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The Cyprus Fox

Once upon a time, a man gave his two children a clay jar of halloumi. The children fought over how to share the halloumi, each saying: “No, you got more”, and the other replied, “No, you got the most…”. A fox happened to pass by, so they called on her to be the judge. The fox placed the pieces of halloumi on the weighing scale in order to give each one their fair share. The scale tilted to one side, and one of the children protested. So the fox ate some from the bowl that weighed the most. She weighed them again, and the scale tilted to the other side, so the other one started protesting. The fox ate from the bowl that weighed the most again. And so she went on weighing-eating, weighing-eating until she left nothing to the two brothers.

In Cyprus folk stories the fox always appears as a cunning female figure or as a destructive looter and thief, features that are attributed due to its incredible ability to enter farms unnoticed to obtain food. The fox has a leading role not only in old fables but also in numerous proverbs and sayings in the Cypriot dialect: “Don`t let the fox guard the chickens”; “The fox sleeps and dreams of roosters”.

However, in pure honesty, the fox has been quite misunderstood in our collective folk perception. In reality, foxes do not cause any troubles. In fact, they have an instinctive fear of people and keep their distance.

The endemic fox of Cyprus “Vulpes Vulpes Indutus“ is a red fox that lives all around the island and is the only carnivorous animal on Cyprus. It can be found in the forests, near the coast, or even in the cities. The Cyprus fox is the biggest of all fox species and it can weigh up to ten kilos. It has a tufted tail, straight, pointed ears and a long muzzle.

Foxes move around mostly during nighttime, and mainly feed on rodents, reptiles, birds, fruits and some plants. That’s why their contribution to the eco-system is significant, though not equally acknowledged.  According to the old saying, “The fox has the name, but someone else is eating the chickens”, so don’t blame it all on the fox!

Apart from their intelligence, another fox feature is the love and care for their offspring, as well as the devotion to their mate. The fox remains with the same mate for life, while both parents are involved in the care of their little ones.

The Cypriot fox used to be in danger of extinction. But thanks to its fast breeding and to an awareness raising campaign, fox numbers are increasing and peacefully coexist with people now.

It is highly unlikely that you will see a fox while walking in the forest, as they will be probably sleeping somewhere well hidden, away from you. However, when the night falls, foxes will be out looking for prey, keeping the Cypriot nature in balance and harmony!

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