Common pests

Foxes

Foxes are well adapted to both town and country life and will live and breed in both environments. Wherever you live there is therefore a good chance that foxes at least occasionally pass through your garden.

Facts about foxes

By day foxes often shelter in burrows, known as earths or dens. Sometimes they will lie up a secluded spot above ground. Urban dens may be under garden sheds or greenhouse.

Female foxes ( vixens ) generally give birth to their cubs in an earth. Where cubs have been reared in the earth the vegetation may be trampled nearby, due to the foxes playing, and food remains may be scattered about.

Urban foxes feed on an abundance of varied types of food. The greatest bulk being scavenged food and earthworms. The scavenged food comes primarily from bird tables, compost heaps and where people deliberately feed foxes. Much of the remainder comes from scraps of food thrown away in the street or on open refuse tips. Fruit is very important seasonally, especially apples and plums, and rats, mice, voles and hedgehogs are eaten too.

How do you control them?

Our policy, in line with all of the neighbouring authorities, is to discourage the fox population from increasing without physically harming them. This is achieved by advising residents to stop doing things that might encourage foxes. These include:

Remove the attraction
The most likely reason for a fox to enter your garden is in search of food.

  • If you use bags for your rubbish, only put them out on the morning of collection
  • Make sure all domestic animals and livestock are securely caged or fenced in
  • Do not leave food out for other animals, for example food for cats, dogs, or rabbits. Be extremely careful when putting food out for birds - ideally this should be in approved feeders
  • Clear away fruit that has fallen from trees
  • Bring toys, shoes etc inside at night as cubs like to chew these items and play with them.

Seal holes and get rid of hiding places
Foxes may also be attracted to your garden as it may provide a safe place to shelter by day or night. This may be due to neglected areas of holes beneath a building.

  • Keep your garage, greenhouse and shed doors closed
  • Ensure that air bricks leading under your house are in good repair
  • Secure fencing and block any gaps
  • Prickly plants around the garden may also deter foxes.

Further information

A leaflet about urban foxes can be found on the Natural England website.

In addition the Fox Project can advise on deterring foxes from entering properties and advise on the names of contractors offering a specialist pest control service for foxes.