Stop Foxes From Entering Your Property
A step-by-step guide to deterring and repelling foxes
Part of the pest control guide by the Team at DIY Gardening
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 are a nuisance for many people 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
The first step to deterring and repelling foxes is to secure the perimeter of the property.
Foxes are able to jump over four feet, can climb over seven feet, and can easily borrow under barriers such as garden walls and fences.
Fox-proof mesh with a wire diameter of 2mm can be used to create a barrier the fox won’t be able to chew through and is perfect for stopping foxes from burying underground near fences and walls. Also, use it to secure chicken pens and prevent intrusions through bushes.
Don’t use standard chicken wire, it’s far too thin and a determined fox will chew through it.
Wall spikes are perfect for placing on top of both fences and walls, place on the vertical sides of walls/fences to prevent climbing. These are humane, affordable and easy to fix in place, they work very well at stopping foxes from scrambling over barriers.
Extra attention should be paid to known entry and exit points. Foxes will use the same routes over and over again 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 that do manage to enter the garden.
The most effective products are sprayers which are motion-activated, 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.
Pro tip: The connectors on most of these devices are of poor quality and may leak, so swap them for Hozelock connectors (available on Amazon for a couple of pounds). Also, these products only work if you have very good water pressure. Don’t buy this sprayer if you have poor water pressure at the outside tap, it won’t work.
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, don’t expect anything more than a slight reduction in the number of fox and cat intrusions.
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 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.
We suggest relocating the device(s) every month so foxes don’t get used them.
Step 4) Deter Foxes From Digging
Foxes just love to have a good dig in and around the garden.
They will scavenge around bird tables and bins, dig up garden bulbs, 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.
The easiest way to stop foxes digging in a garden is to deploy prickle strips to vegetable patches, flowerbeds and even in large pots.
Made from plastic, are cheap and easy to install, these spikes humanely deter foxes from digging. You can also pin them to tree trunks, fence posts and other vertical surfaces.
Step 5) Optional Products Worth Trying
In addition to the products and suggestions listed above, you can also try the following, which may work in very specific locations and circumstances:
Waste bin locks are a great way to secure wheelie bins, so if your local foxes have figured out how to open the lids, either place something heavy on top of them or secure them with a custom lock:
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.
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:
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.
Deterring and repelling foxes is no easy task and there’s no one single product or solution that is 100% effective.
By deploying several fox-specific products and making changes to the perimeter and content of your garden, you can, however, successfully deter most foxes.
Motion-activated sprayers are our favourite product 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.
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.
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