How to get rid of foxes in your garden – [UK Expert Guide]

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How to get rid of foxes in your garden -

It doesn’t matter if you live in the town or the country if you have a garden, you probably want to know how to get rid of foxes. Maybe you want them out of your space completely, maybe you just want to limit where they go. Either way, we can give you the help you need.

As gardeners, pet owners and parents, we’ve had to take a lot of interest in how to deter foxes. Over the years, we’ve tried all kinds of solutions from natural fox repellents to “sonic scarers”. We’ve also discussed our experiences with other people.

In short, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about how to get rid of foxes in the garden. So, keep reading and we’ll answer the common questions on the topic and suggest some useful products.

This guide includes

  • How to clean up fox poo
  • Why foxes come into your garden
  • How to keep foxes out of the garden
  • How to deter foxes
  • What smells deter foxes
  • What you need to know about using natural fox repellent
  • How to get rid of foxes in your garden
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How to clean up fox poo

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you have foxes coming into your garden and let’s be blunt, doing the toilet there. So before we get into the main part of this article, let’s talk about what you do to deal with what foxes do.

Invest in an arm’s length pooper scooper. For the size and price, you can just store it away unless you need it, but you’ll be happy to have it if you do. As you have probably noticed, fox poo stinks.

Similarly, get a box of extra-strong scented poop bags. Put the poop into this before you put it into your bin.

Use pet-friendly disinfectant to clean the area. Even if you don’t have pets, if you’re going to use disinfectant outdoors, it’s sensible to use a pet-friendly option so as not to harm wildlife (or children). It’s recommended to put down disinfectant after you clean up fox poo partly because they can carry diseases but mostly to neutralize the smell.

For completeness, if you’re seething about damage to your lawn, then the good news is that a dog urine neutralizer will generally sort it.

Although cleaning up fox poo is a really unpleasant job, it’s important to deal with it as quickly as you can. The longer it stays there, the more likely it is that germs will spread. Also, the longer it stays in place, the more the smell will take hold and the more the fox will see your garden as his or her territory.

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Why foxes come into your garden

There are two main reasons why foxes come into your garden. These are food and shelter. Out of these two reasons, food is generally the big one. So if you want to keep foxes out of your garden do not feed them!

This may sound like stating the obvious, but what you need to remember is that foxes can and will eat just about anything including food in your bins, food in your bird feeders and even grubs and earthworms from your garden.

Similarly, avoid creating places which look like attractive shelters. Foxes love dark, enclosed spaces.

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How to keep foxes out of the garden

If you want to use a physical barrier to keep foxes out of your garden you have two basic options. The first is a solid barrier which is high enough to stop a fox jumping and sunk deep enough into the ground to stop them from digging their way under it. The second is an electric fence.

A solid barrier can be a fence or a wall, just as long as there are no gaps wide enough for a fox to wriggle through. If you have a post-and-rail fence, you can add heavy-duty wire mesh to it, but you’ll have to make sure to bury it deep. You could also add spikes to the top.

Both options need to be supplemented with robust gates which are kept closed when out of use. Gates can’t be set into the ground so they need to be on a hard surface, like concrete, to stop foxes from digging underneath them. Obviously, they need to be kept closed except when in use. For this reason, it’s best to use self-closing hinges.

Of course, for many people, neither of these options is likely to be practical. The good news is that there are plenty of other options for persuading foxes to stay away from your garden.

Please remember, however, that these are most effective when you do your best to make your garden unappealing to foxes. If you keep providing food and/or shelter (even accidentally) then foxes are more likely to brave any deterrent you use.

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How to deter foxes

Foxes like the dark and quiet and prefer everything to be familiar and consistent. This means that they dislike anything which goes against that.

Motion-sensitive lights are a great investment as they provide security and convenience for humans as well as deterring foxes. Our favourite choice is solar-powered LEDs. They’re easy to install, don’t need batteries and only light up when you actually need them so there’s minimal light pollution.

You can also try putting down gravel everywhere you reasonably can. This is uncomfortable on paws and also makes a noise. In fact, it’s noisiness can actually be an extra security benefit since it also makes it more difficult for intruders to approach your house undetected.

If you want to step it up a level then you could look at a sonic fox repeller or a spray fox repeller. The key point to remember, however, is that these also affect other animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Depending on your situation, this may be an additional selling point or a deal-breaker.

You might also want to try seeing if there’s anything you can do to change the layout of your garden, even temporarily. Basically, you’re aiming to disorientate and confuse the fox so they come to see your garden as unsafe and move on somewhere pleasanter.

Obviously, the nature of gardens means that there are probably going to be some limits here, but there may be ways to get around them. For example, you could get some doormats (rough ones) and put them down in different places so foxes can’t work out a regular “safe” route (i.e. one which won’t hurt their paws).

