Foxes are maybe the prettiest, most charismatic, and deadliest pests we may have to deal with. If it’s small, and it moves, it’s on the menu. That goes for turkeys, pheasants, ducks, geese, chickens, lambs, piglets, rabbits, guinea pigs, and yes; even kittens, puppies, and small dogs. They don’t stop there! Windfallen fruit, berries, garbage, compost, birdseed, and poultry eggs are also eaten. Omnivorous proclivities aside, foxes can also (although it’s rare) carry rabies, sarcoptic mange, and/or distemper. Oh, and lets not forget about ticks, tick borne illnesses, and fleas. For the cherry on top, foxes stink. In a process called fouling, they poop everywhere and mark their territory with extremely potent urine…which of course may start your own pets off on marking everything around them in a show of territorial superiority.
More and more, foxes are being seen in urban areas. And it’s no wonder: weighing in at only about 12 pounds, they make for easy prey for coyotes. Urban areas provide foxes with something of a safe-haven from their larger, hangrier cousins. These havens are also rife with food. Speaking of food, some of their prey (birds, squirrels, chipmunks) are active only during the day. So if you do see a fox out during the day, don’t panic. It’s probably not rabid. It’s probably just hunting. And when it’s done, it’s probably gonna go back to it’s den under your shed, where once a year, unless you do something to break the cycle, it’s gonna give birth to around six kits.
*Warning: Some fox species are federally protected. Know the applicable laws for your particular region before continuing.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Foxes Under the Shed or Porch
*Important note: Use as many of the following tactics as possible. The more you use simultaneously, the better your chances of getting rid of foxes will be.
Make your property inhospitable to foxes. Nothing you do to get rid of a fox will have any long term success unless you make some changes. If you leave your yard as is, another fox will soon take the place of the one you just got rid of. So, remove shelter and hiding places by cutting down grown up areas and keeping the vegetation (woody and herbaceous) in check. Get rid of wood/brush/trash piles along with anything else that looks like a potential den site. Remove any standing water be it a fish pond, an old tire, a bucket, or a low spot in the terrain. Finally, quit supplying them with food. Secure your trash, pick up fallen fruit every day, quit leaving dog/cat food outside, quit feeding the birds, and make sure you don’t put any meat, dairy, or eggs in the compost.
Put up an electronic fox deterrent. There are a number of electronic ultrasonic fox deterrents available. All of them seem to have mixed reviews. The one that seems the most impressive is the MP1 Ultrasonic Fox & Badger Repeller. It’s motion activated, makes numerous different noises so foxes won’t get used to it, and it has two red LED lights that look to foxes like eyes glowing in the night. Keep in mind that any ultrasonic deterrent you get will also annoy your and/or your neighbors pet dogs. Place the unit near the den site.
Use fox repellents. It’s often suggested that, since it smells kinda like urine, you soak an old rag in ammonia and toss it into the entrance of the fox den. Seems reasonable. Along with that, you should also pick up a fox repellent such as Get Off My Garden (citronella and methyl nonyl ketone based), Scoot Fox Repellent (ammonium based), and/or any (there are many) capsicum based deterrent for use around the yard and the den site. If you have a cat, collect and spread some of its used, icky kitty litter around the den site. Another often deployed tactic is to place sweaty dirty human clothes around the den and especially in the den opening. Finally, hang some visual fox deterrents such as scare tape (which dangles and blows in the wind) and/or some shiny mylar balloons.
Scare the bejeezus out of ‘em. Foxes like quiet, solitude, darkness, and security. Take those things away from them and they just might move out. Start by installing a security light or two… or four….. on the shed the fox is living under. One on each side. Whenever she comes by, Bam! Blinded and exposed. Motion sensitive alarms are fun, too. Not only will the fox get startled by the suddenly brightness from the security lights, but the alarm will also go off, scaring the fox even more. A radio is also pretty great. Since foxes don’t like the sound of human voices, it helps to set a radio up in the shed, turn it to talk radio, and just let it run. Finally, go out to the shed several times a day at random intervals and stomp around in there while pounding some pots and pans together. Your neighbors will think you’ve lost your damn mind, but that’s OK. You don’t like them, anyway.
