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What to do About Foxes in Your Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Foxes In Garden Urban Fox Fox Myths Fox

Many people mistakenly believe that the presence of a fox in the garden can be dangerous to both humans and other pets that are living there but this is rarely the case. It is extremely rare for a fox to attack a cat and it will never take on a dog. Even rabbits and smaller animals are usually quite safe as long as their hutch is secured. They may be more vulnerable in late spring/early summer when foxes are rearing their cubs but providing the hutch is built sturdily and is completely secured you shouldn’t have a problem. In fact, you might want to keep the hutch in a secure garage, shed or even bring it indoors if you’re that concerned. In fact, the reality is that the most damage caused by the presence of foxes in your garden is likely to be on your ears and nose! Their mating calls, usually between December and February, can resemble a screaming sound which will keep you awake long into the night. They can also dig up the garden looking for worms and their excretions to mark their territories are often highly pungent. For some wildlife enthusiasts, however, having foxes in the garden can be a privilege.

How to Keep Foxes Away From Your Garden
First and foremost, it’s important to state that the law prevents the use of any form of inhumane and poisonous control methods and any chemical you might choose to use must be covered by the Control of Pesticide Regulations 1986. The best course of action, however, is to remove the attraction in the first place which is likely to be food and or shelter.

Taking Action
Refuse bags which have simply been tied up and left outside in your garden are an open invitation to a fox to tear them up and rummage through them. They can scent food from a great distance. You should dispose of all your food waste in a domestic wheelie bin with the lid firmly closed and remove possible sources of other food such as compost heap scraps. If you have dogs or cats, don’t feed them outside and make sure that any food you leave out for the birds is only accessible to the birds and no other creatures.

If you suspect shelter is more the reason for their presence you might need to resort to using some kind of approved animal repellent to remove the attraction and, in a worse case scenario, you may even have to resort to using thick wire mesh securely fixed to make a protective shield around the perimeter of your garden.

The Myth of the Fox Attack
Contrary to popular belief, a fox will not usually openly attack a human, be it an adult or a child nor will it attack another dog. The recent event in London where twin babies were attacked, is thought to have been a fox cub attracted by the smell of the babies' nappies. The fox seems to have to tried to drag the nappies through the bars of the cot and viewed the babies as opponents trying to prevent it. Experts say this kind of attack is extremely rare, but it's wise to keep an eye on youngsters and keep doors closed in the evenings when foxes are out looking for food.

Most cats will also prove too much of a threat to a fox. However, if found in a shed or cornered elsewhere, a fox, like many other frightened animal, may try to bite in self-defence so you should not try to corner or capture a trapped fox but allow it an escape route and it will leave as soon as it knows it’s safe to do so.

For fox enthusiasts, however, the presence of foxes in the garden can mean incredible hours of wildlife observation at its finest and they will also help to keep mice and rats away.

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Familyman - Your Question:
Hi,We have rented a house recently mainly because of its garden. We have 2 small kids who loved to play in the garden. In sunny days they can spend virtually complete day out there. They are small - youngest is just 1 year old. Earlier this week we were horrified to see a wild fox roaming in the garden one morning. Now this happened again today. It seems to be a regular thing that foxes frequent this house garden. Now we are afraid to leave the small baby playing in the garden. They are probably coming in through some place in the fence / bush with the neighbors. What should I do to keep them away ?

