Fox week: VI (I think): Cropper and his human pal

I have a few more posts to go for Fox Week, and this is a good one.

“A fox looks like a dog, but purrs like a cat. But in fact, it’s neither . . . They have the nicest nature of animal I’ve ever met.”

Those are the words of Mike Trowler of Kent. LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE PHOTO! Even I want to cuddle a fox after seeing this:


Mike and Cropper the Fox, sharing some quality down time

As recounted by D*gheirs, Mike rescued Cropper the fox and gave him a loving home.

Cropper was found on the side of a road and rescued by The Fox Project in Turnbridge Wells. Seriously injured and ill (toxoplasmosis), he could not be returned to the wild. There were only two choices: euthanize Cropper or find him a home.

Mike Trowler gave Cropper a home. A retired engineer, Mike is fascinated by fox behavior and spends a great deal of time with them. In addition to nursing injured foxes back to health, he also takes in orphaned fox cubs and raises them until they can be released back into the wild. He does this by releasing them into his nine acre garden. A few remain to be fed each night, some stay in the area for several years, while others take off to establish their own territories further afield.

When Cropper was nursed back to health by Mike’s patience, love and determination, Cropper became a member of Mike’s family. Cropper would eat food from the dog’s dish and curl up with the cats, but mostly, he would spend time with Mike. The two would even go for walks together and Mike would roll him over and give him belly rubs.

Below you can see a video of Mike and Cropper:

After six happy years with Mike, Cropper passed away in 2007. However, another fox, Jack, who had been suffering similar ailments, has moved in with Mike. Jack enjoys watching TV with Mike and even reluctantly tolerates a bath in the sink.
Don’t miss this video of Mike and Jack. Mike is quite passionate about foxes, and here is very eloquent in describing their appeal:

And a final amazing fact about Trowler:

In addition to foxes, Mike is also friends with a couple of badgers. One of the badgers, a female he named Benji, eats from a bowl while he holds it and allow him to pet her.


  1. Grania Spingies
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Love that defiant look at the camera when mister focks is cuddled up asleep 🙂

  2. Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It gives a whole new dimension to fox stoles…

  3. gbjames
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


  4. Ralph
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Going to have to start calling this site Fox News….

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Well, they are black and white and red all over.

    • Marta
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I love the fox pictures and videos (these two videos are especially lovely.)

  5. bachfiend
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I went to Novosibirsk once to look at the tame silver foxes described by Richard Dawkins at the start of ‘the Ancestors’ Tale’. When the Soviet Union collapsed and money for the research largely disappeared, the program was severely cut and many of the tame foxes were got rid of.

    By selling them as pets.

    After holding one of them in my arms, I certainly wanted one, and wondered how I could smuggle one home to Australia.

    Foxes and Australia isn’t exactly one of the success stories of animal introduction, along with the rabbit, the cane toad and worst of all – the domestic cat.

  6. Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I love how the fox is as comfortable on his shoulders as Baihu is on mine.


  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I loved this video and with him holding the fox so close, I wonder if the foxes smell that he has as pets. Apparently they have a strong smell in the wild & their urine is quite extra stinky as well. In other words, do foxes just smell because they are foxes or is it their environment that causes the smell.

    As a part 2, from bachfiend’s post above, I assume the domesticated foxes don’t smell so if it turns out wild foxes smell regardless of environment and these domesticated foxes do not smell, is this due to selecting them for traits that make them suitable for domestic life (either on purpose or as a result of selecting for other traits).

    • bachfiend
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink


      I can’t remember if the tame foxes smelled or not. It didn’t make much of an impression on me.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I figured if they smelled as they do in nature, you would have mentioned it because it’s something you can’t miss.

        • jesse
          Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Diana, over on the site that JAC took this story from, there is one more sentence there that says this:

          Mike warns that rescuing foxes takes a great deal of patience and understanding, and a strong awareness of fox behavior. He says that fox urine is especially odorous and difficult to remove.

          • Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

            … yes, so heads up, everybody… don’t run out and get one just yet. Eeeew.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      When we had foxes living under our garage I never smelled them. Not like the skunk family they replaced. Now those guys…

      • Achrachno
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Several years ago I had a gray fox raise two kits under my tool shed, and I never noticed any particular odor. They were not stinking up the place. I enjoyed having them around and wish another family would colonize my yard.

        BTW — there was just one adult, presumably the mother. Either male foxes don’t get involved in child-rearing, or more likely the male of this family had been killed by something.

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I read something by Mike Trowler that his foxes’ urine is especially bad. So, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

  8. Posted December 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Euthanasia just for toxo? Clindamycin isn’t that expensive or hard to give (you can mix it in the food). There must be more to the story than that.

    Anyway, the fox is cute. Red foxes seem to be more social than other foxes – perhaps that makes it easier for them to form a bond with a human.

  9. Posted December 11, 2013 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    It is so nice seeing other species stimulating playfulness in us.

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Given how rapidly he apparently tamed this fox, I wonder how happened that H sapiens tamed wolves–>dogs and didn’t instead domesticate foxes.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Maybe we’d have fogs and Jerry would write it f*gs. 😀

    • Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Most likely because wolves are far more useful and effective than foxes for hunting and for guarding/protecting the hearth and the Homo Sapiens young from predators (which could easily include other Homo Sapiens from different tribes/groups), I reckon.

      • gbjames
        Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        And maybe wolf pee doesn’t stink so much?

      • gbjames
        Posted December 11, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        And maybe wolf pee doesn’t stink so much?

        • Hempenstein
          Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          Wouldn’t it be something if foxes were put off by human pee? Deer are, anyway.

          • Posted December 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            So are people – there are few things worse than the smell of stale human urine in urinals and in open or closed places in which men have relieved themselves.

%d bloggers like this: