Police are investigating a fox attack on a one-month-old baby boy, who had his finger torn off by the animal after being dragged from his cot.
• Four-week-old boy left seriously injured after attack.
• Surgeons work to reattach baby’s finger.
The animal seriously injured the infant after entering his bedroom in Bromley, south east London, according to reports.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We were called at 1638 on Wednesday 6 February by staff at St Thomas’s Hospital to reports a baby boy who had been admitted to hospital after being attacked by a fox.
“Police attended to find a four-week-old baby with a hand injury.
“The baby was admitted to hospital after the attack at its home address in Bromley.”
The baby’s mother was alerted by his screaming and rushed into his room to see his hand lodged “halfway down the animal’s throat”, it was reported.
Surgeons were able to reattach the baby’s finger and he was said to be recovering well.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said more must be done to tackle the growing problem of urban foxes.
He told BBC News: “They may appear cuddly and romantic but foxes are also a pest and a menace, particularly in our cities.
“This must serve as a wake-up call to London’s borough leaders, who are responsible for pest control.
“They must come together, study the data, try to understand why this is becoming such a problem and act quickly to sort it out.”
Mr Johnson also said his thoughts were “with the baby boy and his family”.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said the only reason a fox would attack is due to fear.
She said: “It’s extremely unusual for foxes to attack young children or anyone.
“It’s not typical fox behaviour at all. Foxes will come closer to a house if there are food sources. Then they can become quite bold, but they usually do back off and run away when there’s people around.”
The issue of foxes attacking humans has divided the public, with many sceptics questioning recent cases amid fears of a backlash against urban foxes.
In April last year wildlife presenter Chris Packham said he simply did not believe reports of people getting attacked by the animals, in an interview with the Radio Times.
The broadcaster, who gave his views on the back of a Channel 4 programme Foxes Live: Wild In The City, said there was no proof that the creatures attack dogs and cats except in “exceptional circumstances”.
Packham said that the urbanisation of the fox was “celebrated” in the late 1960s but “now we’ve seemingly tired of their antics and we’re hell-bent on blaming them for all the crimes we can.
“But their only true crime is ... being too successful and that’s another thing we Brits just can’t stand,” he told the magazine.
“Validated assaults of dogs and cats are non-existent, except under exceptional circumstances.
“And as for attacks on humans - I’ll be necessarily diplomatic - I don’t believe it.”