BBC Home > BBC News > England

Rare black fox spotted by walker

19 September 08 08:02 GMT

A rare black fox, which is thought to bring bad luck to those who see it, has been spotted in Lancashire.

Kevin Hehir, 48, from Ribbleton, Preston, saw the fox while he was out walking near Chorley.

In Gaelic tradition, the fox is as black as night so it can live in a man's shadow and never be seen.

Graham Jones, from Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said the fox was once bred for its fur, but some were released and then bred with foxes in the wild.

"This colour is what's known as the silver fox, and it was this fox that was bred a long time ago within fur farms.

"Some of them escaped, some were deliberately released, and then they obviously then bred with foxes that were already wild."

Welfare concerns

Mr Hehir said: "I'd never seen a black fox. I went to one of the forestry commission lads, and he's been in forestry all his life, and I asked him, and he said he's never heard of it.

"He was the one who said to me, you've probably got something there."

He added he was not concerned about the unlucky folklore, as he "has bad luck anyway".

Mr Hehir is loathe to reveal exactly where he saw the fox, as he is concerned for its welfare.

He has already had a call from a taxidermist, offering him £1,000 to tell him where it is.

Related BBC sites