Was this one of Britain's rarest animals spotted wandering around a Northampton back garden?

Chron reader Rob catches black fox out for a stroll on video

Monday, 4th May 2020, 1:58 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 2:00 pm

These are strange times for all of us, but maybe there's not been much stranger than this creature spotted in a Northampton back garden.

Chron reader Rob Anzalone spotted the four-legged animal wandering around the houses in Delapre after dark.

But his alarm and concern for neighbours has turned to curiosity that the creature could be a species of fox ranked among the rarest animals in Britain.

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Rob said: "I've been waiting up til 2am to see if it comes back, but not managed to spot it again.

"We thought it was just a cat at first but then we looked closer and it's huge, and it's got a big bushy tail. So we had a chat, did some research and we think it is definitely a black fox.

"These things are very rare, apparently, but there's nothing else it can be. We'd love to know for sure."

The special fox — also called a silver fox — is considered Britain’s rarest animal, as it gets its dark colouring from a super-rare genetic defect and has only been spotted a handful of times in recent history.

Security lights pick up the mysterious animal wandering around
Security lights pick up the mysterious animal wandering around

There is even a website devoted to sightings.

They largely disappeared from the UK after being extensively hunted for their distinctive fur.

A spokesman for blackfoxes.co.uk said: "The black fox is a rare sight in the UK and is something of a mythological creature.

"This melanistic or black version of the red fox carries a recessive gene that means it's appearance in nature is a rare occurrence indeed.

"In recent years, there appears to be a return of the melanistic gene to the UK fox population and the number of unusually coloured fox sightings has increased as a result."

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