Many of us are familiar with wildlife pilfering our gardens’ bounty, usually any number of birds and deer are the culprits. In some areas of the country, however, the outlaw’s name is — the fox. Let’s learn more about how to prevent foxes in the garden.
While some people count foxes as rather endearing, cute even (that’d be me) fox pest control may be a serious issue in the garden. Foxes are often an introduced, non-native, species that can disturb the delicate balance of an ecosystem. Over time, escapees introduced for the purposes of fox hunting and fur farming roamed free and comfortably settled in coastal and valley ecosystems. Prey for the fox are rodents, rabbits, reptiles, bird eggs, insects, waterfowl and other ground nesting birds, and they make no differentiation between imperiled species.
There are several types of fox found in North America: the swift fox, kit fox, Arctic fox, gray fox and red fox — with the latter usually being the trouble maker. The red fox is the most widely distributed carnivore in the world, adapting easily to a variety of habitats.
Why Prevent Foxes in the Garden
Keeping foxes away from gardens may be important for safety and fiscal reasons. Although the fox is a solitary animal and usually eats small mammals and birds, piglets, kids, lambs and poultry ranging and foraging amongst your garden are just as enticing, especially when this may seem to be a fairly easy meal for these opportunists. Replacing the hen house occupants over time can be costly.
Rabies, although on the decrease, is also a concern and can potentially affect humans, domestic livestock and wildlife. Not forgetting, of course, the effect a fox in the garden will have on the songbirds you awaken to. So, our question stands, “how to deter foxes from gardens?”
Getting Rid of Foxes in the Garden
Getting rid of foxes in your garden can be accomplished by the simplicity of fencing. A net wire fence with openings of 3 inches or less and buried to a depth of 1 or 2 feet with an apron of net wire extending one foot outward from the bottom is a definite fox deterrent. You may take it a step further and include a roof of net wire as well. Additionally, an electric fence, spaced 6, 12, and 18 inches above ground will also repel foxes or a combination of both the net wire and electric fence.
With repetition, foxes adapt to loud noises, however temporarily. Noise making devices can deter the fox activity as will flashing lights (strobe lights). In conjunction at irregular intervals, they are satisfactorily effective in the short term. The barking of the family dog will also be of some assistance in getting rid of foxes.
Lastly, if you can really make no headway in ridding the garden of foxes, call in an expert who can safely trap and remove the animal.
Additional Fox Pest Control
Foxes in the small home garden are really a nuisance and the above solutions will probably solve the issue. There are other more deadly options that are not necessarily recommended for a home gardener. They are normally utilized by commercial producers of livestock and poultry, whose livelihood is directly affected by fox predation.
These methods include shooting, fumigation with gas cartridges, poisoning via sodium cyanide, trapping, and den hunting. Most states allow the taking of foxes to protect private property but check with your state wildlife agency for regulations.