Anyhow, looking out of my dining room window, I saw the Bibbed duck (named Flick - the brown duck in the photo on the left) lying almost motionless on the netting of our fishpond, pinned down by an adolescent fox.

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Weight loss and organ damage are sometimes evident and, if left untreated, death follows in four to six months.

Indeed, the impact of mange on fox populations may be dramatic; the outbreak in 1994 succeeded in wiping out 95% of Bristol's fox population in only two years.

At the vet's he was examined, and we found a large cut about 3cm (about 1.5 in) long and about 2cm (1 in) deep.

The fox’s teeth had cut clean through his skin and into his breast muscle.

I had hoped that shouting at the fox would cause it to drop the duck and flee – I was wrong; it did indeed flee, although much to my increasing despair took its quarry with it.

We have a fence and gazebo-type structure separating our garden roughly in half – “”. The fox slipped under the fence -- a gap of only some 12.5 cm (5 in) -- with the duck still clasped firmly in its jaws.

What do you know about the grief associated with losing a pet to a fox? As I sit and write this, my mind drifts back to the events of Thursday 6th November 2003 and the surprise that I recall feeling upon getting up to investigate the quacking of our two pet "Call" ducks.

For those of you who are familiar with the 9 standardized and half-dozen or more non-standardized types of Call duck listed by the British Wildfowl Association in 1999, one was a "Grey" or "Mallard" and the other was a "Bibbed" duck.

I finally fought my way through the brambles, and was just able to lift the steel pipes off him.