Foxes and are a species of animal that humans have tried really hard to control the populations of, to no avail. However, there are ways in which you can stop foxes, as well as other nuisance wildlife, causing problems for your home or business.
Red foxes — a common pest in Europe, North America, and countless other places around the planet, are infamous for their bright red colors and bushy tails, but they can also come in various shades of grays, browns, and even blacks.
Foxes stand, on average, approximately 20 inches (1.5 feet) high on all fours. Weights can vary dramatically, dependent on many factors, with larger specimens tipping the scales at 30 pounds. The largest fox caught and killed is thought to have been in Scotland, UK, weighing a whopping 38 pounds.
Generally, adult males are between 5 and 15 pounds. Females are lighter and smaller, around 10-20% as much.
Foxes, particularly red foxes, rarely live for longer than 4 or 5 years old. With perfect conditions, however, they can live for 10 or 15 years and more.
Red foxes will mate just once per year, during the spring — February or March, depending on the weather. Females are then pregnant for around 8 weeks, giving birth to a litter that can consist of as many as 13 kits. It appears to be the case that foxes will have larger litters when face with adversity, so culling their numbers can actually prove to be counterproductive. Female kits can also reach sexual maturity and then successfully reproduce before their first birthday.
Foxes are incredibly adaptable and versatile animals, with the ability to survive, and thrive, in a wide, diverse array of habitats. The red fox can be found in almost all of North America, all of Europe, the Arctic Circle, and most of Asia. There are few places in which there are not red foxes present; Greenland and Iceland are two countries that can call themselves red fox-free, and New Zealand has actually banned the animal from importation, classing the animal as a "prohibited new organism".
The problem with trying to understand fox habitats is that they can live both in a set territory and in no set territory at all, simply moving from place to place, nomadically.
Foxes will eat roadkill, cat and dog food, leftovers thrown out in garbage bags, rats and mice, frogs, insects, snakes, fish, and even deer, if the opportunity presents itself. They are opportunistic feeders, and scavengers, which means they'll eat the bits that other animals, including humans, don't want.
Foxes live in social groups, often with a familial hierarchy. Young foxes will often stay with their parents long after they have been weaned and are capable of full independence, especially if they have a food-rich and safe territory already. They will actually put off mating themselves until they have found a territory worth leaving their parents' one for.
What this means for you is this: the fox family will not leave your property if it can get what it wants from it, without a battle and some dedication on your part.
Foxes are also skittish, but also likely to start trusting humans. They will grow comfortable with a property that they are regularly obtaining food from, and it's not uncommon for foxes to become almost like pets to households that are feeding them. Unfortunately, this situation is rife with problems, including physical damage to the property, alongside the risk of attack and disease.
By far the best way to stop nuisance animals such as foxes from causing problems on your property is to ensure that you're not feeding them. Do not leave pet food outside for your cat or dog, and ensure that pets and other animals are properly secured when they are left outside, especially chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.
Trash cans should be properly secured. Garbage bags are easily ripped open, and plastic trash cans are easily chewed through, broken, or torn apart. We recommend using a metal trash can, with a lid, and using bungee cords, chains, or thick rope to tie the lid in place. The ties or cords can easily be chewed through, but should last the night and are cheap enough to replace as necessary.
Having a good cleanup of your property is also a very good idea to keep nuisance wildlife out, particularly foxes. They need protection as they move around, especially during the day, and long grasses, unkempt shrubs, and lots of mess or debris give them everything they need to move around virtually unnoticed. By clearing the space and removing all mess, you're taking away hiding places, potential den entry points, and the ground cover they use to sneak around.
Trapping foxes can be quite a tricky business, and quite a risky one, too. They are animals known for being aggressive when cornered or threatened, and a bite from either of them could result in nasty wounds, with an added risk of infection.
Professionals often use am assortment of tools for trapping or otherwise removing foxes from properties, including live cage traps, paw hold traps, and even physical capture. At the same time, they'll modify the property to ensure the creature(s) can't come back, offering recommendations (or doing the work) for fence installation, food removal or protection, and other tweaks.
1 - Red foxes can run at a top speed of 30 mph.
2 - It is quite common for red foxes to share their burrows with other animal species, such as badgers or groundhogs, but the relationships are often slightly strained. Foxes are very messy, but the badgers like to keep things nice and clean.
3 - Red foxes will sleep a huge chunk of the day away. Experts say that most will sleep, on average, for more than 10 hours per day.