Our Response:
Foxes are unlikely to pose a danger to young children and of course you would never leave a small baby along in a garden anyway. Here is some good advice from Lewisham Council on ways you can deter foxes from your garden.
WildlifeGardener - 14-May-18 @ 10:32 AM
Hi We have 3 fox cubs living in our garden. They have been here about 3wks now. I haven't seen a mum but i think they are sleeping behind the back of the shed. They are completely adorable and look healthy. They play in the garden during the day. I guess my only problem really is that we have a dog who knows they are there so we've not been able to let him use the garden as he goes nuts trying to find them! I want to leave food out but don't know if that would make them dependant. I'm not even sure they are weaned and worry that their mum may have been killed. How long do fox cubs stay with mum? should i leave food out? are they likely to leave once they are bigger? Should i call the RSPCA and what exactly would they do with them? I've heard that foxes should not be relocated. Of course it's lovely to see them and i feel kind of privileged that they chose our tiny garden but I'm just worried about them now. If i thought they would move on once they were bigger I'd be reassured that i could let our dog out there and even use the garden ourselves (we stopped as we didn't want to disturb them) and also because i can't risk forgetting to shut the back door in case they get in or the dog gets out.
Lees - 13-May-18 @ 10:31 PM
Hi, We have rented a house recently mainly because of its garden. We have 2 small kids who loved to play in the garden. In sunny days they can spend virtually complete day out there. They are small - youngest is just 1 year old. Earlier this week we were horrified to see a wild fox roaming in the garden one morning. Now this happened again today. It seems to be a regular thing that foxes frequent this house garden. Now we are afraid to leave the small baby playing in the garden. They are probably coming in through some place in the fence / bush with the neighbors. What should I do to keep them away ?
Familyman - 13-May-18 @ 8:51 AM
We have just moved to the countryside.... We have three children and a very untidy 1/4 of an acre plot.... we are going to leave it untidy... it is an absolute haven for wildlife.....We have a mother fox and her baby cubs in a den in the bottom corner of the garden and so many lovely birds and squirells.... How anyone could complain about these gentle creatures is beyond me. Our children adore seeing the cubs and our dog is sensible enough to stay away but I do not feel threatened by them at all.
Feeling blessed. - 21-Apr-18 @ 7:42 PM
I have had a big mound of sand on th slope of my garden. We have had foxes around our gardens for years. Then at weekend I saw th mother fox sat on th hill with her babies suckling on her. She was lay down comfortable. In only a week I have seen them grow and watch them playing and chasing all around th garden. They grow so fast. I feel priveliged to have them in my garden, along with the squirrels and birds.
Howard - 19-Apr-18 @ 9:57 PM
I have a chihuahua and a Jack Russell. Both females and 9 years old. My dogs are scared to go into my garden due to a fox attacking them when they do. I have witnessed this several times and thankfully my dogs have come out unscathed but are now doing their business in the house. Obviously this is a major problem and I don’t know what to do. My house backs onto allotments and although we always see foxes they have never attacked before. They have made a den under the shed at the back of my neighbours garden and their shed backs on to ours. I was thinking that maybe there are cubs about and the male is on guard. Does this happen and has anyone got any advice on what I can do. Don’t want to put the cubs at risk. Thanks
None - 19-Apr-18 @ 9:33 PM
Foxes don't attack dogs??? What utter BS! My father's dog has been attacked three or four times and my next door neighbour's dog about the same. I actually saw an attack on next door's dog last night, the fox went for his throat and only stopped when I turned the hose on it so they do 100% attack dogs. Both these dogs were Labradors, one is a very big Labby! Two other neighbours in the houses backing our road have also complained about their dogs being attacked by the local foxes. Please get your facts right before confusing people!
Dunny - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:03 AM
Nonr - Your Question:
A fox attacked my daughters dog last night.ripped the dogs chest cavity open.the dog is touch and go at the vets. this same fox has been scratching at windows and doors to get into our grandaughters bedroom.Who is 13 years old. no nappies or anything This fox. Has been in attack mode for a couple of weeks. With no reason. we have serious concerns about this animal and it behaviour. The dog is the most gentle animal you could ever have. even after the attack. She keeps wagging her tail. We just want our dog to survive and the fox gone.

