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What to do About Foxes in Your Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 4 Mar 2017 | 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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[Add a Comment]
I have a fox that has been a regular visitor to my garden for the past 12 months or so. It is very tame and will take food from my hand. I also have 2 cat and up until today fox and cats have more or less ignored each other, in fact the fox seems nervous around them and keeps its distance. Today however all has changed. The fox has been pursuing the cats and seems very determined to make contact. It's been making a grunting noise and even followed one cat into the house and upstairs. Any idea why the fox's behaviour should change? Advice would be much appreciated as I'm worried about letting the cats out.
Jammy - 4-Mar-17 @ 3:09 PM
liz cassar - Your Question:
I made a hutch in my front garden for a stray cat but a fox has taken over it for the last 24 hours it hasn't come out or even eaten the food I have put down. I'm not sure if it's pregnant or hurt. what shall I do ?

Our Response:
Just leave it if you're happy to do so. Otherwise the RSPCA may be willing to come and take a look at her.
WildlifeGardener - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:45 PM
I made a hutch in my front garden for a stray cat but a fox has taken over it for the last 24 hours it hasn't come out or even eaten the food I have put down .. I'm not sure if it's pregnant or hurt .. what shall I do ?
liz cassar - 15-Feb-17 @ 11:46 PM
Hi should i be worried i have seen a fox visiting my garden every night since Christmas i have been feeding him or her but i haven't seen him or her fir 2 weeks im worried please give me an answer i love foxes
Christina Short - 4-Feb-17 @ 12:45 AM
I have foxes in my back garden trying to get in my house what do I do ???
Tj - 28-Jan-17 @ 8:06 PM
We moved into our new home back in July and soon found we had a skulk of foxes at the bottom of the garden in an old army bunker. We have enjoyed having them around spotting them most days. Most beautiful foxes you could ever wish to see. Sadly we haven't seen one since Xmas day. What could be the reason for this? Do they change earth from time to time?
Edge - 18-Jan-17 @ 8:03 PM
My 4-yr old collie got attacked in our garden on thursaday just after christmas, I let her out at our usual time for last wee, I was right behind her, she was in the middle of tge garden and a fox quietly took a masdice chunk out of her just missing main arteries by less than 3cm. The shock kilked her twice. She never made more than a whimper when been bit such a strange wound, unlike a dog attack. We live in an urban garden, been here nearly 11 yrs, never had this. It was a good frost thursday night. But firstly what has changed the fox? Could it now attack my other dogs, cats or disabled son? What can i do to now sadly get the fox from my garden - he only visits most nights, no other issues apart from moving my shoes on the day I moved in. Apparently my neighbour told me years ago foxes love what I do in the garden, we live ona council estate but I am one of the few that use tge garden all year round. I know the fox loves siting in the caster oil plant watching me, never had an issue nor my dogs. Why this sudden attack
hedge - 1-Jan-17 @ 2:59 PM
The myth of foxes not attacking pets is not true! My chihuahua puppy was attacked by a fox the other night and it tried to take him away. Luckily I got him to the vets quick enough and he is now recovering but beware this is not a one off!
Shorty - 1-Jan-17 @ 1:20 AM
I have 2 foxes which visit every night, I feed them 3 to 4 times a week on the roof of my shed. I have 4 cats and a dog and never had a problem with the foxes, I've seen one of my cats walk past the fox and the fox never batted an eyelid,my dog no to keen though but just barks.
angie - 3-Dec-16 @ 1:16 PM
We had a lovely grown cat who died of an infection from a fox bite.Now we have had a six month old kitten taken by a HUGE, very healthy looking fox which is in our garden a lot during the middle of the day.We have one other kitten and are frightened for his safety.What can we do?
april - 26-Oct-16 @ 12:39 PM
I have a MANAGED GARDEN - its called a farm. These wild animals are opportunists/pests and should be regularly and humanely culled to keep their numbers in check. Some of you 'townies' need to get real!
foxhunter - 9-Sep-16 @ 4:57 PM
They attack all the time!! My small dog has just been attacked by a fox in the garden. Not Soon after my rabbits were attacked in an enclosed hutch and their claws ripped off. My neighbour insists on feeding 7 foxes 3 times a day.they all live in a metal shed in his garden provided by him. It drives me mad!They are so confident that nothing deters them at all. I don't know why my neighbour doesn't get a pet to feed. Foxes are wild animals and should live in the wild. Instead all I read is 'a fox would never attack a dog or a cat' which is a complete myth. I cannot deter them from my garden as they just pass through to other houses obviously getting fed. Shouldn't have to put up with vet bills and now the children are too scared to go out in the garden..... All for the sake of protecting a fox.
Ggplum - 25-Aug-16 @ 9:49 AM
i have foxes at the bottom of my garden there are a load of bushes which need to come down and sorted i think they have a den in there what is the best solution please ?
blackcat - 16-Aug-16 @ 4:19 PM
At the back of me is our communal garden.we have had a Fox visiting us for about a year now.but the other night 2 cubs appeared as well.off course we have been feeding the mother and now realise were she had been takeing the food to.But yesterday morning the mother appeared and ran across the garden.I love watching them but at the same time I worry in case this isn't safe for them.
Cherry - 13-Jul-16 @ 10:32 AM
Hi weve ad foxes for bout 6 years over the back of us..never realy ad any problems.i normaly feed them on a green area near where we live....lots of cats around where we live and never had a problem......im a bit weary of them..at times....but i love to see them ..and growing... up with there babies..all in all..theres nothing we can do to rid of them.....
Bones - 14-Jun-16 @ 8:42 PM
Hi, I have moved into a house which has a huge garden with x2 large fox holes at the end.. I'm told the lady before used to feed them sausages daily- though she moved into a care home 2 years ago leaving the property empty till we brought it. I have never seen any fox activity, but I am to scared to fill the holes in,incase I trap a family.. How can I find out if it's safe to fill the holes in?
Kelly - 11-Jun-16 @ 2:29 PM
I have foxes in my garden and my small dog has become obsessed. They have attacked him twice now and I am scared they will kill him. He is only a small dog. I need to get rid of them before they kill him. I just had to go out and scream at it as it was attacking my dog and it nearly came into the house. It looked really viscious.
koo - 1-Jun-16 @ 8:47 PM
Looking for some advise??I've got 3 cubs n mammy & daddy fox most of back garden is decked and have a shed at one side and trampoline at other side, got 3 small grandchildren terrified to let them out to the garden now??
Celticbelle - 29-Apr-16 @ 11:52 PM
Zoe Bird - Your Question:
We are having a problem with foxes trying to dig up our tortoise. Last year a few days after hibernating there was a gaping hole and we feared the worst. Thankfully he appeared in spring. Yesterday we noticed he had come out of hibernation which is very early. There is again a big hole so we suspect he has been disturbed. He usually makes very little mess when hibernating etc and this is a very big pile of rubbish/soil etc. We have a secure enclosure for him which we use throughout the year but he will not hibernate in there. For 34 years he has hibernated in the garden safely and so now changing his ways are proving difficult. Anyone got any suggestions as to how to deter the foxes?

