Adele Brand / William Morrow / 224 pages
The Hidden World of the Fox is a concise, yet broad overview of the fox. The author, British mammal ecologist Adele Brand, has been studying foxes for 20 years, and though her primary focus is foxes resident to England, she is interested in foxes around the globe. Her research has included travel to Yucatán’s rainforest, the Thar Desert in India, Subarctic Canada, and Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. Foxes are widespread because of their incredible ability to adapt to a variety of environments and take advantage of opportunities available because of location or circumstance.
In a poll of British opinions on having foxes in the neighborhood, three-quarters of respondents either liked having them around, had no strong opinion, or didn’t believe foxes were in their area (although they were probably wrong). Those who most appreciate foxes believe that they have intrinsic value; as one fox supporter stated, “It’s nice to feel that nature is still around us and that we haven’t destroyed everything.”
Most enjoyable were Brand’s stories about foxes she has come to know and their interesting and sometimes quirky behaviors. At the end of the book and in keeping with her hope to encourage positive relationships between people and foxes, Brand notes a variety of ways to study them without disturbing them—including projects that might be of interest to children or teenagers—using photography, trail cameras, tracking, making casts of their tracks, and maintaining a wildlife diary. While some of her proposed science projects are specific to the UK, they provide a good launching point for further inquiry. It is fun and fascinating to watch foxes, and perhaps this book will inspire you to watch them more keenly.