Make sure they’re gone before blocking them out. I say this because you don’t want to accidentally block them in and have them starve, die a miserable and painful death, and then stink to high heaven. Sometimes, if you’ve been unable to get rid of foxes, or just didn’t bother to try, the best thing you can do is wait them out. Baby foxes are usually born in March or April and, after about 9 weeks or so, the kits will start accompanying their mother out of the den. One day, when you know they’re gone, get out there and make sure they can’t get back in. And don’t worry, they’ll be fine. If you’re not certain that they’re gone, run the blockade that I talk about in the next step all the way around or across, but leave a one foot opening. Next, pour a bunch of flour near the opening and prop some sticks up in front of it. After a few days, if there are no footprints in the flour and the sticks are still in place, you can finish that last section.
Make sure they can’t get back in. Aside from all the awful things foxes do that I mentioned earlier, the holes they dig can sometimes cause damage to the structure and stability of the shed, porch, patio, etc., that they’re living under. So, once they’re out, keep ‘em out. This is best done by attaching hardware cloth to the lower edge of the structure and extending it to a foot below ground. Yes, this means you’ll have to dig, and it will suck. However, if you don’t do it right, they’ll just dig their way under it and you’ll have to get rid of a fox again next year. Or possibly even this year. Once you have your hole dug, you’ll need to run your hardware cloth out and bend a twelve inch right angle all the way along the bottom of it. This ledge will be buried pointing away from the structure and will keep foxes from digging their way under it. If the hardware cloth isn’t tall enough to do all of this, you’ll need to attach another piece. The ledge is important. If the ground around the fox den is really rocky or rooty, you can run the twelve inch bend along the surface and secure it with landscaping staples.
Get rid of foxes with live traps. While trapping foxes is a great way to get rid of them, you’ll still need to do those super fun things I mentioned above to make your property unappealing to them. Otherwise, you’ll trap your fox, and another one will soon take its place. First, make sure the fox you’re trapping doesn’t have babies that will die without their mother. Second, get yourself a trap. Get a big one. Get the x-large one (42x15x15) from Havahart. Before you place it, wash it to remove any weird manufacturing and human smells. After washing, rinse it very well and only handle it with clean gloves. You don’t want the fox to smell human on the trap or they won’t go near it. Place the closed trap in either a sheltered area where the fox would likely hang out, or parallel along a fence or building where the fox walks. Just leave it there (closed) for a week so the fox can get used to it. On the third or fourth day, start tossing bait around, but not in, the trap. Do this for several days. This will help the fox get over trap shyness. Use a meat/fish based bait. On day eight, put on your clean gloves and set and bait the trap. Check your trap regularly and once you have your fox, do with it what you will.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Foxes in Your Garden
Unfortunately, the only truly effective way to keep foxes out of your garden is to put up a fence. Fortunately, a fence will keep lots of other pests out as well.
To work for foxes, the fence should be at least 5 ½ feet above ground. The top 8-12” of the fence should be an outward angling overhang. the bottom 12” should be buried underground. At the bottom of the buried section, there should also be a 12” outward angling ledge to keep foxes from digging under the fence. While you certainly could dig a trench all the way around your garden by hand, I would highly recommend renting a trencher. Once you’re fence is in place and you’ve replaced the dirt, you can take things one step further and electrify the fence. Run one electric wire at four to six inches up from the ground and a second one at ten to twelve inches up.
Best Natural Fox Deterrents and Repellents
Urine. Predator urine is available at numerous online retail shops and most brick and mortar sporting goods shops. Look for coyote, cougar, or bear urine. Amazon sells Shake-Off Coyote/Fox granules. If it were me, however, I’d first try my own. It’s commonly reported that the urine of an adult male works very well at repelling foxes. And hey, it’s free. If you have the proper anatomical equipment and live in relative seclusion, get out there and start peeing on anything and everything. If you’re a little more exposed (no pun intended) go inside and pee in a bucket, a watering can, a bottle, or some other receptacle, go outside, and spread it around.
The Scarecrow. If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ve probably heard of The Scarecrow. I love it. It’s a motion activated sprinkler that, along with pissing pests off by getting them wet, scares the scat out of ‘em when it loudly clicks to life.
Get a guard animal. No surprise here; big dogs make good guard dogs and fox deterrents. Plus, dogs are awesome. Don’t want a dog? Consider a guard donkey. That’s right, I said “guard donkey”. It’s a real thing. Donkeys are pretty aggressive towards foxes and if they hear or see one, they’ll charge it and chase it away. If they get close enough, they’ll even kill ‘em.
Shoot ‘em! I realize this one should go without saying. But! There’s a really neat device called an electronic predator caller (the one shown is made by Icotec) that emits all sorts of noises to draw predators, such as foxes, in closer so that you have a better chance at poppin’ ‘em.