Stop Foxes From Entering Your Garden

Products previously tested by Daniel at DIY Gardening

Tested by Daniel Woodley. Fact Checked by Paul Farley. Published to Pest Control on the 2nd February 2020. Updated: 19th March 2024.

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The United Kingdom’s fox population has exploded during the last 50 years with there being more than three times the number of foxes now than during the 1960s.

Recent research suggests there are between 150,000 and 250,000 foxes during the winter months, a period when fox numbers are at their lowest.

During the summer when cubs are born, the fox population explodes to around half a million, although many young foxes die before maturity and the average fox life expectancy is well below 3 years.

As the number of foxes in the UK has increased they are becoming less fearful of humans and incursions into gardens and even homes have increased substantially.

Foxes regularly visit our neighbourhood and are a nuisance as they often damage bins and bags looking for food, dig up gardens so they can stash food for later, attack or fight with other foxes, leave poo and urine on flowerbeds, lawns, patios and decking and can make lots of noise.

If you want to reduce the frequency of fox incursions into your garden, explore our detailed step-by-step guide and let us help you outfox the cunning UK fox.

Step 1) Secure the Perimeter

I feel the first step to deterring and repelling foxes is to secure the perimeter of the property as foxes can jump over four feet, climb over seven feet, and can easily borrow under barriers such as garden walls and fences.

I’ve seen Fox-proof mesh with a wire diameter of 2mm used as a barrier that the foxes couldn’t chew through and I feel it’s perfect for stopping foxes from burying underground near fences and walls. Also, I’ve seen gardeners use it to secure chicken pens and prevent intrusions through bushes.

Don’t use standard chicken wire; it’s far too thin, and I’ve seen determined foxes chew and break through it.

I’ve had success in the past by using wall spikes on the top of walls and fences and also on the sides of posts.

I feel that the gardener should pay extra attention to known entry and exit points. Foxes will use the same routes repeatedly, but by securing the perimeter, the foxes should find another route, hopefully well away from your property.

Step 2) Scare Off Foxes With Motion-Activated Sprayers

Foxes are determined animals, and some will still gain entry to a property, even if the perimeter has been secured with spikes and meshes.

The next step is to scare off any foxes who manage to enter the garden.

I’ve found the most effective products are motion-activated sprayers; these are battery-powered and connected to an outside tap with good water pressure. These devices detect movement from foxes, cats, badgers etc and then spray a jet of water to scare them off.

I met a gardener a few years ago who had a large pond with expensive koi carp, and he had two of these sprayers protecting the fish from cats, foxes and birds.

From what he told me and from testing them myself by walking past them, these products are very effective, but they require good water pressure, taps that don’t leak and are best suited to large gardens.

Check out these products here.

Watch these two videos to see the most effective fox-repellent product you can buy:

Video 1 – Scaring Foxes Away:

Video 2 – An In-Depth Look at Motion-Activated Sprayers:

Step 3) Spook and Frighten Foxes With Ultrasonic Devices

Research by the RSPCA revealed that ultrasonic devices can reduce the number of cat and fox intrusions by 32%.

That also means that 68% of foxes and cats completely ignore these devices and will still enter a garden.

If you rely solely on these devices, I don’t think you should expect anything more than a slight reduction in the number of fox and cat intrusions.

Based on my experience and testing, I feel that ultrasonic alarms are best used as part of a system that includes several other fox deterrent products.

If you’ve never used these before, they’re incredibly easy to deploy, just pop a battery into the device and place it in your garden. The sensor will detect movement and activate a sonic noise that humans can’t hear but will spook cats, foxes and other unwanted animals. 

I’ve tested several products over the years, and here’s what I found:

  • They do work against some foxes and cats.
  • The foxes and cats in my garden got used to them after a week or two and started to ignore them.
  • I had better results when I relocated them to different areas of the garden once a week.

