My best friend, Widdle (5)

Last time,we were looking at what Widdle the Friendly Fox would eat and what he would turn his nose up at. Over time, we gradually built up a list of his likes and dislikes.

Physically, he was very thin and very wiry, but he was extremely strong for his size. If he pulled one end of a stick and you pulled the other, you could feel his muscles and his strength. Most of this came, in our opinion, because he wouldn’t eat bread or cakes. He wouldn’t eat curry or anything flavoured. He wouldn’t eat pizza. Even our local magpies wouldn’t eat pizza, incidentally. Widdle wouldn’t eat hamburgers, although we didn’t quite understand this. Perhaps he had his culinary standards. After all, the bar was set pretty high by our sausages (42% meat).

This photograph appears to show the biggest object Widdle ever managed to carry away. I have no idea what it was, but may have been a big bone or maybe some cut of meat that had gone past its sell-by date:

Raw bacon rind appears to be a delicacy in the fox world. Firstly, sniff what it is…

Don’t let it escape under any circumstances:


“A second piece? Don’t mind if I do!”

In the next picture, note the first piece of rind safely stashed on the floor. He didn’t find getting both in his mouth at the same time too easy!


“Cheese is different. You have so many dreadful flavours in cheese. So make sure you sniff it first….”


“Take hold of it carefully. It may crumble and you might lose some.”

“Sniff the next piece carefully. Just because the first piece was cheddar, that doesn’t mean they all will be.”

“Yes, it’s OK. I’ll take it, please. It’s good for the teeth, cheese!”

Not that Widdle would turn down proper meat.

“Would I like a bit of steak? You bet I would!”

“Mmm. Lovely!”

Watch what you’re doing. Fingers at your own risk!!”

Widdle usually took all the food that was offered to him. He filled his mouth up with sausages, bits of meat and so on, and took them back to Mrs Widdle in the den. She would eat some and share the rest with her cubs. The largest litter I ever saw in our garden was four, with No 4, the smallest one, perhaps only two thirds the size of the others. Mum and Dad taught them their table manners. Any transgression got a sharp nip on the backside to emphasise the point.

Notice how, in the last three photographs, Widdle has a great gaping wound on his chest. As I mentioned, male foxes frequently fight each other, and they bite their opponent’s muzzle and fore-limbs. I don’t know how Widdle acquired this particular wound, but it didn’t take long to heal up.

On four occasions, Widdle had bad injuries to one of his front legs and he could barely walk. In a wilder world, he would not have managed to hunt and he would have died, but his friends stepped in with Sausage-Aid and he got over it. That gave him five lives instead of the usual one, a minimum of four or five years of life compared to the usual two or three, and as many as fifteen cubs produced, instead of the usual figure of between none and four.



Filed under Humour, Nottingham, Personal, Widdle, Wildlife and Nature

21 responses to “My best friend, Widdle (5)

  1. I would never has seen such wonderful photos elsewhere. Thank you for sharing. They may be available in Google or in magazines but the photos you share have a personal touch. Thank you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed them, Lakshmi. Every photograph is genuine, you will be pleased to know. Widdle was a wonderful creature. It was a privilege to have been his friend.

  2. I’m so pleased you have all these memorable photographs

  3. I am beginning to think that you might be a Leicester City fan?

    • Not especially, although I always favour East Midlands teams. I was always surprised when I was at school in Ashby-de-la-Zouch that everybody in the town supported Leicester, even in the era when Clough and Taylor were transforming Derby. I always felt their loyalty deserved recognition, which they got, of course, in in 1997.

  4. Good to get a report on your friend.

  5. Great photos! You’re quite brave to put your hand so close to his sharp front teeth. It never occurred to me that a fox would enjoy cheese.

    • On one occasion, I forgot myself, and committed the social gaffe for a fox of stroking his head and neck, as you would a dog. He stepped back but then took a step forward and took my hand in his jaws, which he closed gently until his teeth touched the skin on the back and palm of my hand. Then he let me go.
      He wasn;’t even threatening me. In a Jack London book he mentions that such a gesture by a wolf to a human was always looked upon as being a kiss. Presumably, Widdle was just trying to say to me “And I love you too”.
      I never stroked him again though, just in case he wasn’t!

  6. He’s obviously a connoisseur where food is concerned, and I don’t blame him either.

    • Widdle was so charismtic, that if he’d managed to communicate to us “I like fish and chips”, we would have provided him with it at least twice a week.
      I did always think though, that sausages were his favourite food. He must have carried away thousands over the years.

  7. Chris Waller

    Absolutely amazing! Also, it just dawned on me that he is out in daylight. I see foxes in my area only at night and as soon as they see me they leg it. Do you happen to know how far away his den was? Incidentally, my friend’s dog has a taste for cheese. Odd, given that cheese is not something that their common ancestors would have encountered.

    • Hi Chris! To be honest, we always thought that, for some reason, Widdle was used to human beings and he was always likely to interact with them if they behaved well with him.
      On one occasion we found him, in broad daylight, walking from one front garden to another, followed by a little boy of ten and his younger sister.They were trying to take his photograph on their mobile phones and Widdle was more than happy to pose, sitting on a succession of different front lawns, looking a little like Steve McQueen with a red fur coat on.
      He wasn’t bothered about it being daylight, although we hardly ever saw his vixen or his cubs, who behaved a lot more like cautious foxes are supposed to.
      On quite a few occasions, if I was late getting home from school because it was a parents’ evening, when I finally did arrive, he would be sitting waiting for me in our front garden. He came into the house if he wanted to, and always behaved himself perfectly. He soon learnt what fridges were used for.
      His den was probably within fifty or a hundred yards, and on the same side of the ringroad as our house. I think he ate cheese for its high fat content and would take away eggs very carefully in his mouth. He wouldn’t eat pizza, and he completely ignored anything with vinegar on it, such as discarded fish and chips.

  8. Another amazing story, John, about Widdle. I still cannot get over that a fox was this tame when it came to humanoids. Even foxes as you learned have acquired tastes for they instinctively know what is good for them and what is not. What a Gift you have been given. Thank you for sharing this story. I LOVED it.

    • Yes, Widdle was a wonderful creature, and he seemed to have the gift of knowing who was a nice person and would not harm him, and who was somebody to avoid. And, of course, the nice people were always keen to give him food!
      We were very privileged to have known Widdle, and we learnt a great deal from him.

  9. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of you and Widdle!.. glad you were able to establish a wonderful friendship of trust and you no doubt gave Widdle a great deal of happiness… you will no doubt have wonderful memories for a lifetime!.. “Life gives us brief moments with another, but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a lifetime, So live that your memories will be part of your happiness.” (Author Unknown)… 🙂

    Hope all is well and until we meet again..
    May the dreams you hold dearest
    Be those which come true
    May the kindness you spread
    Keep returning to you
    (Irish Saying)

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