Foxes are small, timid, non-aggressive members of the canine family. In most cases, they pose no threat to humans or children. But they are known to prey on small pets and livestock, especially in the spring and summer when they are tending to their young. By taking some protective measures, you can avoid these problems.
Secure existing fences to keep out foxes by covering the bottom with wire mesh that has openings less than 3 inches wide. Bury fences 12 to 24 inches below the ground to prevent foxes from digging under them. Also add a 12-inch apron of wire mesh around the fence (so the fence makes an L-shape away from your yard).
Install a three-wire electric fence. Wires should be placed 6 inches, 12 inches and 18 inches above the ground. However, foxes have been known to jump electric fences at this height.
Use fences to prevent foxes from getting under your deck or attacking your livestock. Wire mesh fences need to be at least 2 feet high, but a 4-foot high fence is more secure according to Ben West, the national outreach coordinator for the Jack H. Berryman Institute. Follow all tips mentioned in Step 1 about fences. However, it is not know exactly how high a fence needs to be to exclude foxes since they have escaped out of 6 feet high chain link enclosures that were topped with electric fences.
Add a roof to any enclosures to keep foxes from climbing fences. Researchers have not determined how high a fence needs to be to exclude foxes. They have been known to escape out of 6-foot high chain link enclosures that were topped with electric wire.
Provide as shed or other enclosure to protect poultry at night. Keep doors shut at night.
Secure garbage cans with tight fitting lids or keep them locked inside. Garbage can lids can be made more secure with rope, bungee cord or chains. If cans are tipped over, tie handles to stakes driven in the ground.
Keep pets indoors at night when foxes are active. Remember to pick up pet food dishes, too.
Clean grills after using. The smell can attract foxes.
Alarms and motion-sensitive lighting are usually ineffective. There are no approved chemical repellents that work against foxes.
Contact animal control if a fox approaches you or seems overly bold. It may be sick.
Tips and warnings
- Alarms and motion-sensitive lighting are usually ineffective.
- There are no approved chemical repellents that work against foxes.
- Contact animal control if a fox approaches you or seems overly bold. It may be sick.
- University of Nebraska--Lincoln; Using Predator Exclosures to Protect...; Ben C. West, et al.; 2007
- Living with Wildlife in Illinois: Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- University of Nebraska--Lincoln; Red Fox; Robert L. Phillip, et al.; 1994
- The Green Vision's Plans for 21st Century California; "Nuisance" Urban Wildlife; Mona Seymour; August 2005
- Alabama Wildlife Damage Management: Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- University of California Santa Cruz Police Department: Gray Foxes