Author Katie Riley
During one of our Forest school Level 3 training weeks at Friston Forest last November we came across some fox remains. Apart from feeling sad for the fox, my next thought was to the educational possibilities that a full skeleton would provide. Much to everyone’s amusement (or disgust in some cases!), I bagged him up and took him home for burial in my garden. I first placed the body in a strong plastic tray, then dug down a good 18 inches and buried the lot, carefully backfilling and placing a marker block on the site.
The group was due to meet up again for the residential element of the training course, so a few weeks ago I dug down again and brought foxy back into the light. Once washed of the surrounding soil, the bones were completely clean and it was fascinating sorting them into groups and identifying the whole set. After a week drying in the greenhouse, I packed them in an empty biscuit box to show the group again last weekend. Morbid fascination gets the better of most of us, and we had an interesting time looking at the bones, the teeth are fascinating, and even all the small bones are present, down to toe bones and several claws still in their sheaths.
My real reason for putting fox in a box is to be able to show it to the many children that we work with. It’s always fun to be able to see and touch real bones of animals they may never get close to otherwise, to be able to count ribs, vertebrae, long bones, teeth, and toes. Next time I’m out with a group of kids I think we might try and put it back together again!