The urban fox can play havoc in your garden.
Damage to lawns is sometimes caused by foxes attracted by the presence of invertebrate turf pests such as leatherjackets and chafers.
Flower beds and vegetable patches can be disturbed as foxes establish an earth, bury food, or help themselves to your tasty fruit and veg!
Not what you want after hours of tender gardening!
Get rid of the stinky stuff the right way. Fox faeces carries several inherent diseases (see below), so it is important to clear that mess up. Scoop, bag and deposit into a safe bin, then spray the affected area with disinfectant as soon as possible. You don't want roundworm eggs to incubate, especially with pets or children around! Once cleared it is best to use a repellent to stop further territorial faeces marking.
Fox urine causes dry patches, and we recommend treating it in the same way as pet urine. Lawn Rescue is the only product we sell for lawn damage, because, well, it's the best. Lawn Rescue is a ready to use spray which neutralises the staining agents and acid in the urine by converting them into natural salts. The salts pass down easily to the grass roots where they nourish the lawn. Click to shop.
Between the months of February and June there is a strong likelihood of the area under the decking/shed being occupied by a vixen with cubs. Foxes always have a back up 'earth' which they can fall back on if necessary so moving her on wont be too much of a hardship for her. Douse some rags with Scoot fox repellent and push the rags under the decking/shed via the entrance with a stick. Disturb the entrance as much as you can and apply Scoot to the area. 5 Litre sprayers are ideal for this application as they have a long lance which can get to hard to reach areas. This scent marking should send a message that the den has been discovered and it will be safer to move on. The installation of a Foxwatch Ultrasonic Deterrent at the entrance to the void will also increase the likelihood of a swift exit for the foxes.
The next step is to place sticks (the small green garden canes are ideal) over the entrance like a grill. Make sure they are pushed into the soil just firmly enough to prevent the wind from blowing them and place them around an inch apart covering the entire entrance or entrances if there are more than one. Next day check if the canes have been disturbed. If so replace them and check again the following day. You must ensure the sticks remain undisturbed for at least 48hrs before you assume the den has been deserted and it is safe to proof it.
As soon as you are certain that the foxes have gone, take steps to prevent them returning. Foxes do not like decking/sheds that have draughts under them, and usually use ones that are in the corner of the garden with a wall or fence on two sides. If there is rubbish piled behind the decking/shed you have to clear the rubbish, and open up the area so that it is exposed and draughty. If you want to be absolutely sure that they will not come back, securely fix weld mesh (not chicken wire) around the bottom of the decking/shed, covering the gap and dig at least 12 inches (30 cm) into the soil.
Foxes Under House/Portable Cabin
Occasionally foxes gain access to awkward, hard to reach, areas such as under houses (usually through broken air-bricks) or under school cabins. The solution in such cases is to manufacture a one-way gate, which will allow foxes to emerge, but not let them back in. It is a box construction with a perspex gate hinged at the top. It works rather like a one-way cat flap. The Fox Shop will manufacture a bespoke gate for you. For further details visit our online store.
In some situations odour can be a real problem. The solution is Sol-Odamask which is a highly concentrated formulation of essential oils, odour absorbents and emulsifiers. It is suitable for masking smells in areas that foxes have been inhabiting and fouling. For example where carrion has been dragged under floorboards, decking, sheds etc.
Risk of Disease
Whilst it is responsible to draw your attention to the potential hazards associated by living in close proximity to the red fox it is also important to keep the level of threat in perspective.
Foxes can carry a range of parasites and diseases relevant to the health of domestic pets and people. As members of the canine family foxes are known to harbour numerous contagious diseases which can effect the health of pet dogs.
This is the most common disease which foxes are likely to transmit to man. It is caused by a parasitic roundworm in the fox, toxocara canis. Microscopic toxocara eggs are present in the faeces of infected animals. These eggs have thick, sticky shells which means that they can remain infective in the soil for two to four years after the faeces have disappeared. The sticky shell helps eggs to adhere to fingers or clothing.
Humans can become infected with toxocara by accidentally swallowing the infective Toxocara eggs. This is why crawling babies and toddlers are most at risk; they tend to put dirty fingers and toys into their mouths. Medical records show that approximately 100 new cases of Toxocariasis are diagnosed each year. Once swallowed, Toxocara eggs release larvae into the intestine. These larvae travel through the body until they die, which may take several years.
The symptoms of this disease can be unpleasant and difficult to treat. They can include stomach upset and pain, headache, sore throat, wheezing and listlessness. In some cases, larvae reach the eyes where they can cause sight problems and in some cases blindness.
Domestic cats and dogs are prone to a form of this disease as well so cleaning up after their fouling is just as important.
It is important to always clear up fox faeces as soon as possible using a poop scoop and bag and to deposit it in a safe and secure bin. This is so as not to allow sufficient time for any roundworm eggs to incubate.
Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis)
Foxes are also susceptible to Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis) Which is a potentially life threatening condition and can be passed on to domestic pets and humans via contact with their urine.
Is a parasitic infestation by a tapeworm of the genus Echinococcus. It can result in the formation of cysts or parasitic tumours usually to the liver though lung, brain and bone can also be infected. It can be transmitted to humans either by directly ingesting food items or drinking water that is contaminated with stool from an infected animal or by petting or having other contact with cats and dogs that have been infected by proximity to foxes. These pets may shed the eggs in their stool, and their fur may be contaminated. They may also contaminate other objects, such as harnesses or leashes, which can also spread infection.
Is a highly contagious skin condition which is caused by mites and results in irritation and extensive loss of hair. It can be fatal if left untreated. Foxes can pass mange on to dogs if they frequent each others' living space. If the infected dog then sleeps on beds or furniture, everyone will begin scratching. Fortunately scabies in humans is self-limiting, that is the mite can burrow under the skin and cause itching, but cannot complete its life cycle on humans and dies within a few weeks.
Fleas and ticks
Are carried by most foxes.
Britain is currently rabies-free, but in countries where rabies occurs foxes can contract and pass on the disease.
The mating season. Peak dispersal period.
Vixen looks for breeding earth. Dispersal period ends.
Birth of cubs. Dog fox brings food to earth for vixen.
Cubs first emerge from the earth. Adults start to moult.
Cubs eating solid food. Adults busy hunting for cubs.
Breeding earth abandoned. Vixen finishes lactating.
Cubs lie up in brambles above ground. Adults bring cubs less food.
Cubs able to forage for themselves. Adults may lie up away from cubs.
Cubs full grown and indistinguishable from parents.
Moult completed in adults. Fox family group starts to break up.
Much more fighting between all foxes. Some sub-adults disperse.
Foxes very vocal and active defending territory as mating season approaches
Risk to Pets
Given the opportunity foxes will kill small domestic pets such as rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and kittens. Unlike many predators foxes have the habit of killing more than they need to eat immediately. They may subsequently return for any uneaten corpses.
Any small domestic animal should be securely protected with galvanised weld mesh or electrified fencing. Chicken wire is insufficient protection as it was designed to keep chickens in rather than to keep predators out.