Nine-month-olds Lola and Isabella Koupparis were sleeping in their cots in the Stoke Newington district of the London borough of Hackney on Saturday night when the fox crept in through the rear patio doors after the twins' parents left them open because of the warm weather.
When the twins' mother Pauline Koupparis went upstairs to check on them she noticed that the bedclothes of one of the twins was bloodstained, and she initially assumed her baby had had a nosebleed, until she saw the fox snarling at her in the corner of the bedroom.
After hearing her screams, Pauline's husband Nick raced upstairs and managed to shoo the fox away with a cushion.
The girls' father Nick is with Lola at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel while mum Pauline is at the bedside of the more seriously-ill Isabella, who has been transferred to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, the best children's hospital in the world.
Both girls have puncture wounds to their arms and are likely to be scarred for life. Lola also has facial wounds.
Of Lola, Pauline said: "One side of her face is beautiful, the other looks like something from a horror movie."
There are about a quarter of a million red foxes in the UK and, partly as a result of the previous Government's 2005 ban on hunting them, their numbers are increasing rapidly. About 33,000 of them live in urban areas.
It is very unusual, though, for foxes to attack humans, and foxes usually cower even from cats.
One of the baby twins savaged by fox is 'much better' as her sister remains sedated in hospital
By Neil Sears and Katherine Faulkner
9th June 2010
Sitting side by side in their summer dresses, with floppy hats to shield them from the sun, these are the nine-month-old twins savaged in their cots by a fox.
Isabella and Lola Koupparis were having surgery in separate hospitals yesterday for the 'life-changing' injuries they sustained in the attack.
Isabella, who gazes up at the camera, had been in intensive care before being transferred to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, while Lola's face was described by her mother as 'looking like something from a horror movie'.
Twins Isabella (left) and Lola Kouparris who were mauled by a fox. Isabella is fighting for her life in intensive care while Lola's face was described by her mother as 'looking like something from a horror move'
Pauline Koupparis, the mother of the baby girls
This morning the twins' grandmother Zoe Koupparis said: 'Lola is a lot better but Isabella is still sedated.
'We're really pleased about Lola. Nick and Pauline (the girls' parents) are definitely pleased but of course they're concerned about Isabella.'
She said doctors would decide whether to release Lola from hospital.
Fear of further fox attacks remains high close to their parents' £800,000 home in East London, with the local authority yesterday issuing warning leaflets, while London Mayor Boris Johnson called for councils to control the animals.
News of the extent of the girls' injuries emerged as their parents Nick, 40, who is a finance director for a film company, and Pauline, 41, a fashion expert, separately stayed close to them at the Royal London Hospital and Great Ormond Street respectively.
Pests: There are a quarter of a million red foxes in the UK and around 33,000 live in urban areas, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. They are the world's most common wild dog.
The twins' uncle David Watson spoke of their plight as he picked up baby supplies from the family's three-storey Victorian terrace in Hackney's fashionable Victoria Park area.
It was there on Saturday night that the fox crept through patio doors left open in the heat, prowled upstairs, and bit both girls on the arms and Lola on the face.
Mrs Koupparis realised what was going on only when she heard the girls' cries - and rushed upstairs to find her daughters covered in blood, and an apparently unperturbed fox in the room.
It initially stayed put even when her husband tried to chase it away with a cushion.
The twins' brother Max, four, was unhurt.
The Koupparis home: The fox made its way in through the open sliding windows, circled, of their £800,000 in Stoke Newington, Hackney, east London
Uncle Mr Watson said yesterday: 'The twins are improving and Lola is a lot better.
'The injuries are going to be pretty life changing if a fox has mauled you in the face and arm.
'They are going through surgery at the moment, as we understand it.
'It's difficult for Nick and Pauline to contact each other because they can't use mobile phones, so we have been ferrying messages through.'
He added: 'The staff have been brilliant and there has been an improvement this morning.'
Frightening attack: Nick Koupparis, father of the twins, chased the fox out of the family's three-storey house in Stoke Newington, east London
The twins' paternal grandmother, Zeolla Koupparis, said later: 'The twins are fine at the moment.'
Neighbours remain anxious for action to be taken to prevent further attacks, however, with several claiming ever more brazen foxes have been a growing problem in recent years - and a former Hackney mayor saying he first called for fox control decades ago.
Yesterday Boris Johnson added his weight to the calls for action, saying: 'It's right that boroughs should focus on their duties for pest control, because, as romantic and cuddly as a fox is, it is also a pest.'
Hackney Council, which insists it has no greater fox problem than anywhere else and says it has received no other reports of attacks by the animals, was yesterday provoked into action by the furore.
