Foxes might be cute at a distance, but in a garden they are a mixed blessing. Although they help to control rodent populations, they are sometimes also noisy, messy and a potential threat to small pets such as rabbits or chickens. Foxes also occasionally get into fights with domestic cats and dogs. You might no longer run the risk of a running fox bringing the local hunt after it, but there is still a chance of foxes scattering rubbish everywhere and keeping you awake long after midnight. Frightening foxes away might be enough; otherwise, you’ll need to erect suitable fencing.
Remove food sources from your garden. Put heavy rocks on bins or secure the lids with rope, remove fallen fruit, and stop feeding pets and wildlife outside. Dog or cat food looks exactly like fox food to a fox, as does suet intended for wild birds or scraps for hedgehogs.
Install a motion-sensitive sprinkler, activated when an animal walks in front of it. This startles foxes. Alternatively, install motion-sensitive floodlights and set them to the most sensitive setting. They have the bonus of deterring human intruders as well.
Watch for the foxes visiting your garden each evening and chase them off each time. In country areas, foxes are timid and this might persuade them not to return. In suburban or urban areas where they are accustomed to humans, try throwing water over the foxes or spraying them with a hose.
Erect a 6-foot chain-link fence around your garden if the foxes are persistent.
- Consider living with the foxes if you can’t afford new fencing and nothing else works. Provided you bring cats and dogs in at night, keep other pets in secure housing and have animal-proof bins, they shouldn’t cause any real problems. On the plus side, foxes eat rats, pigeons and various invertebrate pests. Invest in earplugs during the breeding season if noise is an issue.
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