London police investigated a string of cat mutilations in London, mostly around the Croydon area. For about three years, people believed that a psycho serial cat-killer was on the prowl. However, police now believe that the perpetrator(s) were probably foxes, the BBC reported Friday. According to their report, over 400 reports of mutilations of cats were reported in "London and surrounding counties."

Cat-Killer investigation took three years

The investigation into the "cat-killer," dubbed the "Croydon Cat Killer" took so much time as each case was investigated separately.

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Gristly remains of cats were found strewn across yards, in parks, and in the streets. Astonishingly, the investigation laid the crime, which was not a crime, at the feet of many foxes.

The Telegraph notes that across the city, it's believed as many as 1000 foxes call it home.

People most often associate foxes with hen houses, hedgerows, and agricultural areas, but apparently, they adapt to city life with ease. Often, the cats may be killed by passing traffic, and then the foxes will scavenge on the carcasses. The finding of the police investigation was not taken lightly. Fox News reported that "animal welfare groups [VIDEO] and veterinarians," became involved in assessing the gruesome "murders." The evidence all points to foxes and other small predators as being the likely perpetrators of mangled remains.

London's urban fox population

During the early hours of the morning and in the dark hours, foxes may be encountered in even the best up-market areas. Their occurrence may be on the rise, as the Guardian noted last year, that the urban fox population was burgeoning.

Bournemouth reportedly has 23 foxes to every square kilometer (14 sq. miles). London came in second with 18 foxes in the same ratio.

While some people fear the fox population is increasing exponentially in the city areas, a founder of The Fox Project, Trevor Williams, believes that the cities continue to creep into fox habitat, forcing them to adapt to a life in the streets. It seems they are very successful at it too. Some people believe they may present a danger to humans, and in fact, one fox did attack a baby in 2013. However, according to the RSPCA, such incidents are extremely rare.

When he was the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson declared them a menace, but actually, they do control the feral rats and mice in the city. It seems now, that they also tend to clean up the poor cats that die through misfortune, notwithstanding the mangled remains they leave behind.

The green city attracts wildlife

Foxes are not serial murderers of cats as they just clean up the remains of the dead. Interestingly, foxes aren't the only wild animals that adapted to suburban life.

Badgers, Bank Voles, and Brown Hares all make the city a place to live in. This could be attributed to the fact that the London Wildlife Society points out: "London is a green city. 48 percent of it is surfaced in vegetation, rivers and still waters."

For the people of Croydon and London, it looks like the cat mutilations will continue to be a part of everyday life. Nonetheless, while it's a terrible end for the family cat, knowing the urban wildlife is benefitting from the deaths, may be a small consolation.