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 Fox FAQ's

 


The fox plays an important role in balancing the ecological cycle of nature by killing rodents and helping to control an excess of their population. They have a very wide diet and should be a gadeners friend as they get rid of pests such as beetles, slugs and grubs as well as rats and mice.

FOX FAQ's

I have found an orphaned fox cub what should I do?
Do not touch it; leave it where it is unless it is in danger, such as from a dog or cat, then contact a wildlife rehabilitator from the Contacts page. Very often people think fox cubs are abandoned because they do not see the parents. However, once the cubs are a few weeks old, the adults tend to lie up elsewhere and only return periodically to feed them. Please call for advice to be sure you’re doing the best for the fox.

Can I feed the fox in my garden?
Foxes provide endless entertainment and  many people do feed them, however we strongly discourage it as there may be other people nearby who dislike foxes and may not want foxes encouraged into the area unnecessarily.

Can I rear an orphaned fox and release it into the wild?
This is possible, but it is expensive, challenging and we strongly recommend that you hand it over to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator instead. It is best to rear foxes with others of their own species so that they develop social skills while growing up. It is essential not to get the cubs imprinted on people, or for them to associate people with food. Fox cubs are best reared by experienced wildlife rehabilitators; contact a wildlife rehabilitator from the Contacts page.

Can I keep a fox as a pet?
NO; this is a cruel and selfish thing to do. Fox cubs may look cute, but they are wild animals and should be treated as such. As they grow, they become extremely boisterous and destructive as you would expect from a wild animal being kept in captivity.

Are foxes protected?
Foxes are not a protected species under Irish wildlife law. However, they do benefit from limited protection from animal cruelty laws. All hunting activities are regulated by law (even when the hunting activity targets species which are not 'protected species').

Fox on the shed
Foxes sometimes bask in sunshine, it should move off the same day

Fox under the shed
If the fox looks unwell (in behaviour or appearance) use contacts page for advice. If it just appears to be resting under the shed (even on multiple occasions) it's not necessarily unwell, however foxes sometimes establish natal dens under sheds to raise cubs so prevent entry if you don't want a fox family in your garden.

Will the fox attack my child?
There are occasional incidents involving foxes and children, invariably described in the press as an "attack", however foxes are wary of people and would normally run away to avoid adults and children. They will learn to trust people who are not causing them harm and may appear quite bold – but this is unlikely to be a sign of aggression. A fox may come into a house out of curiosity but would only attack out of fear. The fox is a wild animal and will protect its young and defend itself if threatened but left to its own devices foxes have a natural fear of humans.

Will the foxes in my garden attack my cat/dog?
This is extremely unlikely. Foxes avoid dogs, even small dogs, it is much more likely that your dog will attack the fox, not the other way round.  Cats are very capable of defending themselves against foxes. So it is hardly surprising that foxes generally give cats a wide berth and flee when threatened by a cat.

Will the fox eat my pet rabbit?
This may happen if you do not house your pets securely, although the risk is surprisingly low. On average, each urban fox eats someone's pet once every six years! However, even though the risk is low, it is only fair to your pet to keep it in a secure hutch.

Can I get someone to trap and remove the foxes in my garden?
There are pest control companies that use baited fox cage traps to catch and then kill a fox/foxes, however; vacant territories are generally recolonised within a few days. Traps MUST be checked regularly.
A far better alternative is to contact Wildlife Management Services (details below) for advice on / assistance with habitat exclusion.

Can a fox living in the city be returned to the countryside?
It is a misconception that foxes do not belong in cities: they are very adaptable and colonise a wide range of habitats around the world. They are well established urban residents; it is humans who have expanded into the fox’s habitat.
‘Dumping’ a city fox into the countryside would leave them very vulnerable as they would suddenly have search for a vacant territory in an area totally unfamiliar to them. This type of relocation could be considered 'abandonment' under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Additionally, many foxes suffer from a skin condition; 'mange' that can easily be spread to other foxes. Just because a fox looks healthy does not mean that they are mange free so relocation of such foxes into areas that are mange free could have worrying consequences to healthy fox populations.