Our Response:
Report this to the RSPCA and/or your local council, they should be able to advise you what precautions you can take and let you know whether they can help or not.
WildlifeGardener - 26-Mar-18 @ 10:51 AM
A fox attacked my daughters dog last night .ripped the dogs chest cavity open .the dog is touch and go at the vets . this same fox has been scratching at windows and doors to get into our grandaughters bedroom . Who is 13 years old .no nappies or anything This fox. Has been in attack mode for a couple of weeks. With no reason. .we have serious concerns about this animal and it behaviour.The dog is the most gentle animal you could ever have . even after the attack. She keeps wagging her tail. We just want our dog to survive and the fox gone .
Nonr - 23-Mar-18 @ 9:34 AM
How refreshing to read your comments and posts.I have read some of the vitriol against foxes and call to have them killed or poisoned.The ignorance of these people about their own wildlife habitats and gardens beggars belief.Many of the chattering classes are the very ones who uses disposable nappies,Yeuch! Used sanitary products are flushed merrily down toiletsTo suggest that we use poison is risible.It will simply get into the food chain and we will continue to lose more of our native wildlife. Possibly making some of their kids ill as well.Serves them right - harsh but true! Furthermore, the selfish use of plastic and polystyrene cups by probably many of the same anti fox lobby is now a global problem, but still we see them, jogging baby on their back grasping a plastic cup of coffee in one hand and plastic bottle of water in the other.Climbing into their 4x 4's. If I sound wild( and I am) then it is because I am an ecologist by training, graduated in 79.Have been fighting this battle for years.It saddens me greatly that people who are educated immediately resort to the kill them tactics.Clearly these suburban home owning people lucky enough to have a garden and acces to a computer are the Chief Complainants.I note that there are no comments from the many immigrants who live in London, stuffed into poor living accommodation, keeping London alive.Living above chicken shops.And just another note on chickens.As a youngster I worked on a farm and was charged with pulling the feeding hopper across rows of chickens stuffed into cages. I have probably sliced the heads off more chickens than any fox. Guess that's why I became an ecologist. Those who complain about foxes might want to sit up stairs in a London bus, indeed in many other UK cities and have a look at the squalor that people live in.Broken windows, rags for curtains, hot bedding, milk bottles perched on window ledges.I rest my case!People could learn a lot from foxes about nurturing! My foxes are beautiful.This their third year here, but this isthe first time they are building a den in my garden. Like many of you I garden for wildlife.I am rewarded with a fabulous noisy sparrow population, collared doves and wood pigeons who are responsible for re generating our wild cherry trees and hedgerows andhelping to maintain a healthy insect population. My fox came into the garden the other morning.We got up close and personal! I had my camera.He looked at me and I looked at him. Beautiful, quizzical eyes quite close together and a long tail with white tuft.No not me silly, the fox, although I do have red hair so perhaps that why my garden was chosen. The nonsensical comments about 'why the Council doesn't do something about it' is lamentable. We have run local government into the ground, lost thousands of capable planning, ecological and environmentalplanning officers.Reduced reduced refuse collectio
lunadimonza - 11-Mar-18 @ 4:18 PM
Rosie - Your Question:
Hi, last night a Fox has prised open the door of the small shed in my garden and seems to have sheltered there from the snow. My only concern is if the Fox will make a mess in the shed as it is a rented property, already I have seen a Fox poo on the grass at the front of the houses.I would like to secure the shed but wary in case I alarm the Fox if it is in there at the time. Any advice?

