Foxes are one of the trickiest pests for home owners to have to deal with in areas where they are common. They’re fast, have sharp teeth, and unlike insectoid infestations or rodent pests, they’re pretty clever. Try and set up defenses to keep foxes out, and there’s a pretty fair chance that they’ll find a way back in.
You might think that a wall is a good solution. After all, they may be fast and smart, but foxes can’t jump over walls – can they?
Well, the fact of the matter is that they can. Walls aren’t nearly as effective as some people today seem to think they are, and that extends to foxes, too.
Many foxes can jump three feet high, and with their claws, they can climb up six feet high or even higher. As such, unless you’re prepared to build a new Berlin Wall around your home, it isn’t the best way to keep foxes out.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks to help you outfox those foxes and keep them out of your yard.
1 – Eliminate Attractions
Before you spend all that money to build anything, ask yourself – why are all of these foxes coming to your home in the first place? Foxes have plenty of other things to do besides messing up your yard, so what keeps them coming?
The answer most likely has something to do with what’s in your yard. Foxes aren’t going to go through the hassle of climbing a tall wall unless there’s something worthwhile on the other side. For a fox, that typically means they either see or smell something they think would make a great snack.
Do you have pets, chickens, or livestock in your backyard or farm area that you are trying to keep fox-free? If so, that’s probably your answer right there. Anything from the scent of prey to the sight of chickens roaming around or in their coop may convince foxes to become the unwelcome guests they are and infiltrate your home, hoping for a nice meal.
Thankfully, this problem is as easy to identify as it is to solve – simply remove the source of the foxes’ attraction. If they don’t see a chicken coop and mistake it for their personal KFC, they’ll most likely stop popping by. If you don’t have animals in your yard, at least for a while, they’ll stop paying them “a visit.”
Other things you can do to deter a fox from coming into your yard include the following:
- Clear away scraps of food
- Clear away loose compost that contains fish or other organic foodstuffs that foxes might see as food
- Keep sources of standing water covered, especially during the night
- Stop using fertilizers that make use of fish, blood, or ground up bones
- If you are growing fruits or vegetables in your yard, make sure to pick them when they’re ready and don’t leave them laying on the ground as a buffet for foxes to enjoy
- Keep shoes, dog toys, and other things foxes might use as playthings indoors
2 – Blocking up Holes
If foxes aren’t coming to your yard for food, they may be doing so for lodgings instead. Foxes like to hide in dark, enclosed spaces. If you have areas like that on your property, you’ll want to block them up so foxes can’t turn them into dens.
Check to make sure that there aren’t already animals living there (since walling up still-living animals may be illegal and is certainly inhumane) and then take whatever steps are necessary to close the space.
3 – Fox Repellent
This is as direct a response to fox encroachment as you can imagine. If foxes keep coming to your property and you have already tried to make your yard less “attractive” to them, your next best bet may be to repel them altogether.
That said, you should not try to repel foxes with lethal force. For one thing, this can also be considered inhumane and potentially illegal in some places. Fox hunting is typically strictly controlled and regulated, and after all, you’re not “hunting” them so much as just trying to get them off your property, which doesn’t require such a bloody and tragic non-solution.
Instead, you’ll want to consider a humane fox repellent. There are two basic forms of repellent that can be used to ward off foxes.
First, there are repellents that are scent-based. Foxes, like dogs, are motivated and led in large part by their sense of smell. Just as something that smells good will attract them, something that smells foul can be effective in warding them off.
For example, both Aluminum ammonium sulphate and Methyl nonyl ketone are scents that foxes tend to dislike. Sprays that contain these scents can be effective at getting foxes to leave your yard alone.
When spraying fox repellent, location is key. Whether it is inexpensive or expensive, you don’t want to waste your money by spraying it everywhere, and you probably don’t want to smell fox repellent all throughout your property, either. You thus need to be more strategic about where you spray your fox repellent.
For example, spraying fox repellent near vegetables isn’t the best or most appetizing idea, so you’ll instead want to spray it on the soil surrounding and leading up to the area, so foxes are warded off well before they get to that point. If you have buried any pets in your yard, spraying fox repellent on top of their grave is essential to prevent some gruesome fox graverobbing.
Entry points to your property are another obvious place that can benefit from fox repellent.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that foxes are territorial, which means that they can leave, well, “leavings” behind to “mark their territory.” If they have done this, spraying repellent on top of the sites of these “leavings” can cause foxes to become confused, since they rely on their sense of smell to pick up their own scent and determine where “their territory” is.