Alternatively, you could try putting motion-sensitive lights in different places so the fox can’t predict when they will be triggered. Solar-powered lights are great for this because they don’t need to be wired.

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What smells deter foxes

Foxes have an excellent sense of smell and hate anything pungent. One effective home-made option is to boil up chilli pepper and garlic together with just enough water to cover them both. Then pop everything in a blender and spray it anywhere you want to deter foxes.

You can also buy lion dung fertilizer which is pretty expensive to use just for its scent but if you need fertilizer as well, then it becomes more economical to use.

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What you need to know about using natural fox repellent

In our experience, when people talk about “natural fox repellent”, they mean scent-based fox repellent. It sounds like such a nice, gentle, humane way to deter foxes and it is – for as long as it keeps working. 

The problem is that scents fade over time. This means that natural fox repellents can be handy as a supplement to other deterrents but they’re very unlikely to work on their own.

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How to get rid of foxes in your garden

If you’ve followed the guidance above and are still having problems with foxes, then you’re almost certainly doing something to encourage them, even though you don’t realize it. Here are the key points to check.

In urban areas, bins are probably the number one draw for foxes. Wash out food containers before putting them away for recycling. Put food waste in a bin with a tight-fitting lid. 

Keep your bins clean and consider using extra bin bags and bicarbonate of soda to neutralize any smells. Stay away from both essential oils and chemical products as both of these can be harmful to pets and wildlife, especially if they enter the food chain.

Make sure you use a high-quality bin and replace it (or have your council replace it) immediately if it shows any signs of damage.

If you buy your own bins, then we’d suggest either the Kerbside Compost Caddy or the Bosmere N467 80 Litre Clip Lid Dustbin.

We know this may seem like an odd suggestion but lockable composting caddies are the only solution we’ve found for smaller households who need a bin which can lock. The Bosmere bin is great and the lid is really secure, but it’s 80L which is probably way too much for smaller households.

If your council gives you wheelie bins then we suggest you invest in a wheelie bin top strap, this will help deter foxes. It’ll also stop the wind from blowing your bin open and sending your recycling everywhere.

If you’re into composting, we’d suggest the Draper 07212 180L Compost Tumbler, the lid doesn’t lock, but it’s so tight (in a good way) that we’re happy and it’s a great composter.

If you enjoy feeding birds, use a squirrel-proof feeder, it should also deter foxes. If you feed other animals e.g. hedgehogs then you need to look for containers they can access but foxes can’t.

Our favourite squirrel-proof bird-feeder is the Squirrel Buster range. Ideally, you’d hang these above a hard surface and go out every evening to sweep up any leftovers. For bonus points, put a motion-activated light in the vicinity. Most garden birds are active in the daytime and won’t be disturbed by it, but foxes won’t like it.

FOXING CLEVER

If you have a garden with lots of bare earth, e.g. herb gardens, vegetable patches and flower beds, then foxes will see it as an invitation to dig for earthworms and grubs. Try putting down mulch. You can get garden bark from a lot of retailers, not just garden centres. It not only deters foxes, but it also smothers weeds and protects plant roots from excess sun and frost.

On a similar note, be careful what fertilizer you use. If it’s based on an animal product, e.g. blood, foxes will get the smell and try to dig for the carcass. You might want to consider lion dung fertilizer as being a combined fertilizer and fox deterrent.

Foxes also come into gardens for shelter, so make sure that you avoid creating dark, enclosed spaces which are exactly what foxes love, especially when they’re raising cubs. For example, keep wooden outbuildings in good repair and trim hedges and bushes.

If you find what might be a fox den in your garden, try blocking it with newspaper and see what happens. If it stays in place for a week, then you’re probably fine to block it permanently. If it is moved then it is in use and you will have to wait until the cubs are grown before you block it. If in doubt, leave it alone as blocking an active den is not just cruel, it’s illegal.

In short

Foxes can do a lot of damage to gardens. They can be dangerous to pets, especially small ones, and can carry illnesses which place humans at risk.

Be careful to avoid doing anything which could encourage foxes to see your garden as a place to find food and/or shelter, particularly food. This will motivate them to take their chances with deterrents which would otherwise have worked.

In some areas, basic precautions such as strong bins and motion-sensitive lights may be all it takes to keep foxes out of your garden. If, however, this doesn’t work, there are plenty of effective fox deterrents you can use.

Katie Mills

Katie is the Editor here at Poshh Living and is a well-respected voice in the world of design and home improvement. Katie has a first-class Hons degree in Journalism and is proud to say that she has written many leading entries in the biggest media outlets including Ideal Home, and Good House Keeping. Lover of the great outdoors and mother of two, Katie is 'down to earth', knowledgable and a great asset to the team

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