Rare ‘black fox’ spotted in UK that has recessive gene only 0.1% of species has

A super-rare "black fox" has been spotted roaming the streets of London.

An image of the animal was shared to the r/CasualUK Reddit page by a Brit confused by what they had come across.

The poster explained: "Walking back from uni – found this fella near the rail tracks. Always seen the typical orange ones, but first I've seen a black fox (well at least I think that's what it is). Thoughts? [sic]"

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Black foxes are also known as silver foxes. They are the melanistic form of the European red fox, meaning they carry recessive genes making their fur black and silver.

The recessive nature of the trait means the foxes are extremely rare.

According to Black Foxes UK, which campaigns to promote awareness of black foxes, the animals are estimated to make up only 0.1% of the UK fox population.

This is in contrast to North America where silver foxes are more common after they were trapped and bred in the 19th century for fur.

Black Foxes UK log reports of the animals across the country. They write: "In recent years, there appears to be a return of melanistic traits in the UK fox population and the number of unusual fox sightings has increased as a result.

"While some of these sightings will be of native wild foxes, some of the animals seen are that of escaped exotic pets ('silver foxes') in need of being located and returned home, which is why your reports are so important!"

Another was spotted in Somerset in December 2020, with traffic on a country lane coming to a halt as people marvelled at the animal.

Karm Singh, who saw it, said: "The car in front of me stopped and then I saw what I thought was a stray dog at first but as it got closer I realised it was a fox.

"I had to Google it as I had no idea a fox that colour even existed.

"The traffic was building up behind me. It was crazy."

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