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As far as nuisance wildlife goes, the humble fox could just be the cutest of the bunch. With its bushy tail and cunning, wily ways, it manages to win humans over, with a few of us even keeping the creature as pets.
The animal will eat everything that moves in front of it, and even a few things that don't move too. It’ll feast on livestock young, including piglets, lamb, and calves, and it will even attack and feast on smaller domesticated pets, such as guinea pigs and rabbits that are kept outside in hutches, chickens and their eggs kept in coops, ducks, geese, turkeys, you name it, the fox will eat it.
Before you begin your journey, aiming to get rid of foxes entirely from your property, you must first check the laws in your local area. To start with, there are laws surrounding the actually trapping of these creatures, if that’s the route you were planning to take. Killing the creature also comes with a number of rules and regulations that you must adhere to, because they are considered furbearing animals. In certain places, you may only be allowed to trap or kill foxes during the open/hunting season.
While we’re on the subject of trapping, either live or kill trapping, this has the potential to go wrong, especially if you have never done the trapping act before. Again, there are things that you will need to take into consideration, including the laws. You will also need to get a trap that is big enough to house a fox, and perhaps even a couple of youngsters too, and you will more than likely need to change your approach entirely if you have kids to think about too.
The first thing you should do when you have nuisance foxes on your property is to make your property less attractive to them. They are there for a reason, and that reason is usually food. If it isn’t food that's drawing them closer, it’ll be the shelter your property has to offer a couple of parent foxes with their kits.
A messy garden is the perfect home for a wide range of nuisance wildlife, the fox being just the tip of the iceberg. If you have lots of vegetation, keep it in check, mowing laws, stripping back unruly and unkempt bushes and hedges.
Trash and garden debris should be disposed of properly. Leaving it in your back yard will result in some wild critter moving in.
Bird feeders should be modified to make sure that other animals can't get to the seeds and nuts inside, and also that the stuff that falls out from it isn’t left to attract other animals on the ground. Garbage bags should be moved into metal cans and moved into the garage, or, at the very least, covered securely with a lid so that critters can't get in and have a good old root around. Fruit that falls from trees should be removed immediately, and those areas where fresh produce is growing should be protected with both above and below ground fencing systems. You could try your hand at fox repellents at the same time, but it is not a method worth taking alone. If you have foxes on your property, you can expect to do some property modifications, if only minor ones.
You can't just go around blocking holes up either, if you have found yourself with a fox living under the porch, decking, or stairs. You run the risk of shutting youngsters inside, in the den, and if the mother doesn't break down your barriers trying to get in, the youngsters will just die in there. You will then need to tear those barriers down to get to the root of the bad smell that now fills your home.
For every approach you take to remove a fox from your land, there will be repercussions. These creatures can’t just be trapped and released, because they usually won't survive once they have been released in a brand new territory. Kill-trapping may require permits. There are no registered poisons that you can use, and using some homemade remedy or a poison that has been designed for use with another wild critter (such as rodents) is not only ineffective, but incredibly dangerous. You have no idea who or what you might injure or kill by accident along the way.
The only way to effectively remove foxes and their young from your property is to use a combination of fencing and other protective barriers, along with exclusion methods. Sealing can be done, of the holes in which these critters have moved on, but only after you have excluded the creatures. If you seal up a hole without removing the entire family, the babies will die in the den.
Sometimes, sitting and waiting is your best option. If you have a family of foxes living on your land, it won't be long before the kits are weaned and ready to learn how to hunt on their own. Once they're old enough and smart enough to leave the nest, they will, as a family, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to seal up all the holes and make your land wild-animal-proof.
Read aboutHow to get rid of fox
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.
Animals in the attic - read about the common species.
Noises in the attic - how to identify critters by their sounds.