The Red Fox is not a native animal of Australia and is widely regarded as a pest. Foxes are resourceful creatures, readily setting up home in urban areas and causing a nuisance to householders by digging-up and fouling gardens, raiding rubbish bins, and creating a noisy disturbance at night.
If you're plagued by feral foxes, your local commercial pest control firm will be able to solve the problem for you. However, in the meantime, it may also be possible to deter foxes yourself. Here are some tips on how to show this pest the door!
Removal of food and water sources
The main attraction for urban foxes is an easy source of food and some water with which to wash down their meal. You can discourage visiting foxes by:
- keeping chickens or pet rabbits safely housed and fenced (both during daylight hours and especially at night)
- picking up bowls of uneaten pet food at night and removing water dishes
- use a pest-proof rubbish bin, and make sure that the lid is always firmly closed
- if you feed the birds, sweep up leftover seed that could attract mice that foxes will predate on
- if you have a pet door, make sure that it's a self-locking one that can only be activated by your own pet's microchip or collar tag so that foxes can't come into your kitchen in search of food
It is not a good idea to try to poison nuisance foxes; there's too much risk that someone's family pet could eat the bait by mistake. Note also that it is illegal to kill native wildlife in some states, and it would be all too easy for a protected species to eat the poison that was intended for the foxes, potentially landing you in hot water with the law.
However, there are a number of chemical fox deterrent sprays that you can use, which are obtainable from good DIY stores or directly from your local pest controller. All you need to do is spray the product liberally all around the perimeter of your garden to keep foxes out. Remember that foxes are pretty athletic, so make sure that you give your fencing a good dose of repellent up to a height of at least two metres. If possible, spray the outside of your perimeter fencing too, but always ask your neighbours' permission first.
Strong wire mesh fencing is pretty effective at keeping foxes out, but you'll need to sink the fencing at least one metre into the ground to prevent the trespassers from digging underneath it, and it must be at least two metres high to discourage them from leaping over the top.
A fox den can be blocked up once the vixen and cubs have left and moved on. All you need to do is to fill the entrance with sand and gravel or wooden boarding if the den is accessed via a hole beneath an outbuilding or shed.
Follow the tips given above to dissuade foxes from setting up home in your garden. If these alien invaders are proving to be an unbearable pain, contact your local pest controller for more information and assistance.