Our Response:
Could you consider keeping it in a box ina garage or outhouse?
WildlifeGardener - 1-Feb-16 @ 2:19 PM
We have a young female fox come to our garden a couple of times a night, sometimes with a male. We feed these foxes every night with scraps & dog food. We have two unused sheds in our garden, one of which has an opening. My question is, how can we encourage the fox to make this their den & have kits?
Frankie - 30-Jan-16 @ 11:11 PM
We are having a problem with foxes trying to dig up our tortoise. Last year a few days after hibernating there was a gaping hole and we feared the worst. Thankfully he appeared in spring. Yesterday we noticed he had come out of hibernation which is very early. There is again a big hole so we suspect he has been disturbed. He usually makes very little mess when hibernating etc and this is a very big pile of rubbish/soil etc. We have a secure enclosure for him which we use throughout the year but he will not hibernate in there. For 34 years he has hibernated in the garden safely and so now changing his ways are proving difficult. Anyone got any suggestions as to how to deter the foxes?
Zoe Bird - 30-Jan-16 @ 6:15 AM
Lalab - Your Question:
We have had foxes in our area for a long period of time, however 1 has just started to become aggressive. Two mornings out of 3 I have been chased whilst walking my small dog. I don't mean followed I mean chased! I've heard foxes dislike water, light, noise, dogs, but none of these things seem to work though. We have no garden so have to walk out dog outside regularly but often cannot get out the communal door without a fox sitting there, once he had the cheek to greet me with a rabbit in his mouth! I have no problem with the foxes being in the area but how to I stop the aggressive one chasing us?? The RSPCA and council just say live with it, but there are several people experiencing the same issue.

