On Tuesday 27 October, BBC’s Autumnwatch returned to BBC Two, exploring nature and wildlife in regions including the New Forest and South Yorkshire.
While many people expressed their excitement over the return of the show – with one viewer describing it as a ‘a shot of joy straight to the heart’ – those who tuned in to watch the hour-long episode got more than they bargained for when the conversation turned to the intelligence of foxes.
Chris and his stepdaughter Megan, who made her first appearance on Springwatch earlier this year, shared a clip sent in by a viewer from Bristol, which showed a fox cleverly using its mouth to take the caps of milk bottles for a sip.
It was at this point that Chris made his unexpected revelation.
‘I like the way it sticks its tongue in there. Foxes have got quite strong, little narrow, rectangular tongues, you know,’ the 59-year-old said.
He then recalled a time when he was a child, when he would ‘tease’ his pet fox when feeding it ‘by putting food in my mouth’.
‘The fox would come up, and every now and again it would put its tongue in my mouth and it would push it up underneath my lip,’ Chris said, while Megan looked on, clearly embarrassed.
But it didn’t stop there. Chris then went on to compare the way foxes kiss to dogs, ‘when they sort of slip their tongue in occasionally when they’re kissing you’.
After seeing 25-year-old Megan place a hand to her head in disbelief, Chris said: ‘Come on, being French kissed by a fox! That’s a badge of honour.’
But Megan disagreed, stating: ‘It’s a badge of honour for you, but Chris there are some things you should keep to yourself.’
Several Autumnwatch viewers commented on Chris’ fox anecdote on Twitter, some of which agreed with Megan’s point of view.
‘I’ve heard Chris Packham called a ‘silver fox’ but snogging a fox with aggressive tongue action is a tad far…’’ one person remarked.
‘I’m with Megan on Chris Packham’s fox snogging revelations. Oversharing,’ another stated, while someone else added: ‘Well I wasn’t expecting Chris Packham to talk about French kissing a fox.’
Despite the shock some Autumnwatch viewers clearly felt over the French-kissing fox story, Chris later took to Twitter to defend his anecdote, sharing a throwback black-and-white picture of him with a fox.
‘I’m sure people could find a million reasons to indicate that ‘French kissing’ a fox was a very bad idea/ But I’m still here and I love these animals more than most others, and most days work hard to protect them and encourage others to respect them. Whatever it takes eh?’ he wrote.
Autumnwatch continues tonight on BBC Two tonight at 8pm.