Foxes: Deterrence before control

Controlling foxes is one of the most difficult and expensive pest management procedures and should only be attempted as a very last resort. However, we are able to intervene if foxes are causing severe damage to your property or livelihood, and if you have already attempted various measures to keep foxes off your premises. Here’s all the information you need about this pest.

What do foxes look like?

As a member of the canine family, foxes have a slender trunk, pointed ears and an elongated muzzle. However, unlike other canines, they are capable of retracting their claws, just like cats. With a predominantly orange coat and black ears and paws, red foxes are by far the most common species in the UK.

Where do foxes live?

The place foxes call home depends whether they’re in the countryside or the city. Typically, countryside foxes live in a hole in the ground called an ‘earth’ or ‘den’ but have also been known to occupy burrows made by badgers or rabbits. Alternatively, city dwelling foxes make use of what shelter is available, including sheds, outbuildings and underneath floorboards.

What do they eat?

Foxes have earned a reputation for being prolific scavengers – you may well have woken one morning and seen rubbish scattered on the road. You can almost guarantee a fox was the culprit, scrounging for its next meal during the night. While our food waste is one of their most accessible sources of food, it’s not their natural diet. They also feed on small mammals, birds (and their eggs), reptiles, insects and worms.

Are they dangerous?

In short, no. Despite having a somewhat negative reputation, they are not dangerous. You’re far more likely to be bitten by a dog or even a cat than you are by a fox. However, as is the case with most wild animals, it’s recommended that you keep your distance as a precaution.

Also like other wild animals, they do carry parasites which can pose health risks, particularly to dogs, given that the two species are closely related. Roundworm, Weil’s disease and mange can be passed to humans but you’re far more likely to catch these from dogs due to the limited close contact humans have with foxes.

How do I know if I have a fox infestation?

As mentioned, seeing ripped bin bags and scattered rubbish is a pretty sure sign foxes are nearby. You can also look out for damage to lawns (holes being dug), paw prints and, despite being nocturnal creatures, sightings during the day are becoming all the more common, so keep an eye on your garden.

How can I deter foxes from coming onto my property?

The main attraction for most pests is food and foxes are no different. Ensuring your bin lids are tightly secured is a simple but effective measure you can take, along with making sure no pet food is left out for extended periods. Erecting a fence around your garden is unlikely to help, as foxes are pesky creatures and may well find an alternative route like digging underneath or simply climbing over it if they’re determined enough to reach the other side.

How do I get rid of foxes?

As touched on, we don’t endorse the destruction of healthy foxes. If they are truly causing significant damage to your property or livelihood, and all preventative measures have been exhausted, then the removal of foxes should always be carried out be a trained and licensed professional. Pest controllers have the knowledge and experience to adopt the correct procedure, following any legislation like the Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  However, it should be noted that in urban areas it is highly likely that when one fox is removed another will take its place, meaning long term control can be extremely difficult and costly.

If you think you need a professional pest control service to help with your fox problem, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 02084304133. You can find more LNPS news and advice here. Also, be sure to follow our social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.