That said, you may wrinkle your nose at such repellents yourself. If you do indeed find that solution too odious to consider, you’ll instead want to think about serving up a taste-based repellent to foxes instead.
For example, pepper sprays and other sprays with extra-spicy tastes can be effective at warding off foxes. However, this method has the significant downside that the fox has to actually eat it to be effective, so if they happen to ignore it, the repellent won’t work.
4 – Get a Guard Dog
This is an answer that’s as simple as it is elegant – dogs are called “Man’s Best Friend” for a reason, after all. Needless to say, not all dogs are suited for taking on foxes, however. Chihuahuas or shih-tzus are more likely to wind up as fox food than fox deterrents, so make sure that you keep them inside if foxes are harassing your yard.
Disney’s The Fox and the Hound is the tragic story about a young fox and puppy torn apart by society expecting them to fulfill their roles and become natural enemies. Still, as long as they’re not long-time pals of a particular fox, hounds and other big dogs tend to make good guard dogs against foxes.
5 – A Hairy Situation
Whether you’re a barber, know one, or have simply given yourself a haircut and are wondering what on Earth to do with the trimmings, this is an incredibly inexpensive solution. The scent of humans may be enough to ward off the foxes harassing your property. If so, sprinkling some human hair around your property can help discourage them from coming or staying.
6 – The Sound of Victory
In addition to their sense of smell, foxes also depend greatly on their sense of hearing. Playing music or something else from a radio or something similar can help ward off foxes who don’t like the sound.
7 – Urine Trouble
This solution isn’t pretty, but it can certainly be effective. Once again, we’re working with a fox’s sense of scent and territoriality. Pouring urine from your cat or dog over the fox’s territorial marks can cause them to become confused and decide not to stay.
8 – Scarecrows for Foxes
Putting up a “Scarefox” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but the same basic idea rings true. Erect a scarecrow and put it near the entrance of your property, or somewhere else that will be visible to the fox.
9 – Erecting a Fox Cage
Let’s say that you’ve tried a couple of these methods and the fox in question still won’t take the hint. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider more serious measures. Catching and caging a fox can enable you to get rid of them once and for all.
That being said, it should be stressed that this is a much more serious option than those above, and a costlier one at that. You should only consider this option after you have already tried the options above, and even then only attempt it if you are experienced at fox trapping and are absolutely sure that you can do so in an effective and humane fashion.
Again, you don’t want to harm the fox, and you definitely don’t want to fail at caging them, as this can naturally make them defensive and thus even more dangerous.
There are several things that you should look for in a proper fox cage, not the least of which being the size. You need to make sure that the cage is big enough both to fit the fox comfortably and for them to see it as an opening that is worth entering in the first place. A tiny or narrow hole isn’t going to trick any foxes into entering, and wouldn’t be humane anyway.
When in doubt, air on the side of larger rather than smaller cages.
Fox cages are typically triggered by the fox entering the space or stepping on a press pad, which causes the metal cage to slam shut. This means that they typically have a sliding release door. That being said, while one sliding door might be fine, having multiple doors increases your chances of success, since the fox can enter the cage in multiple ways.
However, this also means that you’ll need to make sure that the cage doors in question all slam and will stay shut when they are triggered.
You’ll also want to make sure to place some bait in the cage to incentivize the foxes to enter.
Once the cage has been triggered and the fox ensnared, the fox is likely to be very startled. On the one hand that’s very understandable, but on the other hand, a trapped wild animal can be extremely dangerous, especially one with sharp teeth and claws.
Under no circumstances should you ever reach your hand into the cage once the fox is inside.
To avoid this, you’ll want to make sure that you purchase a cage that has a handle so you can carry the cage without sticking your fingers into the wire holes. That said, this can still be quite dangerous, so you’ll need to practice extreme caution and you should only do this if you know what you’re doing.
10 – Call Animal Control
If you are uncertain as to how to cage a fox, you should instead call an expert. Animal control experts are trained in how to properly cage foxes, and can also expel them via other humane methods.
Different areas have different animal control experts. Simply Googling the term should give you results for the animal control authorities operating in your area. Specify that you need help with foxes, and they will be happy to oblige.
Choosing the right method for getting rid of a fox will depend on how the fox reacts, what your property is like, how much you wish to spend, and your level of expertise.
That said, with patience and planning, these methods can do what fox walls too often do not, namely, outfox foxes and rid them from your property once and for all.