Although they do not seek the company of man, the fox has become adept at living and surviving alongside the human population in both a rural and urban setting. With its bushy tail, large ears and narrow, the fox is easily recognised, although its red coat can sometimes be darker or even silver in colour.
The mating season lasts from December to February each year, resulting is four to five cubs being born in the spring. The mother will remain in the burrow – also known as staying in the earth – for the first 2 weeks after giving birth to her cups, with the male fox bringing food back and forth. The young remain with their mother until the autumn, when they are old enough to disperse, find their own territories and mates of their own.
The life expectancy of the fox is short; in rural areas, over 50% of foxes are killed on the road, with their life expectancy being 18 months. Rural foxes fare a little better, with a life expectancy of 3 years.
The problem with foxes
It is the presence of foxes in urban settings that can sometimes cause problems or a nuisance to the population…
- The mating season is marked by the eerie scrams of the vixen, the female fox, as she calls her mate; although an unpleasant sound in the dead of night, it is not something that lasts for a long time!
- Foxes will live where food is plentiful, hence their adaptation to urban life. They will scavenge in bins and compost heaps and the like, and can cause a nuisance by scattering food and debris across gardens etc.
- Foxes are not known to attack, only in very rare circumstances; pet dogs and cats are not at risk, although the trend for keeping domesticated pet rabbits can be at risk, as well as the growing prevalence of hens in the urban garden. The fox will consider these as a food source.
- They can look ‘mangy’; this is where their fur hangs off in clumps due to the fox having a parasite but, this is not too common. Like the pet dog, however, foxes do shed their fur in large clumps, giving them an unfortunate appearance!
How to be rid of foxes
There are some steps and measures you can take to stop some of this nuisance behaviour from foxes and, consulting with a professional expert controller will mean that not only do you get the best control measures, but also the right advice as well as staying on the right side of pest control laws.
We complete an onsite assessment, examining the environment for what could be attracting them. Bins and compost bins, as well as other recycling receptacles can be a major attractive force for foxes and so we can make suggestions for making sure foxes are discouraged or fail to gain access to the contents.
We also assess any access points that the fox is using to be able to access gardens etc. and block these points so that the fox is discouraged from entering.
Can foxes be eradicated completely?
Foxes are valuable to the natural environment; they eat and scavenge for all the food sources that we do not want, including pests such as rats and mice. They rarely cause too much of a problem; with basic measures in place, foxes can be easily discouraged.
There are only two legal ways of dispatching foxes; shooting and trapping, followed by euthanasia.
- Shooting in an urban setting is not recommended for obvious health and safety reasons
- Trapping and euthanizing foxes is expensive, with payment required for both the lethal injection as well as the vet’s time (the only people qualified to administer the injection)
Foxes being a nuisance? Fed up of the noise at night?
There are measures that can be taken and we can help!