, but they’re just doing what all living things do – seek shelter and food, and raise their young.”

Foxes may seem to be a deep-rooted part of the London landscape, but the species’ colonisation of the capital is a relatively recent phenomenon, linked to the expansion of the suburbs during the 1940s and 50s. Indeed, the city has proved the fox’s last great sanctuary. “Foxes thrive in the urban environment thanks to their adaptability,’ says Matthew. “An individual might be denning under a shed one day, then that will be concreted over, so it will simply find somewhere else – along a railway embankment, among tree roots or perhaps on an allotment.”

Hit and run

Despite the species’ tenacity, the lifespan of a city fox averages just 18 months, with cars the biggest killer. This vixen, though, is an exception. Matthew knows her well, having followed her for two years. “She’s an amazing animal – very wise and confident, and has raised three litters,” he says. “I’d been dreaming of photographing her against this artwork – it

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