One of Britain’s rarest wild animals has been spotted wandering the streets of Tarleton through the past few days.Advertisement
A black fox, with distinctive black and silver fur, was photographed by farmer Isaac Ascroft whilst riding his tractor through the junction of Middle Meanygate and Taylors Meanygate between Banks and Tarleton on Wednesday (12 December).
Mr Ascroft told Blog Preston: “I was pulling out of the end of the road, and it just trotted over to my tractor. At first I thought it was a dog.
“I Googled ‘black fox’ and it said how rare they are, so I got out of my tractor and took some pictures. It wasn’t bothered at all.”
Black foxes have been hunted to near extinction in the UK for their extremely rare and distinctive black fur. They are even rarer worldwide, with on average less than ten sightings per year.
For a fox to be born with black fur, both of its parents must carry the recessive melanic gene – an increasing rarity as the fox population in parts of the UK continues to fall.
Describing the encounter, Mr Ascroft said: “It seemed okay, just cheeky. I was in my tractor with the engine running, and it came sniffing the tyres!
“It wasn’t bothered by me at all – or the noise of my tractor engine.
“I’ve lived here for 30-years and I’ve never seen anything like it, and I spend all day every day outside in the countryside.”
According to a number of Facebook users in a Tarleton Community Page, the black fox had been hit by a car earlier today and was spotted dead on the side of a road in Tarleton.
Facebook user Jill Cubbin wrote: “Unfortunately I think he’s been hit by a car on Shore Road this morning.”
Paul Currie wrote: “Seen it this morning dead at the side of Shore Road. A farmer with a digger put it in the bucket and drove off.”
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Since Wednesday users have been posting about sightings of the fox, believed to be the same as the one photographed. The first sighting placed the black fox on Hundred End Lane, just a few metres from where it was seen dead.