Leaflets were posted through the doors of houses on the street concerned, advising residents that traps had been left in the Koupparis family's garden.
They will stay there for the rest of the month and are being checked daily by a pest controller. One fox was caught there and destroyed early on Monday morning.
The neighbours were also requested to keep their cats indoors so they are not caught in the traps, and advised not to leave out food for pets or wild birds which could attract foxes.
Last night a spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: 'We can confirm that Isabella Koupparis is still a patient at the hospital, and continues to receive the highest possible levels of care from medical staff.'
Time to bring it back? Fox numbers have spiralled since the do-gooders banned fox hunting in 2005.
A spokesman at the Royal London Hospital said Lola remained in a serious but stable condition.
Fox attack baby girls to be scarred for life
By Tom Mctague
9/06/2010 (external - login to view)
An uncle of the twin baby girls mauled by a fox as they lay in their cots said yesterday their injuries are so serious they will be scarred for life.
David Watson, speaking as he paid a visit to the home of ninemonth-old Lola and Isabella Koupparis, said they were both slowly recovering after days of intensive hospital treatment.
He added: "The twins are improving and Lola is a lot better. But the injuries are going to be pretty life-changing if a fox has mauled you in the face and arm.
"They are going through surgery at the moment as we understand it."
The girls' father Nick is with Lola at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel while mum Pauline is at the bedside of the more seriously-ill Isabella, who has been transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Pauline told BBC radio Lola's injuries "look dreadful".
She said: "One side of her face is beautiful, the other looks like something from a horror movie. It's shocking." The mum-of-three said Lola was now "laughing and smiling" after big brother Max saw her in hospital.
Pauline revealed Isabella is in "special care" having fared the worse out of the two girls.
She said: "Isabella always sleeps on her tummy so her arm was very, very badly damaged. Lola lies on her back and her injuries are facial. At first I thought she'd lost her eye and she has quite a lot of puncture marks on her arm where the fox tried to snatch her up."
The couple have been keeping a bedside vigil at the Royal London Hospital since the attack.
David added: "Pauline and Nick are bearing up under the circumstances. Lola is at one hospital and Isabella is at Great Ormond Street. It's difficult for Nick and Pauline to contact each other because they can't use mobile phones, so we have been ferrying messages through.
"The staff have been brilliant and there has been an improvement this morning."
The girls' grandmother Zoe Koupparis said: "They're doing all right at the moment.
But I'm too upset to talk about it."
Lola and Isabella were savaged by a fox that sneaked into the house in Hackney, East London, on Saturday and crept up to their bedroom. Nick and Pauline, both 40, had left the back door at their townhouse open due to the heat.
Pauline has described how she found both her daughters covered in blood and the fox nearby. Nick chased it away with a cushion.
John Bryant, an expert on urban foxes, yesterday said the animal may have been a cub that attacked the tots in a panic after mistaking their soiled nappies for food.
He added: "I get lots of reports from people that they are finding nappies in their gardens. Foxes have a grab-and-go philosophy."
Mr Bryant believes the fox was about three to four months old and went into the house because it was attracted by the smell of the nappies. He believes it may have panicked when it realised the nappies were attached to babies.
Mr Bryant said in 40 years studying urban foxes he has never known of a fox to attack a human. He called it a "completely unique event. A freak accident that will never be repeated".
Mr Bryant said foxes would usually try to avoid a fight, adding: "It's very rare for a fox to be brave enough to face a cat."
London Mayor Boris Johnson said foxes were a pest and a menace but only in rare circumstances pose a threat to humans.
He said: "It's right boroughs focus on their duties for pest control because as romantic and cuddly as a fox is, it is also a pest."
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children yesterday said Isabella was receiving "the highest possible levels of care from medical staff".
The Royal London Hospital said Lola was "serious but stable."
Pictured: The fox that mauled twin baby girls as they slept caught on camera minutes after savage attack
By Daily Mail Reporter
9th June 2010
Staring at the camera and still waiting at the patio doors, this is the fox believed to have mauled twin baby girls as they slept in their cots.
The fox, which appears to be a cub from its size, was caught on camera by police minutes after the savage attack in Hackney, east London.
As paramedics tended to gravely-injured nine-month-olds Lola and Isabella Koupparis, one officer walked around their home.
He discovered the animal standing outside the rear patio doors of the £800,000 three-storey Stoke Newington property.
The blurry image shows the apparently young fox alert and staring at the officer through the glass of the sliding door.
Attack: This fox was loitering by patio doors after Lola and Isabella Koupparis were mauled as they slept in their room in east London
It is understood the encounter last Saturday night lasted just seconds before the fox ran off into the back garden, which is filled with toys.
The patio doors had been left open during the hot weather, but were closed immediately after the attack.