Step 4) Deter Foxes From Digging

Foxes just love to have a good dig in and around the garden.

I’ve seen them scavenging around bird tables and bins, digging up my garden bulbs, looking for earthworms, grubs and other foodstuffs.

Foxes also like to hide food for retrieval later, so don’t be surprised if you find plenty of holes in your lawn and flowerbeds.

I previously tested prickle strips in my garden, and here’s what I discovered:

  • They didn’t work very well in my large flowerbeds.
  • I had better results when I put them in containers and troughs.
  • I’ve seen them tied around trees before as the gardener wanted to stop cats and foxes climbing up the trunk.
  • I’ve also seen gardeners use them successfully around crops and in allotments.

Step 5) Optional Products Worth Trying

In addition to the products and suggestions listed above, you can also try securing your bin if the foxes are using it as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

A few of my neighbours have these locks on their bins and they do work but foxes will still be attracted to the area unless all of your neighbours lock their bin lids.

If you find that foxes are frequenting a very specific location, perhaps near a food waste bin, behind a shed or near a bird table, you can use lion’s dung as the scent is said to scare off cats, badgers and foxes who will assume there’s a lion nearby.

Will lion’s dung work as a general garden-wide fox repellent? Probably not, and you would need to use quite a lot of it to cover a large area.

I feel that lion’s dung is more likely to work in small, sheltered and very specific areas where it won’t get washed away.

Silent Roar is the most popular lion’s dung fox repellent on the market.

I used this once about five years ago and it didn’t work for me but it might be worth trying if you’ve failed with everything else.

Conclusion

There are dozens of reasons why foxes may be entering your property, to locate food, bury food, to nest or just as a route to a popular destination.

I’ve made several attempts at deterring and repelling foxes in several properties, and it was no easy task and I’ve learnt that there’s no single product or solution that is 100% effective.

If you deploy several fox-specific products and make changes to the perimeter and content of your garden, I’m confident you can successfully deter most foxes.

Motion-activated sprayers are my favourite product and I’ve seen them in action, but they only work if you have good water pressure and a big enough garden. You probably won’t want to use them in front gardens or smaller back gardens as the likelihood of soaking yourself and visitors is high. They aren’t suitable for homes with pet dogs either.

My Experience at Deterring Foxes

I’ve had success in the past by fixing the wall spikes to the top of fences and walls – cats and foxes really hate these.

The ultrasonic devices have produced mixed results for me – they seemed to work at first until the animals got used to them.

I’ve seen the water sprayers used effectively to keep cats and birds of prey away from koi carp ponds and they will deter foxes from large gardens but I don’t believe they’re practical for small areas.

Pungent odour products work best when used in very specific places such as plant containers, I’ve never had success with them over large areas such as flowerbeds.

Putting locks on bins and being careful not to leave food out is just common sense but will only work if the neighbours do the same thing.

Fox FAQs

How many foxes are there in the UK?

While there is no general consensus on the number of foxes in the UK, recent research estimates the number to be between 150,000 and 250,000. The number peaks during the summer and decreases during the winter.

Is the fox hunting ban the reason we see so many foxes in the UK?

There is little conclusive evidence that the ban on fox hunting has had any effect on the number of foxes in the UK. The most common cause of fox mortality is vehicle collisions.

Can lion's dung scare off foxes?

We’ve tested lion’s dung, a strongly scented poop that reportedly frightens off foxes, the results so far have been inconclusive. We are not recommending lion dung as a general garden-wide product but it could be useful in very specific locations such as near bins or other foodstuffs.

Can I trap and relocate a fox?

Yes but there are rules regarding the type of snare or trap you can use. Explore the UK government’s advice here.

How long do foxes live for?

Foxes held in captivity can live for over 13 years but most wild foxes die before the age of 3. Over 20% of cubs die before reaching 4 weeks of age.

Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.

He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.

Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

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This guide to deterring foxes was published by DIY Gardening

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