In 2014 a resident living in Cluster 8 of Jumeirah Islands spotted this fox in the backyard of her villaJumeirah Islands Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI A Jumeirah Islands (JI) resident got a surprise visitor last Monday -- an Arabian Red Fox.

South African expat Rae Arnott said she was having coffee in her villa around 9 am when she saw something scurry into her garden. “It had a bushy tail so I thought it was a stray cat. But when I stepped closer I realised that it was a fox. It looked beautiful as it stared at me. I reckon it had sneaked in from the thick bushes behind my house. Luckily I clicked a picture before it could run away,” said Arnott who lives in Cluster 8.

Serjios Al Hage who lives nearby said he had heard about fox sightings in Jumeirah Islands but never come across one himself. “This is perhaps the first time that a resident has had such a close encounter with a fox,” he said.

Unwelcome vistors

Last year, Al Hage spotted a Brahminy blind snake inside his villa. “The community seems to be getting more and more visitors these days. The snake was harmless but it was still shocking to see it.”

Jumeirah Islands is a Nakheel developed New Dubai property comprising over 700 villas in various clusters.

Dr. Reza Khan, Specialist, Wildlife & Zoo Management, Public Parks and Horticulture Department of the Dubai Municipality cautioned residents to stay clear of foxes as they could carry viruses. “This is an Arabian red fox. It’s harmless and people don’t have to worry about having it around. However, all carnivores could be carriers of Rabies virus. Anybody bitten by such carnivores must check with a physician immediately,” he said.

“The Arabian Red Fox is shy and doesn’t come near people but it would be attracted to pet animals such as poultry, francolins, quails, partridges, pigeons and rabbits,” he added.

The Ruppell’s Fox and the Blandford’s Fox are two other common types of foxes found in the UAE.