Our Response:
Ask your landlord what they would prefer you do about this? Don't secure the shed with the fox in it as that will almost certainly cause it to panic and make a mess. Maybe ask for the RSCPA for advice on how to entice it out and then secure it. It's also worth checkin to see whether it has actually accessed the shed via the door and haven't dug underneath/through a gap etc.
WildlifeGardener - 5-Mar-18 @ 3:48 PM
Hi, last night a Fox has prised open the door of the small shed in my garden and seems to have sheltered there from the snow.My only concern is if the Fox will make a mess in the shed as it is a rented property, already I have seen a Fox poo on the grass at the front of the houses. I would like to secure the shed but wary in case I alarm the Fox if it is in there at the time. Any advice?
Rosie - 3-Mar-18 @ 8:06 AM
Hi, We get foxes in our garden - you see one of the adults regularly and hear them screeching at night. I used to like seeing the fox but, we also had a very regular cat visitor in our garden but in recent weeks he'd gone missing. I saw him this morning being chased off by the fox. Then another cat entered the garden later this morning and the fox charged at him too causing the cat to scarper. I'm going off this fox! Is there anything I can do to stop him chasing away the cats? Many thanks
Flipzoid - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:18 AM
I have a family of foxes sharing my garden and three small fields. Grandmother heads up this little family as her daughter died when the Cubs were young. I do put a little food out most days and they come and share it pleasantly together. I name them all as it is easier to refer to them. They are wonderfully polite and never hassle me for food. Granny likes to come close to me and I chat to her but never touch her. The males live seperately from the females - about two hundred yards apart.
Worried teenager - 30-Jan-18 @ 9:48 PM
is it true if you have foxes in your garden you wont have rats? I put out food at night for the foxes the den is at the bottom of my garden ,left over dog food and a variety of dog biscuits etc but sometimes the dog meat is not eaten only the biscuits etc the food is fresh are they fussy re flavours?
leanora - 18-Jan-18 @ 4:19 PM
Hello,We have just moved into our new home and I have noticed around 1.40am a fox banging his whole body against our patio doors. This is the 3rd time I have seen/heard it. We have a toddler and I am really frightened as to why a fox would do this? I'm scared to go into my garden with my baby. What should I do to stop this behaviour?
Becca - 11-Jan-18 @ 1:58 AM
Angel - Your Question:
Hi I have just noticed in the last week or two I have had a fox coming into my garden in the evening.obviously it’s difficult to let my dog out in the garden.it seems it has made its home at the house that’s backs on to me!.as they leave rubbish bags and furniture all in the garden.the fox has already ruined my gate trying to get in my garden.is there anything I could use to keep the fox out of my garden?thankyou Angel

Our Response:
There is a lot of information on deterring foxes such as this advice on Lewisham's website. Foxes will generally ignore your dog, so don't feel you should have to keep it inside.
WildlifeGardener - 5-Dec-17 @ 3:16 PM
Hi I have just noticed in the last week or two I have had a fox coming into my garden in the evening.....obviously it’s difficult to let my dog out in the garden......it seems it has made its home at the house that’s backs on to me!....as they leave rubbish bags and furniture all in the garden.....the fox has already ruined my gate trying to get in my garden....is there anything I could use to keep the fox out of my garden?.....thankyou Angel
Angel - 5-Dec-17 @ 12:28 AM
Elliott - Your Question:
Me and my wife have just seen a fox at the bottom of our garden 5 mins ago is there a chance it has made a den at the bottom of the garden? There are trees and brambles at the bottom, if it has made a den I will put up some reed fencing purely to keep the fox safe as we have a dog. It was nice to see it looked fairly big and healthy could that also be why my cats don't go out at night and my dog growls at the back door in the evening the fox has sat by our back door one night, what food can I put out for it?

