Although there are some in society who think it’s fun to kill or chase foxes, in reality they are not vermin or pests. They are a good part of nature, because their main diet is rats and rabbits (sad, but it’s nature). They only venture through people’s dustbins, when their natural habitat is disappearing. And like dogs, they are natural scavengers, so will go for the free easy pickings, if they are around.
The Hidden World of the Fox will teach you where the fox is going, and what his world is really like. A flash of his brushy tail, a blaze of orange and the strange barks in the city night. Ecologist Adele Brand describes the fox’s astonishing senses, intelligence and behaviour that have allowed them to thrive in ancient woods and concrete car parks. Learn about cubs and how can we live in peace with foxes.
Foxes are mostly active at night, using their whiskers on the face and legs to navigate and hunt. Related to dogs, foxes tend to be bigger and live in dens with their cubs. They can run very fast and have amazing hearing, and tend to hide food to eat later on.
All wildlife sanctuaries say to not feed foxes – they can easily live on rabbits, mice and other scavenged foods. By encouraging them, you bring them into harm with dogs, people, roads and litter. If you have foxes who already believe your garden is part of their territory, they say to simply not to encourage them and make it easy to leave by leaving a gate open (if safe to do so) or removing a fence panel so foxes can leave easily without injury (especially if they have cubs).
Humane Fox Deterrence
- The Fox Project (South East England) is a rescue project that runs a humane deterrence agency. The site has lots of free info, volunteer opps and books on humane fox deterrence.
- Fox-a-gon is another nationwide humane deterrence service. Again the site has lots of free advice, and you can use their services for more help (more effective/less costly than pest control).
- WeirBags make gull-proof sacks that have a Velcro strap to keep the contents secure from seagulls, but also works for foxes, rats etc. The sacks are emptied into trucks, then returned to you. BigBelly makes public bins for councils that compact waste using a solar panel, and have optional animal latches, to deter gulls, foxes etc from pouring all the bin contents out over the park.
Keeping Hens & Rabbits Safe
Lucy Grossmith for Etsy
Keeping domestic prey safe likely won’t cause a fox to go hungry. One rescuer said he had ‘never seen a starving fox’. They are opportunistic feeders who can hunt live prey, scavenge dead animals and even eat earthworms.
- See adopting ex-battery hens to find links to charities that due to their experience, have lots of info (and phone help) on keeping foxes away from chickens and domestic chickens.
- Rabbit Rehome has tips on keeping bunnies safe from foxes.
- The sites also link to companies selling fox-proof hutches and runs. Be aware that many are not usually big enough to give good space and welfare, so read info before purchase.
- If you ‘leave a gap’ in your fence for ‘hedgehog highways’, don’t make it big enough for a fox to get through (he/she will try to find a way, if smelling a prey animal, so see sites above to help protect hens and rabbits). Hedgehogs travel at night, so you could secure the hole during the day, although most foxes are also nocturnal.
Found an Injured or Orphaned Fox?
Never try to free any creature from a trap, snare or netting, it could harm (call your local wildlife rescue for help). Help Wildlife has info on what to do (some foxes seen during day are okay and they do spend time away from cubs, but not too long). Wildlife rescuers often use a homeopathic solution to help foxes with mange (caused by a parasitic mite). Wildlife Aid and Wildlife Ambulance also have good info.
Report harm or poisoning (dead rabbits cut open together and eggs with ink marks) to Wildlife Crime Unit, Animal Crimewatch (or CrimeStoppers anonymous). League against Cruel Sports has information on the fox hunting ban (it’s still legal to hunt foxes in Northern Ireland).