Imagine walking into your backyard and seeing a mysterious creature. But not just any creature. A creature that you had never seen before. A creature…that appears to be undeniable dangerous.
As the man looked into the creature’s eyes, it seemed to stare right back. As he saw it crouch under the table, the man could feel his fear flowing through his body. He knew that it was furry and black, but he had never seen it before. He immediately thought it was a dog, but there was definitely something off with those eyes. With his baby held to his chest, the man began to run.
Former RSPCA inspector and animal lover Amanda Lovett was having a typical day. She operated a boarding home for cats called Mere Moggies right outside Cheshire, England, and there was always work that needed to be done. She had to feed and groom the cats she cared for every day. And as an active advocate for animals, she spent her free time standing up for animal welfare. Lately, though, Amanda found herself spending more time working on the security of the cattery.
Over the past few weeks, there had been a number of sightings of an unknown animal. The people who had seen it in person couldn’t tell what the animal was, but they all agreed on a couple of things: it appeared to black….and catlike. There’s no denying that the people of Cheshire were extremely frightened.
Anna McArdle, who was a teacher at Excalibur Primary School, went outside as soon as she heard her partner, David Scott, scream out of fear. “He’d gone out with the baby and I heard him shouting that there’s a wild animal and he was a bit panicked by it,” she explained. But Anna wasn’t expecting to see what was waiting for her in her backyard.
Anna thought that she was familiar with all of the animals in Alsager, but she had to look again at the animal quietly enjoying her garden. “I thought it was a dog at first as it was just sitting under the table,” she remembered. But as she noticed the animal’s piercing yellow eyes, she realized that it definitely wasn’t a dog.
Anna took a picture of the strange animal and turned to Facebook. In hopes of someone knowing what the animal was, she posted the picture to her community page. The animal wouldn’t leave her property, and she had to know if she was in danger. People started leaving tons of comments, but the photo caught the attention of one organization in particular.
Amanda Lovett was one of the people who noticed the post that day. She knew what needed to be done. She immediately grabbed a cat carrier and rushed to Anna’s home on Dunnocksfold Road to retrieve the animal. However, Anna and Paul were stuck inside because the animal still wouldn’t leave. They kept looking through the window as the animal continued to stare at them. What could it possibly want?
Soon enough, the community page was overflowing with comments. People were shocked that someone had finally gotten a photo of the mystery creature, and everyone started wondering what it was. As Amanda raced to Anna’s home, she had an idea of what they were dealing with. But would she actually be able to get there in time?
As soon as Amanda arrived at the house, Anna met her with worry. Amanda was brought to the backyard and that’s when she saw it. Amanda couldn’t believe what she was looking at. This animal was being referred to as the “Harbinger of Doom” online. She immediately started working on capturing the animal. She set the carrier up and tried shooing the animal inside.
The creature that was using Anna’s garden was actually an unbelievably rare silver fox. In fact, the silver fox is so rare that medieval folklore claims that spotting one would bring the person an incredible amount of misfortune. The area hadn’t seen one in over 25 years, but where did this one come from?
“They can be native because they’re basically red foxes with other coloration, but they are very rare,” said a spokesperson from RSPCA. “He kept looking as if he wanted to get in the house. We shooed him into the utility room where I was able to calm him down and put him in a cat box,” explained Amanda.
Now that the animal had been identified and safely captured, Amanda immediately brought him to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center. The center was nice enough to keep their doors open longer than usual so they could take in this rare animal. The staff at the rescue center immediately checked to make sure that he wasn’t hurt.
“This one is quite tame and slightly overweight so we believe he was kept as a pet. He is the first silver fox we have ever had here at Stapeley Grange, in nearly 25 years we have been open. He is an impressive-looking animal and it has been interesting to us all to have such a rare admission,” said the manager of the center, Lee Stewart.
It didn’t take long for the staff to fall in love with the fox and name him Shadow. It seems that Shadow is doing well at the center. The RSCPA has reached out to the public to help find his owners. If they’re not able to find his owners, he will go to a new home with people who are able to care for him.
Silver foxes are actually genetically identical to red foxes! But the difference between the two is the pigmentation of their fur, which can go from silver to almost entirely black. Unfortunately, these animals were being bred by the fur industry, but are now typically found as people’s pets. The RSPCA has a bit of advice on that matter.
Anyone who wants to get any kind of pet needs to make sure that they do the necessary research before they take on the commitment. A spokesperson from the RSPCA said, “Exotic pets can live a long time, grow to a large size and need to be taken an exotics vet if they become ill, which can be expensive.”
“Foxes are wild animals with very specific needs no different to foxes living in the wild and they require specialist care. Even the most experienced fox experts have had difficulty keeping adult foxes successfully. Therefore, the RSPCA does not advise or condone keeping foxes as pets.” The RSPCA is assuming that Shadow was abandoned because no one has come forward to claim him yet.
The RSCPA has the right idea. People purchase exotic animals, thinking that they would make good pets for their family. More often than not, these people can’t handle the responsibility and release the animal into the wild, which comes with its own set of problems.
When people release invasive species into the wild it can cause other animal species to become overhunted. It can dramatically decrease animal populations, as well as disrupt the natural ecosystem in an area. Not to mention that it’s cruel to release an animal into an area they know nothing about.
The woman who found the fox in her garden, Anna McArdle, said: “I doubt it would be able to be released into the wild. It’s a real shame foxes like that are domesticated.” It wasn’t long before Shadow’s story was all over local and international newspapers. With thousands of comments from all over the world, it didn’t take long for Shadow to go viral.
People have been completely taken by the beautifully rare fox, and Anna was even blown away by how fast her post spread through the news outlets on Facebook. Some users were obviously taken aback by how beautiful the fox was, making comments like: “What a stunning animal!” “Beautiful!” But others were concerned with the silver fox’s situation.
For whatever reason, the fashion industry has completely glorified the fur industry. Back in the day, fur was used to keep people warm throughout the harsh winters. Today, fur is being used as a fashion statement.
“15 million bred and killed for the fur trade every year, with London being the world’s largest buyer of that fur. Shame on us we have written them out of history. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” Shadow’s story has hopefully raised a bit of awareness for these gorgeous animals. And hopefully, people disregard the rumor that they’re bad luck!
Because of the strange desire to wear animal carcasses as clothing, animals such as fur seals, otters, and large cats, have been hunted to almost extinction. Fortunately, for those that still wish to look like they’re wrapped in animal fur, there are faux options available, which means that animals don’t need to be senselessly murdered.