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Foxes can cause a problem in your neighbourhood but local councils don´t have to remove them. Find out what you can do to make your area less attractive to foxes and help avoid problems.

Problems caused by foxes in your neighbourhood

Foxes can cause problems in your neighbourhood because they:

  • mark their territory with unpleasant scent and droppings
  • raid your refuse or compost bins
  • can dig up your plants, flower beds or lawns searching for insects and worms or to bury surplus food
  • can eat small pets like hamsters
  • make loud ´screams´ at night - mainly from December to May
  • use spaces under houses, sheds and outbuildings to make ´dens´

Removing sources of food

The main way to make your area unattractive to foxes is to remove sources of food and places to live. Make sure that you:

  • don’t leave food out
  • use a covered bird table that is at least 1.5 metres above the ground
  • clear up any spilled food if you feed birds in your garden
  • don’t store rubbish outside in plastic bags
  • use refuse and compost bins made of metal or tough plastic, with tightly secured lids
  • clear away fallen fruit and any decaying food waste
  • use welded mesh instead of chicken wire for pet enclosures (you can get this from a local DIY store)

If you do have a serious problem with foxes digging up your lawn, you could use an approved pesticide to reduce the number of earthworms (which attract foxes) in your lawn.

Removing possible living spaces

If you think foxes are using enclosed spaces or burrows as a den, first check if they are still occupied. You can do this by filling the hole with loosely packed newspaper or straw. If this isn’t removed after at least a week, but ideally more, it is unlikely that the space is occupied and it can be blocked up.

Blocking empty living spaces

If the space is occupied by foxes (or other animals) it’s illegal to trap them by blocking the entrance. Instead, wait until the foxes stop using the space and then block the entrance before the next breeding season, which lasts from December to May.

Protecting yourself against infectious diseases from foxes

Foxes can carry parasites and infectious diseases. However, you can protect yourself very effectively by washing your hands and those of your children after working or playing in the garden. You should also make sure that pet dogs and cats are treated regularly for worms.