Our Response:
It's not advisable to put food out, most foxes are very capable of finding food. If you keep a watch out, you might find out whether there isden nearby.
WildlifeGardener - 14-Nov-17 @ 11:06 AM
Me and my wife have just seen a fox at the bottom of our garden 5 mins ago is there a chance it has made a den at the bottom of the garden? There are trees and brambles at the bottom, if it has made a den I will put up some reed fencing purely to keep the fox safe as we have a dog. It was nice to see it looked fairly big and healthy could that also be why my cats don't go out at night and my dog growls at the back door in the evening the fox has sat by our back door one night, what food can I put out for it?
Elliott - 12-Nov-17 @ 9:45 AM
hi the 2 foxes iv had in my garden for about a year now seem realy very healthy and have the most amazing coats n tails no signe of mange or any thing you usualky see on a fox which is great as i absolutly love that i am so privaliged to be able to watch them when ever i want and i havent provided shelter for them as you said it would only make tgem reliant on humans which for a wild animal woukdny be a good thing so thanks for that advice only woukd it be ok during the winter to throw them some food and if it is what woukd you advise? can you please let me kniw thank you so much Sharon.
nonehi the - 26-Oct-17 @ 8:54 PM
To all those who would rather not have foxes in their gardens:Whilst I love them, and have lived with them for about 15 years plus, if you dont want them have you tried contacting The Fox Project ? Address Broadwater Forrest Wildlife Hospital in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, T. 01892 824111 they are a charity also providing fox advice deterrent advice.They are online.As is The Fox Website run by Bristol University who have run a long term study about urban foxes in Bristol
snowdrops - 29-Sep-17 @ 1:40 AM
@ Lazy Gardener.I have been lucky enough to have had foxes at the back of my garden for around 15 years. There are numerous dens along the boundary wall! maybe some interconnect I dont know.Re your question about not wanting to disturb them, I agree that the clearing you want to do should be done now. and then leave the area where they are alone. It is said, and I have experienced that the Vixen is most sensitive after her kits are born in March, and will move them if they are small enough to carry (they will surely have tunnelled out another den somewhere else).If you want to keep them in your garden I wouldn't go anywhere near the den between February and May if possible.After May they will start popping above ground to play in the sun, gorgeous!I always place fresh water nearby for them.As they grow bigger they will begin play hunting and fighting in the garden and I advise not too many delicate plants, they love doing things like chasing through long grassesor any tall plants, so make sure they are tough plants.Shrubsare also an option including fruiting shrubs.Wish you much happy watching, sometimes they can act so much like domesticated dogs esp in mating season when I've seen the males play with balls like domesticated dogs in the dawn - all for the benefit of the female!
snowdrops - 29-Sep-17 @ 1:21 AM
Lazygardener - Your Question:
I’ve recently moved to Walthamstow and have 2 foxes living in my back garden, currently the garden is overgrown and wild but I plan to clear it etc next spring\early summer. Will that be a problem if the foxes have young? I like having them in the garden but don’t want to be setting up for problems in the future. I have not fed them.Should I try to encourage them to leave now to avoid problems for them next year? Please advise. I do not mind if they stay but I do need to make the garden less wild and overgrown so that I can use it in the summer.

Our Response:
Foxes really aren't that easy to get rid of, you may be better to start clearing the garden now before the young arrive then the foxes will not have to deal with this change in their environment whilst trying to rear their young.
WildlifeGardener - 19-Sep-17 @ 11:42 AM
I’ve recently moved to Walthamstow and have 2 foxes living in my back garden, currently the garden is overgrown and wild but I plan to clear it etc next spring\early summer. Will that be a problem if the foxes have young? I like having them in the garden but don’t want to be setting up for problems in the future. I have not fed them. Should I try to encourage them to leave now to avoid problems for them next year? Please advise. I do not mind if they stay but I do need to make the garden less wild and overgrown so that I can use it in the summer.
Lazygardener - 17-Sep-17 @ 2:44 PM
Have a fox that keep digging under our new fence how do I stop them
Stella - 16-Sep-17 @ 9:13 AM
Hi I was feeding a fox for two years, it came same time at night winter and summer and waited patiently until I left out its food.... for past week it has been missing and I wonder is it dead?... or just moved on... it is August. If anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate it. Thank you
Lulu - 2-Sep-17 @ 7:18 PM
Please help, I'm sure that I have a fix under my shed but I can't block off its access as it's inaccessible. It's causing a problem as I have 2 dogs and one being a basset hound that barks repeatedly around the shed. I also have rabbits and he has managed to get hold of one. I'm unable to move rabbits to a secured location. What can I do to get the fox out from under my shed and not return?
Smudge - 30-Aug-17 @ 4:25 AM
I have a fox regularly in my garden but this morning at 5am I was woken by a mating call. Went downstairs to see 3 small sized foxes all lay on the grass,heads bowed calling to each other. Then - a cat, brazen as hell walked straight through the middle of the foxes. They looked up for a second and then carried on their calling. Initially I thought the cat was going to 'get it' but no. It was like some big happy family ...
Kes - 22-Aug-17 @ 1:41 PM
nonesory - Your Question:
Sory dont mean to be a pest but is there any form of houseing I could put in my garden for the 2 foxes who seem to be liveing in an overgrown patch of my garden? I feel for then especially in bad weather

Our Response:
It's not really advisable to make/provide accommodation for foxes. They are by nature, wild animals and know how to fend for themselves. By providing them with artificial housing, you are making them more dependent on humans.
WildlifeGardener - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:29 AM
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