People who are obsessed with shoes suffer from Shoe Obsession Disorder and it is a real thing. Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, is way up there on the list for owning three thousand pairs of shoes in the mid 1980s but would you ever believe that a fox could be a shoe fashionista?
In Zehlendorf, a suburb of Berlin, Germany, Christian Meyer noticed that one of his new running shoes he had left on his porch was missing.
Annoyed, he started searching for the shoe and soon discovered a fox casually strolling down the street with a pair of blue flip flops in its mouth. Intrigued, Meyer followed the fox by crawling into overgrown brush and searching for a good hour, according to livescience.com.
— Felix Hackenbruch (@FHackenbruch) July 26, 2020
What Meyer discovered was a pile of over one hundred shoes with very few chew marks. He found sandals, clogs, sneakers and house slippers with the most common brand being Crocs.
Was the fox stashing the Crocs so it didn’t have to see people wearing them? They were obviously not its size so it’s unknown why the critter felt the need to collect the shoes.
It seems to be a trend among foxes lately. In 2018 in Melbourne, Australia a fox kept visiting a woman’s home and stealing boots off of her porch. After she set up a security camera to catch the thief nabbing her UGGs she discovered the bandit was short, ginger haired, had a tail and good taste in footwear.
That same year, two foxes working together in Kyoto, Japan had a theft ring going that netted over forty pairs of sandals. A sting operation conducted by five police officers set up a stakeout and captured the animals red pawed.
In 2009 the small town of Föhren, Germany a mama fox took almost one hundred and twenty shoes in one night for an unknown reason other than the fact that she was probably undecided about which went well with her fur.
In London, England a man woke to discover a fox with apparent OCD had lined up seven shoes of varying sizes in his garden. Patch.com tells us that in Fairfax, Virginia people who were leaving their shoes outside all night due to concerns over coronavirus found the shoes missing the next day.
After discovering many of the shoes at the Historic Blenheim/Civil War Interpretive Center, staff has been leaving the shoes along a fence near the bike trail for the shoeless residents to pick up their footwear.
They found garden gloves and many heavy hiking boots which may have indicated that the foxes in the area had construction on their minds. The staff at the center believe they are stealing the wellies and waffle stompers for their kits to play with and the foxes are just letting them believe that.
According to thedodo.com, a fox in the UK was doing the exact opposite and was delivering shoes to the garden of Elaine Hewitt one at a time.
Hewett, upon learning that her neighbors were missing shoes, set up a rack along the road so the neighbors could pick them up. Maybe the fox felt guilty about the missing shoes and decided to mend her ways.
All joking aside, urban foxes are considered a nuisance by some and a welcome bit of nature by others. Foxes are very intelligent and each has their own personalities much like domesticated dogs.
A British study done in June of 2020 notes that some urban foxes are learning to domesticate themselves by adapting to the changing world around them and in doing so have changed the basic makeup of foxes.
Their muzzles have become shorter and smaller brain casings have been observed but scientists believe biochemical changes have allowed the foxes to retain their intelligence. There are also changes in the genes that allow their feisty nature to be tamed.
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As for Christian Meyer, as far as we know, he has not found his athletic shoe and there may well be little foxes sleeping in it this very moment.