IELTS Cue Card Sample 414 - A wild animal that can be found in your country

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a wild animal that can be found in your country.

You should say:

  • what it is and what it looks like
  • where it lives
  • what you like /dislike about it

And explain how people in your country generally feel about it.

Sample Answer:
I live in England in the United Kingdom, and you might think we don’t have many wild animals, but in fact we do. They are generally quite small and elusive, but lovely nevertheless, and they feature in lots of children’s stories.  Perhaps you’ll have heard of Beatrix Potter? She wrote beautifully illustrated books for children which were based on her imagined adventures for creatures from our countryside like rabbits, hedgehogs and even toads.

I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite wild animals from my country. I’ll explain what it is, and what it looks like. Where it lives – though that is quite complicated.  What I like about it and a bit about how others feel about them. You will find there are very different views!The animal I am thinking of is about the size of a domestic cat, though in appearance it more resembles a dog.  It has a reddish coat and a long bushy tail, called a ‘brush’ which always has a white tip to it. They vary a little in colour, but often have a white underbelly, and attractive black markings at the edge of their pointed ears. Can you guess what it is?  A red fox!

As to where foxes generally live, that is quite interesting. Historically, they were a feature of the countryside. People think of them as carnivores, meat eaters, but in fact, they are omnivores. They do need a certain amount of prey, and will typically eat rabbits, birds, shrews and mice, for which they hunt,  as well as insects, berries, eggs and carrion (any dead animals they come across). However, they are also clever opportunists, so in the countryside, they will take domestic poultry if they can. In the countryside, they can come into conflict with farmers if they get into a chicken shed, they react to the panicking hens and can kill every bird in the hen house though only eating one. They aren’t popular on large estates where landowners raise pheasants for shooting. They have come to be regarded as something of a pest in the countryside, though not by everyone. Until quite recently it was legal to hunt foxes with dogs – I don’t agree with hunting at all, it horrifies me to think of a mob of people on horseback running down a solitary fox with a pack of dogs. I don’t agree with shooting pheasants either, a horrible so-called ‘sport’. Because foxes have been quite persecuted in the countryside, they have increasingly moved into urban areas. They are very resourceful and adaptable and actually have done really well living in towns and cities alongside people.  In this environment they are largely scavengers, raiding bins, eating discarded food from shops and restaurants, and living alongside railway tracks where there is still some cover of vegetation in which they can build dens.

The urban fox is doing so well, they are really common, and probably more now live in the towns than in the countryside. They are more active at dusk perhaps, but it is relatively easy to spot them. I think they are really beautiful, and I find it extraordinary that such a relatively large mammal can live alongside people in such a seemingly unpromising environment. They are so habituated to people they can become quite bold. They are still wild animals, and should not be regarded as tame, but they will come quite close. Where my parents live a fox used to regularly stop by their garden every evening to see if any food had been left out. Lots of people leave scraps out for ‘their’ foxes, as you might put out seeds to feed the birds that visit your garden. The fox always came at the same time, so my parents started to sit out and wait for it, and the fox would come within a couple of feet of them. It came so frequently, it wore a track in the lawn so you could see its exact route across the garden.  Even if you can’t see foxes, you can hear them at night calling. The sound is quite alarming if you haven’t heard it before. They give out a range of calls, but sometimes it can be mistaken for someone screaming.  It’s quite something!

People have very different views about foxes. Some people regard them as pests that take livestock in the countryside and upturn rubbish bins in the city. Others, like me, treasure this beautiful creature. I have seen the damage foxes can cause to a hen house, and it is bad, but they are wild animals acting on instinct, you just have to make sure your poultry sheds are fox-proof as best you can. I feel really privileged that even in the midst of a city you might catch a glimpse of a fox at night, loping along. Where I live now, after it snows, I can see fox tracks in the garden.  I find it comforting that even though these animals are so persecuted in some rural areas, they have found a way to adapt and survive. They are glorious to behold and give me hope that endangered as many species are, foxes at least have found a way to endure!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

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