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Nuisance foxes

Waverley does not provide a pest control service for foxes. The information below answers common questions. 

How can I keep foxes away from my property?

Make your property less attractive to foxes, including:

  • Keep domestic refuse in closed, secured containers, not in plastic bags.
  • Wait until the morning of the day of collection to put out rubbish in plastic bags.
  • Do not leave food out for other animals. Feed birds only in feeders.
  • Protect small animal enclosures.
  • Tidy up items which foxes might use as toys.
  • You can secure gaps in hedges or fences using mesh (rather than wire) remembering to sink it into the ground to a depth of 12" (30cm) to prevent burrowing underneath.
  • You can buy products designed to deter foxes. Only approved products should be used.

Are foxes dangerous?

Foxes are wild animals and most will want to avoid people but if they are cornered they may attack to defend themselves. Foxes tend to fear and avoid dogs. They may pose a threat to small cats but are unlikely to risk being injured in a fight with an adult cat.

If the possibility of danger to children concerns you there are simple steps you can take:

  • Close windows and doors as daylight fades (this is when foxes are most likely to come out).
  • Make sure there is no food around (uncovered meats or fish, cheese).
  • Use a cat flap that only allows entry to your cat when wearing an electronic collar.

Do foxes carry health risks?

There are some risks but they are small:

  • Fox faeces are a potential source of parasites such as roundworm or tapeworm. Washing hands thoroughly after cleaning up fox faeces is essential.
  • Contact with fox urine carries a risk of picking up Weil's disease (Leptospirosis).
  • Foxes are susceptible to the skin condition sarcoptic mange. The key sign is hair falling out in large quantities. Mange can be passed on to dogs but is easily treated. Humans can also be infected but the condition does not take hold.

Are foxes protected by law?

Foxes do not have special protection, like badgers, but they are included in laws which prevent cruelty to any animal.

Foxes may be caught in baited cage traps or humane snares. Expert help is needed to use devices like this. Foxes can also be shot by people licensed to hold firearms.

Poisoning, gassing or using explosives are all illegal. So are self-locking snares. Shooting with a bow and arrow or with a crossbow is also not allowed.

Using dogs deliberately to chase foxes away is illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, but if dogs chase foxes when their owner did not intend them to do so no offence is committed.

More information

Find out more about Foxes on the RSPCA website.

Page owner: Paul Shrimpton. Last updated: 14/08/2020 08:31

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