Our Response:
Foxes are not generally aggressive and the council/RSPCA are rarely willing to act in relation to fox incidents. Your best bet would be to try and deter the fox from near your property with a deterrent. There is some really useful information in this guide from Richmond Borough Council
WildlifeGardener - 24-Nov-15 @ 2:31 PM
We have had foxes in our area for a long period of time, however 1 has just started to become aggressive. Two mornings out of 3 I have been chased whilst walking my small dog. I don't mean followed I mean chased! I've heard foxes dislike water, light, noise, dogs, but none of these things seem to work though. We have no garden so have to walk out dog outside regularly but often cannot get out the communal door without a fox sitting there, once he had the cheek to greet me with a rabbit in his mouth!I have no problem with the foxes being in the area but how to I stop the aggressive one chasing us?? The RSPCA and council just say live with it, but there are several people experiencing the same issue.
Lalab - 23-Nov-15 @ 2:10 PM
Bonnie - Your Question:
I keep seeing a fox in my garden on a day is that ok for it to come out on a day because my girls are in the garden playing

Our Response:
Foxes do come out during the daytime especially the young when they first go out to learn to hunt for their own food. Young foxes are not as wary of humans as older ones, and will sometimes even see younger children as playmates. Stay with your children when you think a fox is about.
WildlifeGardener - 14-Sep-15 @ 11:45 AM
I keep seeing a fox in my garden on a day is that ok for it to come out on a day because my girls are in the garden playing
Bonnie - 13-Sep-15 @ 4:56 PM
We keep finding babies' nappies in our garden. The foxes must get them from bims and bring them in for some reason. Does anyone know why they are so attracted by the nappies? It's kind of gross and a bit disturbing! Is there anything i can do about this? I dont mind the foxes at all but am tired of having to pick up this rubbish from the garden. Ideas are very welcome. Thank you
c - 4-Sep-15 @ 7:34 AM
dorcas - Your Question:
I had recently noticed a large hole at the side of my shed,. which I presume is caused by foxes And as I have just cut back some palms which were growing close by I have noticed another large hole at the other side. You can clearly see the base of the shed and the hole underneath. there must now be a huge hole under the shed from one side to the other. When is the best time to try and stop the foxes from further digging and secure and fill in the holes.

Our Response:
If the foxes are still there, you may want to wait until the foxes take their cubs away (tis generally in June or July though).Once they're gone fill the hole with loose soil. Keep going back and filling any new holes that are made until they're no longer being disturbed. Once you're sure Mr/Mrs Fox have not returned immediately fill the holes with rubble/cement etc.
WildlifeGardener - 19-Aug-15 @ 12:16 PM
I had recently noticed a large hole at the side of my shed,. which I presume is caused by foxes And as I have just cut back some palms which were growing close by I have noticed another large hole at the other side. You can clearly see the base of the shed and the hole underneath. there must now be a huge hole under the shed from one side to the other. When is the best time to try and stop the foxes from further digging and secure and fill in the holes.
dorcas - 18-Aug-15 @ 3:54 PM
The other day sitting on back porch around dusk, two foxes came out of the woods in the back areas where we live, looks like they were looking for food.We just watched them and when I yelled get out loud they both ran away, but came back a few minutes later.They are very pretty animals but worried because I have my dog on a lead....found out they won't harm dogs, but last year my dog killed one and three possums.He does not like any other animal to come into our yard.I do not let him out after 7PM just incase.
Dodo - 9-Aug-15 @ 2:53 PM
Building have been put up at the back of my home now we have foxes all the time they try coming in the back door more so when my grandchildren are here to night when I looked up one was coming in my home we have all had letters in our street asking not to feed them which I know I don't and wouldn't as I do not want them in my home but don't know if the people before me did what's best to do
H - 30-Jul-15 @ 10:57 PM
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