IT’S quite a collection of shoes – and it seems a cunning fox family has a fixation with them.
More than 50 shoes have gone walkabout in Farlington and ended up strewn across a pathway that leads to a fox’s den.
Mum-of-two Laura Cook, 39, has been stunned by the random footwear that has turned up.
She explained: ‘About eight weeks ago, we started to find random shoes along the middle path that leads up to a farmer’s field, where the fox has its den.
‘We started finding odd shoes here and there, ranging from children’s school shoes, to just great big work boots and running trainers.
‘They were always single ones. We started putting them on the wall in the hope that people might see them.
‘We’ve already found about 50 shoes. The foxes seem to prefer trainers and work boots.
‘We have found only the odd woman’s shoe.’
Mrs Cook, a teacher, of Falcon Green, believes a neighbour feeding foxes may have enticed them to enter people’s gardens.
She added: ‘I haven’t seen visual proof. The reason we assumed it was a fox was because we had a doormat the fox kept taking and we have seen the fox taking my son’s football.
‘I think the fox is out there for something to chew on.
‘People are leaving their shoes out overnight to air them and the foxes are going in people’s gardens.
‘It’s a shame people are losing all their shoes – there are some decent ones going missing!’
All the shoes were placed on a wall for neighbours to retrieve, but none was claimed, proving, perhaps, that the creatures are covering a wide area.
Foxes stealing shoes is a well-documented phenomenon. It is thought adult foxes present leather goods like shoes, gloves and footballs to their young for them to play with as toys.
Biologist Louise MacCallum, from Southsea, said: ‘Foxes are very intelligent and learn through play just like dogs do.
‘By playing they are learning and there are a lot of cubs about at the moment.
‘They are learning to live how an adult fox would.’