A DARING fox decided to seek out a midnight snack before snuggling up on Jessica Lambert’s bed.
Jessica, 11, woke up to find the animal in her downstairs bedroom at home in West Mersea.
She gave it a stroke and excitedly popped upstairs to tell her parents about their house guest.
Mum Charlotte said: “It had gone through two large cat flaps. We have a cat and dog which use them, and the fox was the size of a labrador.
“Luckily, Jessica loves animals so she wasn’t scared, and just stroked it before coming upstairs to tell us.
“I thought she was dreaming, but when we came down it was back in the pantry.”
In the end, they managed to shoo the fox out of the house.
Charlotte was relieved the animal did not go upstairs where her younger children, aged two and eight, sleep.
She said: “My fear is what would have happened if Jessica screamed.
“She was actually quite pleased – she was not traumatised at all – and will have told everyone at school.”
The family say urban foxes are a problem in West Mersea.
She said: “People feed them and they are becoming domesticated.
They are not scared of people now.
“They are often seen around and we have a large garden, but they have never been in the house before.”
The next day was spent bleaching the pantry and washing the sheets to stop any diseases spreading.
Klare Kennett, spokesman for the RSPCA, said: “It is great the little girl was not traumatised. If she had screamed, the fox would have run away.
“If people want to deter them they can get electronic collars for their pets so they are the only ones who can use the cat flaps.”