As cute and endearing as foxes can be, they are also a nuisance for many people in the UK. Digging up lawns and flower beds, dragging rubbish all over the garden, and leaving you a not-so-nice little ‘present’ or two when they leave. Foxes can also present a threat to family pets like hamsters and gerbils, and if you own a chicken coop, you’ll know that foxes can be a real problem.
Although extremely rare, there have been cases where foxes have bitten babies and very small children, so this is also another reason people want to get rid of these animals.
In this guide, you will learn about the things that attract foxes in the first place, and also how to keep them away from your garden and home, keeping your pets safe, and your garden unspoiled by their activity.
How to know if foxes are visiting your garden
If a fox has been visiting your garden, you’ll probably know about it, even without actually seeing them. Foxes love to dig, especially for certain types of bugs, so holes in your lawn, or even your entire lawn being dug up is a pretty good indication they’ve been in your garden.
It’s not just lawns that they’ll dig up either. Flower beds are another common victim, and if they’re not being dug up, they are often trampled down flat. As well as digging, foxes love to chew, so chewed up garden furniture and kids toys can be a sign you’ve got a fox problem. Then of course, there is the contents of your dustbin being strewn across your garden. This is one of the most common complaints about fox behaviour and is one of the most annoying, to say the least.
Keep an eye out for damage to your fencing, or holes that have been dug under that the foxes might be using to enter your garden, and you might also be able to smell the pungent odour that these animals can leave behind.
Why foxes are coming into your garden
Without a doubt, the number one reason foxes enter people’s gardens is to eat. Foxes are not picky eaters, and will quite happily feast on any food source they find lying around. The most obvious source for them is your food scraps in your bins, but they are also attracted to any pet food left out, and even food meant for the birds.
Another reason foxes come to your garden is to find shelter. Any old piles of wood or similar can be quite inviting to foxes, especially young cubs who have just set out on their own come Autumn time.
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How to get rid of foxes
There are a number of ways to deter foxes, and we suggest using a combination of some of the ones we list here for best results.
Remove the temptation of food
First thing to do, is to remove any potential food sources. That means cleaning out any pets’ food bowls as soon as they’re done eating, securing birdseed in an enclosed feeder, making sure your bins can’t be opened, and clearing away any fruit that may have fallen to the ground. If you have vegetables growing in your garden, you’ll need to find a good way of protecting it, and we suggest some kind of enclosure that the foxes can’t get into.
Keep pets indoors
If you have rabbits as pets, they can be a big temptation for foxes. The best option is to keep them indoors, especially at night. This doesn’t necessarily mean in your home; it can be in a secure shed or garage.
Keep your garden tidy
Foxes love dark, covered, places to hide out and certainly don’t enjoy being exposed in the open too much, so remove any old piles of wood, and cut away any overgrown vegetation that can act as cover or shelter.
Secure the bases of your fence and shed
If you’ve got foxes digging their way under your fence or shed, you can use cement at the base to prevent this from happening. Ideally, this should be done before you build the shed or fence, but it is still possible to put a layer down afterwards to stop foxes digging.
Get rid of the foxes’ scent
Foxes, like many animals, mark their territory with their scent. This is usually done with urine and droppings, and not only does this smell bad, it also keeps the fox coming back. A lot of people try using bleach to get rid of the smell but this isn’t as effective as a proper enzyme based cleaning product available from most vets. You should, of course, clear away any fox poo from your property using a pooper scooper.
Use scent based repellents
Foxes can be discouraged from your garden by using scents that they find unpleasant. A few simple plates or bowls of white vinegar can actually prove quite effective, but a good quality fox repellent like ‘Scoot’ is favoured by a lot of people. Another organic option is boiled garlic sat in a little water.
Place gravel down in your garden
Foxes don’t like to walk on gravel. The combination of how uncomfortable it feels to them to walk on it, plus the noise it makes, can keep foxes away. Also plastic spike strips are both inexpensive and effective, and won’t harm the animals, so feel free to put some down on top of fences and walls.
Something you can use to deter foxes are sensor triggered security lights. These animals are easily spooked, and don’t like bright lights, so a sudden onslaught of bright light, triggered by their movement can prove very effective. These lights can be particularly effective if they have a flashing mode.
In recent years, many people are turning to ultrasonic devices to help rid them of foxes and other unwanted garden visitors. These devices emit sounds that are unpleasant to foxes but are virtually inaudible to the human ear. The jury is still out on these repellents, but many swear by them, and I personally have found that they can work, but you need to place multiple devices strategically around the whole area.
Water spraying deterrents
These repellents work because they spook the foxes with a sudden jet or spray of water when their sensor detects motion. To get the most out of these machines, you’ll need to have decent water pressure, and place them in areas you know the fox is moving through.
As you’ve probably gathered from our list, foxes don’t like being surprised, hate loud noises, and like to move around in cover, so using these tips outlined above should soon rid you of your fox problem. The number one thing to do though, is remove temptation in the form of food sources, whether that is actual food scraps or family pets. Putting down spike strips, and placing some bowls of white vinegar here and there, will also help to deter these crafty, nighttime visitors away from your property, and put a stop to the damage that they cause.