Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yesterday's foxes - and Sarcoptic mange

I saw five foxes yesterday, and all suffered from Sarcoptic mange, which starts at the tail and works backwards. Eventually it will kill the animal concerned. It is caused by mites (Sarcoptes Scabiei) and is not exclusive to foxes. It can transfer to other canines, where it is easily treated by a vet, and to other species as well. The irritation caused by the mites causes the foxes to scratch themselves to the point where they create open sores which invite bacterial infections. The infected animals become very sick very quickly.

One of the symptoms of serious mange is a lack of fear of humans - something which was very evident yesterday as very few of them could be bothered to move away when I approached, albeit at a respectful distance, to take photographs. I hadn't realised whenI approached how badly afflicted these foxes were. I felt fairly grim, afterwards, about disturbing them.

The first three photographs all show the same fox. The last photo shows the mite concerned.

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