UK wildlife photographer and artist Robert Fuller has captured some amazing photos of an extremely rare black fox playing in a North Yorkshire garden.

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Image: Robert Fuller/Used with permission

Fuller first learned of the fox when a customer, Robert “Black Fox Bob” Burns, came to him with home footage of the animal playing in his backyard. “As the video played, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing,” writes Fuller on his blog. “I was expecting the fox to be dark, but this fox was as black as a Labrador, with just the hint of silver highlights along its body. It had a beautiful white tip to its tail, just like a red fox.”

Black foxes, also known as silver foxes because of their silver-tipped fur, are actually just plain old red foxes with a genetic mutation. Red fox cubs usually go through a stage of darkened fur before it lightens up, but some have a mutation that keeps this from happening. While a bit more common in North America, there have been just a handful of black fox sightings in the UK in the past few years, and it’s thought that very few of these animals call it home.

Burns kept a watchful eye on his garden visitor (who he named – wait for it – “Black Fox”) for several months, keeping Fuller updated all the while. Black Fox fought off a case of mange, sparked up a relationship or two, and even defended his territory from an older, bigger male. Eventually, Fuller’s curiosity got the best of him.

“All the clips and news I had seen since I first heard of Black Fox made me feel I knew him well,” he writes. “And the urge to see [him] for myself could no longer be ignored. So this month I headed off to Black Fox Bob’s town flat in West Yorkshire.”

Upon arriving, Fuller unloaded all of his equipment and went about setting up a sting operation of sorts. After hours of waiting, Black Fox finally showed and Fuller was able to capture the incredible animal for himself. “I got a final shot before he trotted off on his rounds of his territory, melting into the darkness of the city.”

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Image: Robert Fuller/Used with permission
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Image: Robert Fuller/Used with permission

For more snapshots of the fox, head on over to Fuller's blog.

Top header image: Mark Kilner, Flickr