How to Get Rid of Foxes in the Garden Safely and Humanely

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Written by: - Garden Design Expert
How to Get Rid of Foxes in the Garden Safely and Humanely

It was a quiet evening in our peaceful garden when we first noticed the signs: dug-up flower beds, scattered rubbish, and an unmistakable bushy tail disappearing around the corner. We had a fox problem.

Like many homeowners, we wanted to learn how to get rid of foxes in the garden without causing them harm. In our quest for a humane solution, we discovered valuable information and effective methods.

This blog post will guide you through understanding urban foxes, the importance of humane methods, and various ways to safely and effectively deter these troublesome visitors from your garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand urban foxes to coexist safely and humanely.
  • Keep your garden tidy, secure boundaries & remove food sources for effective deterrents.
  • Use humane methods like exclusion devices & capsicum repellents when dealing with dens and fox cubs.

Understanding Urban Foxes

A fox in an urban area, looking for food

Foxes have been thriving in urban areas since the 1930s, attracted by low density housing and large gardens. Today, their populations have grown significantly larger in cities compared to rural areas, mainly due to the abundance of food available.

While these resourceful creatures can coexist with humans, they can also be a nuisance, digging up soft soil and leaving excrement on lawns. Knowing more about urban foxes’ behavior and what attracts them to our gardens is the first step in finding safe and humane solutions.

Fox Behavior

The red fox is about the size of a large domestic cat, with reddish-brown fur, a bushy tail, and a pointed nose. They are opportunistic eaters, consuming a wide variety of food, from mice and rats to small insects, birds, and food scraps. Foxes communicate through various calls, such as their infamous screams, which are used to stay in touch with their families and scare away intruders. They usually have their cubs in early March or April, with a typical family group consisting of three adults and four to five cubs.

Foxes are attracted to gardens for several reasons, including hiding spots, food sources, and soft soil for digging. They are especially active during their mating season, which occurs in late spring and early summer, and may become more aggressive in defending their territory.

While foxes are generally timid animals, it is important to remember that they are still wild creatures, and interactions with them should be kept to a minimum.

Garden Attraction

Gardens provide a perfect environment for urban foxes, offering food sources such as compost heaps, rubbish bins, pet food, and exposed kitchen scraps. By removing these temptations, you can make your garden less appealing to foxes and encourage them to move on. Additionally, ensuring that your garden is tidy and free of hiding spots, such as piles of leaves and overgrown shrubs, can help deter these curious creatures.

Late summer and autumn are the best times to implement fox deterrent measures, as this is when foxes are most likely to be searching for new territories. By taking action during this time, you can help prevent foxes from making your garden their new home.

Remember, a clean and well-maintained garden is your first line of defense against these unwelcome visitors.

Legal Considerations and Humane Methods

A fox in a garden, looking for food

In the UK, foxes are protected by various wildlife laws, and it is essential to abide by them to avoid hefty fines of up to £5,000 and even a jail sentence of up to 6 months.

While it may be tempting to use harsh chemicals or poisons to get rid of foxes, these methods are not only illegal but also inhumane and can cause harm to other animals and the environment.

Instead, it is crucial to focus on safe and humane methods to mitigate the fox problem in your garden.

Fox Laws in the UK

Foxes in the UK are protected by a range of wildlife protection laws that prevent various kinds of harm. By understanding and adhering to the laws surrounding fox control in the UK, you can ensure that your efforts to deter these creatures from your garden are both legal and humane. Remember, it is always better to rely on safe and non-invasive methods that protect both the foxes and the environment.

Importance of Humane Methods

Using humane methods to get rid of foxes is not only ethically responsible, but it can also be more effective in the long run. By employing tactics that do not harm the foxes or other animals in the area, you can create a safer and more harmonious environment for all living creatures. Additionally, many humane methods, such as installing fences or using exclusion devices, can also help protect your garden from other pests.

One example of a humane method is installing an electric fence around your garden, which can deter foxes without causing them harm. Another option is to use prickle strips, which are flexible plastic meshes with small spikes that stop foxes digging up your garden without harming your plants.

By focusing on humane solutions, you can effectively manage your fox problem while upholding the principles of the Animal Welfare Act.

Safe and Effective Deterrents

A motion-activated device, emitting a loud noise when a fox approaches

There are various safe and effective deterrents available to discourage foxes from entering your garden. These methods range from smell-based repellents and motion-activated devices to ultrasonic repellents, all designed to make your garden a less appealing destination for these persistent creatures.

By using a combination of these deterrents, you can create a multi-layered defense against foxes, ensuring that your garden remains a peaceful sanctuary for you and your family.

READ NEXT: The UK’s Best Fox Deterrents & Repellents

Smell-based Repellents

Garden foxes have a very strong sense of smell, and certain odors can be highly effective in repelling them. Homemade repellents made from natural ingredients such as chili pepper and garlic can be an effective solution for deterring foxes. Simply mix these ingredients with boiling water and spray the solution around your garden to keep foxes at bay.

