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What to do About Foxes in Your Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 May 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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For the last 10 years we have been having foxes in or garden. Adult Male and Female together. The male will sit on the roof of my Log cabin all day and even through the night. I think this incident occurs when there is a litter of cubs. I did manage to video the cubs playing in the garden with their mother but without father. I have been told the mother does not like the father to be with the cubs(?) This year I have only seen the adult male on one occassion for a few minutes. Is it too early for the cubs or have the all disappeared. I do like them coming in my garden, but I do not feed them.
Barrymatte - 20-May-17 @ 9:38 PM
Becs - Your Question:
I've been battling with foxes in my garden since I moved in at the end of last year. There's large hole that is constantly in use. They had 6 cubs about a month ago. How long can I expect them to stay? The den is still very active, I'm keen to deter them from living in the garden for the rest of the summer but I dont want to fill the hole in, if there's animals living down there. How do I know when is the best time to start eviction proceedings?

Our Response:
There is a really good guide produced by Bristol City Council and used by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health here which should answer your questions.
WildlifeGardener - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:34 PM
Dickie k - Your Question:
I have a fox who has dug out a burrow in my garden. She now has 4 cubs we live in the middle of a housing estate. I love to watch them and quite happy to let them live in peace. I only give them the odd snack as I want them to stay wild. Can they be reported to the council and destroyed. They are in my own private garden. Any advice would be greatfull so they can live. Not causing a problem yet I just want to be prepared.

Our Response:
Local councils tend not to do very much about foxes. Killing them does not resolve issues as other foxes simply move into the vacant homes and the increase their numbers.
WildlifeGardener - 26-Apr-17 @ 11:47 AM
I have a fox who has dug out a burrow in my garden. She now has 4 cubs we live in the middle of a housing estate. I love to watch them and quite happy to let them live in peace. I only give them the odd snack as i want them to stay wild. Can they be reported to the council and destroyed. They are in my own private garden. Any advice would be greatfull so they can live. Not causing a problem yet I just want to be prepared.
Dickie k - 26-Apr-17 @ 9:10 AM
I've been battling with foxes in my garden since I moved in at the end of last year.There'slarge hole that is constantly in use. They had 6 cubs about a month ago.How long can I expect them to stay?The den is still very active, I'm keen to deter them from living in the garden for the rest of the summer but I dont want to fill the hole in, if there's animals living down there.How do I know when is the best time to start eviction proceedings?
Becs - 25-Apr-17 @ 9:58 AM
Nic - Your Question:
Hi there. I have grey foxes living under my shed in my backyard. I wanted to go out tomorrow and do some spring planting but I'm so afraid. Do I need to be? I'm sure she's just about getting ready to deliver her pups and I wouldn't be surprised if they were feeling territorial over the space that they're currently residing in! What do you think?

Our Response:
It's very unlikely that you have anything to be fearful of unless you are planning on digging around the "den" area itself. Foxes are generally frightened of humans will not approach them unless the situation is at a critical point for them. Note, we don't have grey foxes here in the UK so this comment refers only to the behaviour of our red foxes.
WildlifeGardener - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:36 AM
Hi there. I have grey foxes living under my shed in my backyard. I wanted to go out tomorrow and do some spring planting but I'm so afraid. Do I need to be? I'm sure she's just about getting ready to deliver her pups and I wouldn't be surprised if they were feeling territorial over the space that they're currently residing in! What do you think?
Nic - 15-Apr-17 @ 4:31 PM
Lesley - Your Question:
Hi, we have lived in this bungalow for 3 months and have 2 very destructive foxes.Does anyone know how to keep them out the garden. We have brought an electronic device but they just walk by it.At first they just poo'd by the front & back door now They are prone to chewing wires and plastic cable. Leaving small bits around the garden. We have to keep plastic wicker garden furniture covered or they chew that.They run along our conservatory roof up onto the main roof.I don't mind them f they just visited and didn't do any damage.Any ideas????

Our Response:
Here are few things to try/consider:
Make sure you do the obvious things like removing any potential sources of food that they could access (includes keeping recycling bins well covered and removing any compost bins/pits etc).
If you know where they live, some people advise trying seal the entrance to their dens, spray the area with human or dog urine (!) or put soaked rags nearby, play lots of load radio (human voices) etc. Then fill the den with soil and hardcore to prevent them burrowing back in.
Water sprays can also be useful. You can get some that are on a movement sensor
Various electronic/ultrasonic devices are available but there is little evidence that they work effectively
WildlifeGardener - 12-Apr-17 @ 10:38 AM
Hi, we have lived in this bungalow for 3 months and have 2 very destructive foxes. Does anyone know how to keep them out the garden. We have brought an electronic device but they just walk by it. At first they just poo'd by the front & back door now They are prone to chewing wires and plastic cable. Leaving small bits around the garden. We have to keep plastic wicker garden furniture covered or they chew that. They run along our conservatoryroof up onto the main roof. I don't mind them f they just visited and didn't do any damage. Any ideas????
Lesley - 10-Apr-17 @ 9:20 AM
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
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