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How to deter foxes from your garden – 8 safe and effective tips

Foxes can be fun to watch, but they can become a nuisance (Picture: Getty)

Watching foxes frolic in the garden is fun – until they rip open bin bags, mark their territory, and start screeching at night.

With an estimated 10,000 red foxes in the capital alone, they can be a real nuisance.

Foxes can carry diseases including mange, Toxocariasis, and distemper, and can attack other animals including kittens, small dogs, and chickens, though it’s very rare for them to go for an adult cat, unless the cat is sick or vulnerable.

Fox attacks on humans do happen, but are vastly outnumbered by attacks by domestic dogs, according to the London Wildlife Trust.

So what are the best ways to humanely deter foxes from a garden?

Secure compost bins

Chucking waste food uncovered on the compost heap is basically serving up dinner for all the foxes in your area (Picture: Getty Images)

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised what foxes will eat.

Compost heaps need to be securely sealed, along with bins and rubbish bags, or they’ll rip them apart.

Easy though it is to nip out there and chuck waste food on top of the pile, that’s an absolute no-no.

Check your fertilizers

Using certain fertilizers will bring all the foxes to your yard (Picture: Getty Images)

Take a look at labels on fertilizers if you’re gardening.

Avoid any that contain blood, fish or bone meal, as these will attract foxes. There are plenty of alternatives.

Don’t scatter bird food

A feeder will help to keep foxes at bay (Picture: Getty Images)

Invest in a bird feeder if you’re feeding wild birds. Throwing seed all over the garden or by your back door is an open invitation to foxes.

If you have a bird table, make sure it has a roof on it to keep foxes out.

Use chicken wire and netting

Protecting your bulbs and veg will remove a source of food for foxes (Picture: Getty Images)

Bulbs are a convenient food source for foxes, who will dig them up – wrecking your lovely floral display before it’s even got going. Use chicken wire just under the soil around areas planted with bulbs.

Vegetable patches should also be netted, before that sweetcorn you’ve been tending for months gets snapped up.

Clear up any overgrown areas

Get out there with the strimmer – you know it makes sense (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Overgrown gardens and patches provide excellent nesting areas and can lead to foxes making their home in them. Suddenly you’ve got a fox and her cubs.

Make sure there is nowhere for foxes to settle – they dislike areas that are exposed and draughty. Understandable, really.

Use repellents

Give foxes the run-around with a repellent (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

You can buy repellents that will encourage foxes to move on in garden centres, hardware shops, and online.

The most widely recommended are Scoot (good for protecting lawns and plants), Get Off (deters foxes from digging holes and den-making), and Stay Off.

But you’ll need to be persistent, as foxes can see it as a battle for territory and start marking their area even more before moving on.

Soaking twine, rags or wood with repellent and placing around the garden and in holes can work – but never use near any holes used by badgers, as it’s illegal.

Use a scent neutraliser

Foxes mark their territory with a pretty potent whiff (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Again, you’ll need to be persistent. But you’ll be glad you did as fox scent is a truly potent brew – and if you get it on your skin it’s really hard to wash off.

Applying the neutraliser and removing any visible fox poo can discourage them from marking everywhere and turning your garden into a toilet.

Check fences

Mending fences will help to keep foxes out of your garden (Picture: Getty Images)

Foxes will slip through gaps in your fences – they’ll often follow a certain route and holes around the bottom of fences provide them with an easy way to slip through.

Have a recce round the garden and patch up or block any holes in the fence.

If you see a sick or injured fox, you can report it to the RSPCA here.


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