Red Fox Interaction with Humans - The Emblematic Fox

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The fox is considered by many to represent the very essence of the wilderness, featuring in the legends of several Native American tribes. There is also a charming Eskimo legend telling how a fox outwits a raven, saving the tribe from starvation in doing so. Consequently, the fox features in much early artwork and features frequently as totem animals; bringing favour from the gods and helping the dead migrate to the next life. Even today the fox appears in our advertising and logos.

Leicestershire is a county with a rich hunting tradition and, in tribute, the logo of their county council features the fox. - Credit: Leicestershire County Council

The fox is, for example, the animal emblem of Leicestershire, featuring in the logo for the County Council. The fox also appears on the Arms of Leicestershire (the coat of arms for Leics), granted to the county in 1930 by the College of Heralds. The fox’s presence on the Council’s logo and the county crest infers the rich hunting tradition in Leicestershire – it is believed that organised fox hunting in Britain originated in the county at some point during the 1690s. The crest bears the motto “For’ard, For’ard” below the shield; For’ard being a call used to encourage the hounds and drive them forward when hunting. The oft-cited ‘father of fox hunting’, Hugo Meynell, lived in Leics and was master of Quorn Hunt (one of the world’s oldest fox hunting packs, established in 1696) between 1753 and 1800 – he is credited with pioneering the characteristic high-speed open field chase seen in modern fox hunting.

Foxes sometimes turn up as mascots for various sports teams, including the Leicester Country Cricket Club, Leicester Football Club, New Jersey Newts basketball team and Falkirk Football Club. They also appear in various advertising campaigns, including for alcoholic beverages such as Suffolk-based Moorland Brewery's Old Speckled Hen bitter and Heinekin's Orchard Thieves cider. Car manufacturer Audi launched a car in the USA that was “swift and agile” (compared to the other American cars of the time, at least) and aptly named it the Fox. Audi produced 1.1 million of these cars (sold elsewhere in the world as the Audi 80 B1) between 1972 and 1978.

Orchard Thieves cider, produced by The Heineken group at their cider mill in Hereford features a slinking fox in its logo, alluding to the fox's reputation for purloining. - Credit: Marc Baldwin

Foxes also appear in place names and, according to Derek Yalden—in his 1999 book The History of British Mammals—in Scotland, the name madaiah ruaidh (‘red dog’ or fox) appears in at least six place names, while the Gaelic for fox (sionnach) crops up in a further 17. The fox is commonly used in the names of public houses, particularly in Britain, where a cursory search of an online pub directory reveals at least five pubs with fox in the name (including The Fox and Anchor, The Fox and Hound and The Fox and Pheasant) in London alone, while a more detailed search of the Yellow Pages found 315 pubs with fox in the name within the UK.