In urban areas, keeping foxes away from your yard can be an ongoing battle. In the countryside, you may find they invade your outdoor space occasionally, but once they've found a food source, they may return regularly.
Whatever, getting rid of foxes in your yard might be a job you need to tackle as par for the course, just as you might have to get rid of mice or other pests that frequent yards and homes in the hope of food and shelter, especially as the weather becomes more inhospitable.
'As fall gets underway, it’s time to think about protecting your yard during the winter months, and this may include keeping foxes away. Although it may be fun to see these fascinating creatures, they can ruin your garden by digging and, also, pose a danger to pets,' advises Adam Juson, founder of Merlin Environmental.
How to get rid of foxes
'Between February and April, foxes will be looking for a safe and sheltered place to give birth to their cubs – and may decide that your yard is the ideal spot,' says Adam Juson. 'While you shouldn’t try to get rid of foxes with young cubs, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from setting up camp in the first place.'
And, of course, in winter they may look for food around your property, or shelter. Keeping them away is more about sensible housekeeping and prevention than anything more drastic.
1. Use scents foxes hate
'Foxes have an extremely keen sense of smell and, while this helps them to sniff out food, there are some scents that they cannot bear – including garlic and chilli,' says Adam Juson, founder of Merlin Environmental. 'Try infusing garlic and chilli peppers in piping hot water and then spray this liberally around your garden to deter foxes from sharing your space.'
Foxes also hate the smell of male fox pee, so spraying a product such as Predator Pee around the yard will put foxes off.
2. Scare foxes with motion sensors
'Foxes are choosing your yard as a safe place to sleep and raise their cubs, so, motion sensors, which activate lights or sprinklers make a great deterrent as these remove the element of safety and encourage foxes to move on,' says Adam Juson.
3. Remove food sources
'To stop foxes from using your garden as a hotel, remove any and all food sources including bird feeders, chickens and pets such as rabbits,' says Adam Juson. 'If you have fruit trees in or around your property, be sure to clear up any fallen fruit which may attract foxes.'
Ensure trash cans are well sealed too – foxes can be incredibly determined at getting them open. This trash can lid lock will keep foxes and other critters and family pets from getting yours open.
Ensuring water bowls left out for pets are brought inside, too. Essentially, foxes are looking for food, water and shelter, so removing these will make it easier to discourage them from staying.
4. Secure the perimeters
'One of the most effective ways of keeping foxes away is to use fencing or walls to prevent access,' says Adam Juson. 'Keep in mind the fact that foxes can jump up to 6ft in height and make sure that there are no cracks or holes for them to squeeze through.'
You may find that adding trellis to the top of existing fencing and regularly checking for gaps at ground level is the best way to keep them out. Use the same methods as when dog-proofing fencing, from putting mesh at the bottom of the fence to closing up gaps.
5. Call in the professionals
While you may find fox repellents online easily, it's not a great idea to put harmful chemicals around your yard.
'While there are commercial products available to deter foxes, some of these contain chemicals which may be harmful to pets and other animals so always read the label,' advises pest control expert Adam Juson. 'If you find that you have a persistent fox problem, you may want to consider calling in a professional to evict them once and for all.'
6. Plant fox-repellent plants
Low-growing, prickly and dense planting around your property's boundaries will help keep foxes out of your yard, as will plants that give off the scents foxes hate, such as garlic and chilli.
7. Make loud noises
Foxes are easily scared by loud noises, so simply clapping, shouting or banging a pan could be enough to scare away first-time visitors.
How do I get rid of foxes permanently?
To get rid of foxes permanently is difficult but if you clear your yard to remove shelter and hiding places, block up entrances and exits, seal trash cans, remove food and water sources, use deterrents such as motion sensors and noise, you should stop them returning time and again.
What smell do foxes hate?
Foxes hate the smell of fox urine, of garlic and chilli peppers. Spray these scents around your yard and they will be put off from entering. Bear in mind that you'll have to repeat the process regularly because once the smells have faded, the foxes will be back.
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Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.
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