Can my dog get mange from a fox?
It can, but this is not common. Even where sarcoptic mange is prevalent in the local foxes, there are relatively few cases in dogs.

How can I treat a fox with mange?
Mange in foxes can be a serious disease and is often fatal if left untreated. If you feed a fox regularly, under guidance from your vet or wildlife rehabber you may be able to try to improve its prognosis by adding treatment to its food or if it is severely affected it will need to be trapped and taken to a vet for treatment.  Contact a wildlife rehabilitator or vet on the Contacts page.

How do I stop foxes from chewing toys, shoes, garden hoses and vehicle cables?
If foxes frequent your garden, the easiest solution is to make sure you do not leave toys, shoes or hoses in the garden overnight, and check out the fox deterrent links below.

How do I stop the foxes digging my lawn?
Once dug, the foxes tend to reopen the holes every time they are filled in and this becomes a battle of wits with the foxes. To try to stop them reopening the holes, water the area with a commercial animal repellent and check out the fox deterrent links below.

How will I protect my chickens from foxes?
Protective measures such as electric fencing can reduce losses. People who keep a few chickens for their personal use suffer no losses from foxes if they are securely housed and not left out at night. Use weld-mesh (not chicken wire, which is not fox proof), a solid floor so that foxes cannot dig underneath, and a secure lock that cannot be worked loose (i.e. not a latch)

Can I put out poison for foxes?
The EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (BIRDS AND NATURAL HABITATS) (RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF POISON BAIT) REGULATIONS 2010
makes it an offence for a person to use any type of meat, fish, egg or other animal substance as bait to poison or stupefy birds or animals such as otters and pine martens, unless licensed to do so.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) has confirmed that there is no pesticide registered or approved in the Republic of Ireland for poisoning of birds or foxes. Alphachloralose was previously registered, and commonly used, to kill crows but this approved use was removed by DAFF, in line with an EU decision, in November 2008. Alphachloralose is now only registered and approved in Ireland for the control of mice. Therefore any poisoning of foxes and crows is illegal in Ireland.

I have found a dead fox in my garden what should I do about it?
If you have found a dead fox in your garden ring your local County Council and arrange for the body to be collected.

What can I do to stop foxes coming into my garden?
Ultimately, the best course of action is to find out what attracts the fox to your garden and remove or disguise the temptation.  Remove any food that may be attracting the fox e.g. pet food or bird feeders that attract small mammals. Ensure rubbish/compost bins are covered to avoid scavenging. Remove potential hiding or sheltering areas e.g. close shed doors, block off any spaces underneath the shed, and cut long grass.
Where this isn’t possible, repellents and fencing can be tried to ameliorate the problem.

 

FOX REPELLENTS & DETERRENTS:

Unfortunately whilst there is a huge market for repellents etc. it is hard to find one that works in an urban environment as these foxes have generally been exposed to a huge range of smells and noises from birth. In urban environments fox exclusion and habitat management is the most reliable way in which urban foxes can be managed.

If you want to try some; we've listed a few below which can be sourced from this website: www.foxolutions.co.uk

The Scarecrow: This was found very effective in many tests that were carried out with it. When it detects a fox it lets out a spray of water and the sound and water makes the fox learn that it needs to avoid this place in future.

Foxwatch: Fox watch detects any fox movement and body heat, Foxes are repelled by Foxwatch up to a distance of 60 feet away. Most animals like ourselves cannot hear the Foxwatch alarm, this includes cats, birds, frogs, hedgehogs and rabbits. Dogs can hear the alarm and will be deterred from entering the protected area.

Scoot Fox Deterrent: Widely acclaimed as the most effective fox repellent on the market Scoot is a patented non toxic formula used to keep foxes away from protected areas. It works by mimicking scent marking odours thus leading any foxes that may be present to vacate the area in the belief that another animal has taken over its territory. Scoot is totally safe for use in gardens, on plants and edible crops and is humane, bio-degradable and very effective.

Prickle Strip: One of the best ways to keep foxes out of your garden is to prevent them getting in in the first place. Prickle strips are designed to give maximum discomfort with minimum harm. The strips are made from weather resistant polypropylene.

