Super-rare black fox spotted in Coventry for the first time in years

Only a handful of black fox sightings have ever been recorded in the UK

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The Independent Online

A black fox, the rare product of a highly uncommon genetic defect, has been spotted in Coventry.

Wendy Hier spotted the fox in a grassy area in the Walsgrave area of Coventry, but it ran away before she could take a picture.

Wildlife experts believe that there is only a handful of black foxes in the entire country.

The black fox's unique colouring is down to a rare genetic defect. Many young cubs have black fur before it changes to the normal red as they grow, but for some animals, the black colour remains for their lifetime.

Their rare colour was naturally highly prized by fur traders, and the gene that gave rise to the black colouring has almost disappeared as they have been hunted over the years.

The animal has an almost-mythical status for some, and the odd creature has only been caught on camera a handful of times.

Sandra Watts, who lives near to where the animal was spotted, told the Coventry Telegraph: "We've had one around here for the last two years to my knowledge. I've seen it myself on quite a few occasions."

It is unknown whether the two womens' sightings were of the same fox.

The fox has a distinctive white-tipped tail, and according to some legends, it can bring bad luck.