Motion-activated Devices

Motion-activated devices, such as lights and sprinklers, can be highly effective in scaring off foxes. As foxes are generally cautious animals, they can be easily deterred by sudden movements or bright lights. Installing motion-activated lights around your garden can create a sense of insecurity for foxes, encouraging them to avoid the area altogether.

Similarly, motion-activated sprinklers can startle foxes with a sudden spray of water, making them think twice about entering your garden. While these devices can be effective in deterring foxes, it is important to keep in mind that they may eventually learn to avoid certain areas where the devices are installed.

Therefore, it is essential to regularly monitor fox activity and adjust your deterrents accordingly.

Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents emit high-frequency sound waves that are uncomfortable for foxes and other pests, discouraging them from entering your garden. These devices, such as the Pestbye® Waterproof Ultrasonic Repeller and FOXWatch, can be an effective and humane way to deter foxes from your property.

While ultrasonic repellents can be quite effective, it is important to remember that they may not work on all foxes, as some individuals may be more resistant to the sound waves than others. To maximize the effectiveness of ultrasonic repellents, consider combining them with other deterrent methods, such as smell-based repellents or motion-activated devices.

Garden Maintenance Tips

A garden with a secure boundary, preventing foxes from entering

Maintaining a tidy and well-organized garden is essential in deterring foxes and other pests. By keeping your garden clean and free of potential hiding spots or food sources, you can create a less attractive environment for foxes, making it less likely that they will choose to settle in your garden.

In this section, we will explore various garden maintenance tips, including tidying the garden, securing boundaries, and removing food sources, to help you create a fox-free haven.

Tidying the Garden

A clean and tidy garden is less appealing to foxes, as it offers fewer hiding spots and food sources. To maintain a neat garden, make sure to regularly mow the lawn, pick up fallen fruit, and prune back overgrown shrubs and bushes as this can attract foxes. In addition, removing any piles of leaves, wood, or debris can eliminate potential hiding spots for foxes.

Another tip is to leave a light on outside during the night, as foxes prefer dark areas. By creating a well-lit and organized garden, you can discourage foxes from settling in your outdoor space and reduce the likelihood of damage to your plants and property.

Securing Boundaries

Securing the boundaries of your garden can be an effective way to keep foxes out and protect your plants and property from damage. Constructing fences, walls, and other barriers can help deter foxes, while also providing a clear boundary between your garden and neighboring properties.

When installing a fence, make sure it is at least 6 feet tall and buried 6 inches deep, and use materials such as metal or plastic that foxes cannot dig through. In addition, regularly inspect your garden boundaries for any gaps or access points that foxes may use to enter your garden, and repair or reinforce these areas as needed.

Removing Food Sources

Eliminating potential food sources for foxes is crucial in deterring them from your garden. This includes removing bird feeders, ensuring that pet food is stored indoors, and securely covering compost heaps.

Dealing with Fox Dens and Cubs

A fox in an urban area, avoiding loud noises

If you discover a fox den in your garden, it is important to know how to deal with it safely and humanely. Fox dens can be home to a family of foxes, including vulnerable cubs, so it is essential to approach the situation with care and consideration.

In this section, we will discuss how to locate and monitor fox dens, as well as how to perform humane den removal.

Locating and Monitoring Dens

Fox den

To locate a fox den, focus your search near water sources, as foxes usually build their dens close to water. Look for freshly dug dens with small canine footprints nearby. Once you have found a den, monitor fox activity and movements to better understand their behavior and determine the best course of action for dealing with the den.

It is important to remember not to block or destroy a fox den, as this can cause harm to the foxes and may even be illegal. Instead, focus on implementing humane methods to encourage the foxes to leave your garden and find a new home elsewhere.

Humane Den Removal

Humane den removal involves using various methods to encourage foxes to leave their den and relocate to a safer location. This can include using exclusion devices, such as one-way doors or mesh covers, to block the entrance to the den and make it difficult for the foxes to return.

Repellents can also be used to make the area around the den entrance uncomfortable for the fox parents, encouraging them to move their litter to a new location. By using these humane methods, you can effectively remove fox dens from your garden without causing harm to the animals or disrupting the local ecosystem.


In conclusion, dealing with foxes in the garden can be tricky, but by understanding their behaviour, adhering to legal considerations, and implementing safe and humane deterrents, you can effectively keep these interesting yet troublesome creatures at bay. Remember, maintaining a tidy garden, securing boundaries, and removing food sources are critical steps in creating a less appealing environment for foxes. By combining these efforts with humane den removal and deterrent techniques, you can enjoy a peaceful, fox-free garden while respecting the well-being of these fascinating creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What smells do foxes hate?

Foxes dislike strong odors like that of chilli peppers and garlic. To use these scents as deterrents, boil them in water and spray the solution around your garden. This should help keep foxes away and protect your property.

What do foxes hate the most?

Foxes seem to really dislike natural ingredients such as chili peppers, garlic, capsaicin, and a chemical compound called alliinase. Placing these around your garden will naturally keep foxes away from your home.

Additionally, loud noises, flashing lights, and water also act as effective deterrents.

What can I do if I have foxes in my garden?

If you have foxes in your garden, try to make it less attractive to them by removing potential food sources and making sure your waste is securely contained.

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