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Friday, June 1, 2012

Sorry, I've got my paws full: The vixen and her pack of TWELVE cubs living at bottom of suburban garden

By David Wilkes

When they fancy tuning into Springwatch, Mandy Alt and her family simply look out the window.

At the bottom of their garden, 12 playful fox cubs tumble over each other on the lawn, snuggle up to their mother and try to pounce on unwary birds.

Fluffy, boisterous and full of mischief, the seven-week-old cubs have won over the entire family.

The vixen, centre, with some of its astonishingly-sized litter

They’ve also won a legion of fans after Mrs Alt’s son Oliver, 14, filmed them playing and sent his footage into Springwatch, the BBC2 nature programme.

Now millions follow the adventures of the foxes every evening in the new series which started on Monday.

The Springwatch team was astonished at the size of the litter – vixens usually give birth to four or five cubs – and how their mother is managing to feed them all.

One of the many seven-month-old cubs, living in the garden in Potters Bar

The playful cubs make the most of their leafy home to engage in some rough-and-tumble

The fluffy cubs have already melted millions of hearts among viewers of BBC show Springwatch

So they sent in their own cameras and began filming every move.

Presenter Chris Packham says they are more lovable even than the baby swans featured on the show. ‘When it comes to cuteness, I’m afraid the cygnets are being knocked into a cocked hat by our foxes. They are absolutely delightful,’ he told viewers.

A cub competes for the attentions of its mother, who has her work cut out raising her huge offspring

This fluffy cub gnaws on a stick as it plays in the Potters Bar garden

This spiky-eared fox is by no means the only one living in one Hertfordshire garden

Mrs Alt, 44, and her husband Thomas, 41, moved into their detached house in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, in February to find the garden a ‘veritable jungle’.

It was only after they cleared it that a couple of fox cubs appeared from under a summer house that had been covered in greenery.

Role call: The 11 cubs in all their glory

One of the adorable cubs even appeared to kiss its mother in snapshots from the BBC One show

Watch out for that holly! The fox cubs engage in some playful fighting in the undergrowth

More and more appeared until they counted 12, plus their mother.

Yesterday Mrs Alt, who has five children between two and 15, said she had been worried about safety at first after a recent spate of fox attacks on householders.

These fox cubs are spoilt for choice when deciding which of their siblings they'd like to play with

One beautiful cub seemed to take a chunk out of its sibling

No room at the Inn: Two of the fox cubs encircle a magpie which has strayed onto their busy patch

But she has been reassured by fox experts that these are extremely rare.

‘We’re all very attached to them now and it’s been an amazing experience having them here,’ she said.

‘We are being very careful not to tame them or to interfere with them. It’s just such a joy to have them here.’



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