A driver was stunned after the UK’s rarest animal tried to jump in his van – the elusive BLACK fox.
Shocked Sam Houghton couldn’t believe his eyes when the unusual creature attempted to climb into his vehicle.
The black colouring is common on growing fox cubs before they grow their standard issue dark chestnut coat.
But some red foxes stick with their beautiful black fur because of a rare genetic glitch.
Both parents have to carry the rarer recessive melanic gene – that causes a black coat – but even then there is only a 1 in 4 chance of having a cub with a dark coat.
Sam said: “We were loading up then he just came from nowhere and tried to jump into the van.
“I was scared to be honest and tired to jump out, then it ran away behind some of our containers.”
Regaining his composure, Sam and his cousin, Dan Houghton, from Sale, Great Mancs., decided to find out what it was.
Sam said: “We waited a few minutes with our phones ready and he came back out. It was like he wasn’t scared of us at all.
“We were amazed when we saw it. We googled it and it was definitely a black fox. I couldn’t believe it when it said it was one of the rarest animals in the UK.”
Sam filmed the black fox, which is said to be one of the rarest animals in the UK, while Tom took photos.
The only ‘guarantee’ of producing a black cub is if TWO melanic foxes mate.
A flurry of black fox sightings this year have given hope that they may be breeding.
Five black foxes were spotted in Yorkshire this year which has led to claims that there may be a breeding pair in the county.
It was thought the foxes spotted might be descendants of the famous ‘Black Fox Bob’ – only the FIFTH black fox confirmed sighting – who sadly died in Halifax last year.
Hayley de Ronde, spokesperson for Black Foxes UK said: “We have a suspicion that the most recent sightings is the same fox and a relative of the famous Black Fox Bob.
“There is certainly a higher concentration of melanism in the area than you would expect.
“It is also possible that the appearance of melanism in UK foxes is natural and it is topography and inbreeding that is keeping the gene expressed in small communities.
“Melanistic animals are naturally bolder than their non melanistic counterparts, and now breeding season is over and weaning is about to begin it may be that the fox just felt the need to take advantage of what peoples gardens had to offer.”
Before this year, there had only been five reported sightings of black foxes nationwide in five years.
Sam’s amazing footage shows the fox nonchalantly nosing around the containers without a care in the world.
At one point, the fox looks directly at the camera before going about its business.
After having its fun at the industrial unit, the sleek fox is filmed trotting down the street before getting spooked and disappearing into some bushes.
Sam said: “It was just running around.
“It was absolutely amazing. I don’t really know how else to describe it.
“We didn’t even know there was such a thing as a black fox.
“I’ve seen a few sparrows down here, but never anything like that.
“We don’t want to disturb nature or anything, so we’re just going to get on with our work as normal and keep an eye out. But I doubt we’ll see it again.”
They are the rarest animal in Britain, partly because they were extensively hunted for their fur in the past.
In Gaelic tradition, black foxes are bringers of bad luck and in Medieval times, villages were afraid of seeing one, believing it was an omen of trouble or bad luck.