Night Guard Solar: A solar-powered device which offers night time protection from foxes. This maintenance-free product has a high-intensity red flashing LED light which automatically turns on at dusk and off in full daylight. A key benefit is that the solar-powered device needs neither batteries nor mains electricity. Nite Guard Solar is based on a micro warning light. A flash of light implies to all animals which hunt or feed at night that they have been discovered or are being watched.

Get Of My Garden: Get off My Garden is a citronella scented jelly granule product. Specific applications are for defending soil areas such as flower beds or planters against fouling and digging. Get off My Garden offers a harmless yet effective means of deterring even the most persistent fox. This product may also be used to encourage foxes to abandon inhabited earths.

Ssscat: Deny foxes entry into the home through open doors, windows or cat flaps with this device. Ssscat has two elements: a motion detector and an aerosol can. It detects the fox's motion and releases a spray. The sudden hiss and jet of compressed air acts as a very strong deterrent.

One way Gate: Occasionally foxes gain access to awkward, hard to reach, areas such as under houses. There is one way to solve this, this gate allows the foxes to exit but does not allow them to gain entry again.

Brickle Strip – Double Width Prickle Strip: Brickle Strip is easily attached to the top of a brick wall or ledge with glue, nails or screws (see instructions below). Can also be used on tree branches or sheds. Easy to cut and drill more holes if required. Is twice the width as prickle strip but is taken from the same idea.

Wash off and get off: Wash and Get Off spray is a unique two in one formula that will not only clean up fox fouling but will also remove the associated territory scent thus protecting the area from further attack.

The strike back repeller: The StrikebackRepeller differs from regular sonic fox repellers because, in addition to a high pitched sound, it also triggers the flashing of a strobe light. This means that the fox will receive both an audio and a visual fright once the Repeller detects the fox.  

Lawn Rescue: This special formulation is designed to keep the lawn free from dying grass patches caused by animal urine. It neutralises the staining agents and acid in fox urine by converting them into natural salts.

Liquid Disinfectant: A liquid disinfectant suitable for general cleaning and disinfecting of areas of fox fouling. Effective against distemper, parvo virus and other infective organisms.

Liquid Deodoriser: Sol-Odamask 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.

Householder’s guide to fox deterrents: This book seeks to help those who suffer at the hands (or paws) of the urban and suburban fox. Whilst it provides practical advice on deterring foxes, it also fascinates with explanations for the animals' behaviour.

Using a Radio: A novel idea that has emerged recently as an excellent fox repellent is the use of a radio. This is a fox deterrent method that has been employed by many cunning farmers for years. By cleverly placing radios around their fields at points of entry where foxes gain access, the radios are then tuned to a ‘talkie’ radio station. This gives the impression to the wily fox that there are humans about and they will therefore give the area a wide berth to avoid danger and confrontation.

For physical exclusion (i.e. fencing) designs and illustrations see www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/fox_deterrence.html

 

CONTACTS for further information/advice:

Wildlife Management Services (Irish)
"We specialise in the provision of wildlife management services and consultancy in both the urban and rural environment. We offer effective and humane solutions to your wildlife and bird problems. We employ humane methods in order to manage wildlife populations, where possible we use habitat management as our first option."
www.wildlifemanagement.ie

Wildlife Online
An educational website about wildlife with an EXCELLENT, very detailed section
HOW DO I KEEP FOXES OUT OF MY GARDEN AND SECURE MY PETS?
www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/fox_deterrence.html


Foxwatch Ireland
www.homepage.eircom.net/~foxwatchireland/

Conserve Ireland
Find out about protected species and habitats in Ireland. Browse a database to see if species or habitats qualify for designation as protected. You can also find out about legislation governing this area
www.conserveireland.com

The Fox Website, UK
Information on all aspects of red fox ecology, behaviour, management and human conflict
www.thefoxwebsite.net

National Fox Welfare Society, UK
A site dedicated to the welfare of the fox population
Phone: 01933-411996 Emergency: 07778-183954
(prefix from Ireland 00 44 then drop first 0 in the phone number below)
www.nfws.org.uk

Foxolutions, UK
Humane fox control services, fox repellents, fox deterrents, and fox proofing
www.foxolutions.co.uk

 

 


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