AN ELUSIVE resident of Portland has been captured on camera.

Portland Camera Club member Paul Stevens spotted this rare black-silver fox in a quarry on the isle.

He couldn’t believe his eyes but luckily managed to take this snap as proof.

His wife Lorraine first spotted the fox on Saturday, and Mr Stevens went to grab his camera. By the time he got there, the fox had disappeared- but lucily Mr Stevens managed to guess its direction of travel and managed to get a photo. 

Sightings of this fox have been reported to the Echo several times in the last few weeks, but there was no photographic evidence- until now.

But anyone thinking that this is a wild animal might need to think again. 

Her name is Freda and she lives, by day, with owner Maddie Bates. 

But Freda is a 'bit of a madam' and likes to go off and do her own thing from time to time.

In March, the Echo ran an appeal after she went off on her own for the first time. But now it has become a regular occurence, Maddie said. 

Freda went off for a couple of days at the end of last week but returned home, where she lives with her brother Boo, on Sunday morning. 

Maddie said she never knows whether to post on social media about Freda because lots of people say they've seen her whenever she goes off. 

Black and silver foxes get their colouring from a rare genetic defect.

Rather than being a species, they are actually melanistic versions of the red fox.

'Red fox' is the species name rather than the colour description and they can come in colours all the way from red to black.

The unusual colouring is normally seen on growing cubs before the fox develops its dark chestnut coat, however some red foxes remain black due to a rare genetic flaw, which dates back hundreds of years.

Trever Williams, of charity The Fox Project said: "Photos I’ve seen in the past have sometimes subsequently be seen to be a seriously mangy fox that’s lost all the fur and the resulting grey skin looks black; a domestic dog; and, years ago when the fur industry was outlawed, several silver foxes released into the wild by the fur farm owners," he said.

"These latter foxes are actually melanistic versions of the red fox that can be deliberately and selectively bred in captivity but the young of which are likely to revert to the more usual colouring when breeding naturally with the wild population. They can, however, occur naturally, as can many other shades of red fox."

Mr Williams said he hopes that people leave the fox alone and let it continue to live as she pleases on the isle.

According to Gaelic tradition, black foxes are bringers of bad luck to anyone who sees them.

Rural communities used to tell of a fox as ‘black as night, so that it could live in a man’s shadow and never be seen.’

Centuries-old superstitions are often found attached to black animals, such as black dogs and black cats. And the black fox has been associated with the devil.

In Medieval times, villages were very afraid of the sighting of a black fox and considered it to predict trouble or bad luck.