Most fox 'nuisance' experienced by people in urban and suburban areas falls into three categories - digging, fouling and noise.
The challenge is to keep foxes out of your garden. The first thing to be said is that trapping the fox for relocation, or even killing it, is a waste of time and money.
Without doubt another fox will soon move into the displaced fox's territory and your problems will be back.
Better to deter foxes from entering the garden in the first place.
The best way is with suitable fencing, but there are several means outlined below in our 'How to Control' section.
- Controlling urban foxes is difficult, expensive and never successful for long, so the best answer is prevention rather than control.
- If you are suffering from a single rouge fox with particularly obnoxious habits, then it might be worth employing a professional to take out that single animal.
How to catch that rouge fox:
The use of a Live Catch Fox Trap can be a very successful way of targeting a particular animal.
Here's how to catch it:
- Don't try to catch a fox whilst it may be suckling cubs, so no trapping between April and August - just to be safe.
- Use a good quality, well built trap as you may catch a badger by mistake and a badger will wreck one of those cheap imported traps. The trap mechanism is better on good quality cages and if a trap goes off but doesn't catch, you will never get that fox near a trap again.
- Place the cage discreetly in a quiet corner away from the attention of people who may wish to disrupt your efforts.
- Prebait the trap with cheap poultry wings or waste meat for several days until the fox is feeding from within the cage without fear.
- One evening, set the trip mechanism on the trap.
- Next morning you will have your fox.
Next problem is how to deal with it:
- There is no easy answer to this. Releasing it into the countryside is not a good idea as you are putting it into unfamiliar territory occupied by other foxes. It will almost certainly die from stress and/or starvation, or from being shot by the local farmer/gamekeeper.
- If you are going to trap a rouge fox, you must ensure that you are able to call on the services of a licensed firearms person who will come and humanely dispatch the animal.
The red fox is the world's most abundant wild dog.
- Red foxes are easily distinguished by their reddish-brown coat, black ears and feet, and the white tip at the end of a bushy tail.
- The fox is highly alert and aware of its surroundings.
- They have acute senses of hearing, smell and sight.
- mating takes place during December, January and February (hence the squealing of fox calls heard at that time of year)
- gestation is 52-53 days
- litter size is 5-6 cubs
- cubs venture out around 5 weeks (May time)
- cubs are weaned about the same time but are dependent on the adults for another couple of months
- probably only one or two cubs from a litter will reach adulthood
- life span can be up to 12 years but is usually considerable less
Foxes have adapted to life in our cities and they are now well established in virtually all cities and most towns in Britain. Here we will deal with urban foxes.
- Foxes thrive in an urban environment because all their basic needs are met - shelter in which to hide and raise cubs, food in abundance and ample water.
- In addition, the urban fox has few enemies except the motor car.
- Foxes find shelter in derelict buildings, waste land and gardens.
- Food is found from discarded takeaways, rubbish bins, natural quarry such as rats and mice, and from people who enjoy feeding foxes in their gardens.
- Cubs are frequently raised in quiet corners of gardens, under sheds and buildings, within earths excavated in banks and even under homes.
- Although foxes are sociable animals, they tend to hunt alone. However, during the mating season of December, January and February pairs of foxes can work together.
- Foxes are omnivores and will eat small mammals, birds, insects, fruit and any food discarded by humans.
- Foxes tend to follow much the same route every night on their quest for food, so they may always pass by your hen run just in case you have forgotten to close the door.
- If they do get into poultry or pet cages, they will kill until every bird or animal is dead, despite not needing the food. Foxes have been known to kill several hundred hens in a single night, but carry away only one or two.
- Foxes can become very vocal during the mating season and the blood-curdling screams can be very alarming if you don't know it is the foxes mating call.
Preventing foxes entering and fouling your garden can be a big challenge.
- If it is possible, you should erect secure fencing right around your property to a height of about 2m and dug into the ground by about 12 inches.
- In most cases it is simply not possible to make a garden fox-proof and you then have to rely on less than perfect repellent devices such as Scoot and Get off my Garden.
- One thing you may be able to do is to remove whatever it is in your garden that is attracting foxes in the first place. For instance, keep all refuse in wheelie bins or secure containers, don't leave food out for other animals, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, dogs, birds, etc.
- Clean up overgrown corners of your garden, foxes don't hang around where there is no daytime shelter available.
Where foxes have taken up residence under your shed or house:
- First, don't try to get the foxes out until their cubs are independent.
- Don't just block off a hole that you think foxes are using until you are absolutely positive that there are no foxes hiding in there.
- When you know for sure there are no foxes under your shed/house, then securely block their access point with 2 inch square steel mesh or something of similar strength.
- Dig it into the ground if necessary because if the fox wants to get back in there it will make every effort to do so.
- Keep an eye out for new excavations and block them with bricks, stones and soil etc as soon as they appear. The foxes will soon get weary of trying and go elsewhere.