Hackney residents are being urged by police to keep their ground-floor windows and doors closed after a fox entered a bedroom and seriously injured sleeping nine-month-old twin girls Isabella and Lola Koupparis.
The fox is believed to have entered their home through a patio door left open due to the heat.
Parents Nick and Pauline Koupparis, who were reportedly watching television at the time of the incident, called 999 after chasing the fox away from their three-storey Victorian terraced house in Homerton.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police were called at approximately 10pm on Saturday June 5, to an address in Homerton E9, to reports of a fox attack. Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended and found two nine-month-old girls with injuries. Both babies were taken to an east London hospital where their condition is described as serious but stable.”
One girl is believed to have wounds to an eye while another has had surgery on an arm.
The couple also have a four-year-old son, Max, who was not injured in the attack. Speaking to the BBC today, Ms Koupparis talked of the ordeal as a ‘living nightmare,’ describing her daughters’ injuries as resembling ‘something from a horror movie.’
After hearing a strange cry from the twins’ room, she described going to see what was wrong. “I went into the room and I saw some blood in Isabella’s cot,” she told reporters. “I thought she had a nosebleed. I put on the light, I saw the fox, it just looked at me and it wasn’t even scared of me. I started screaming as I realised Lola was also covered in blood.”
The Koupparis’ next-door neighbour Vgur Pekcin, 29, said: “ There is a real fox problem round here and it’s out of control. Only last week a fox came into my sitting room while I was watching TV.”
“I don’t know how it got into the house but it just looked at me. I had to throw a cushion at it to get it away. I don’t think they’re getting much food as they’re tearing up our bins and taking desperate measures.”
Pest controllers have since set fox traps in the back garden of the Koupparis’ house. A fox discovered in one of the devices on Sunday night has been humanely destroyed by a vet.
Urban wildlife expert John Bryant, speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, described the attack as “freakish”.
He said: “I have only ever heard of two cases in my 40 years of dealing with foxes, one of which turned out to be a German Shepherd and the other a cat.
“But it is always possible – there are thousands of three-month old cubs beginning to run around. They smell food and go through an open door but it is freakish that a fox should attack someone.”
Bryant said foxes had been known to steal the odd trainer, create a mess or have a sleep on someone’s bed, but they would usually “do anything to avoid trouble”.
“Foxes are among the most amenable, least aggressive mammals you could share your environment with,” he said. “It’s very rare for a fox to be brave enough to face a cat.”
The RSPCA have labelled the case in Hackney an “extremely rare occurrence”.
“If people have issues with foxes near their homes they should contact their local authority or a licensed pest controller.
“To discourage foxes from people’s property they should also ensure any rubbish and household waste left out is secure and not open for scavenging.”
If anyone has a concern about the welfare of a fox they can call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.