Author Topic: The rise of urban foxes and how to deter them from turning your property into their bog....  (Read 7990 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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The rise of urban foxes and how to deter them from turning your property into their bog....

Snappy title but a smelly, irritating and noisy problem.

I've noticed Swindon's urban fox population growing steadily over the last couple of years. If you're out and about at the right time of day you can see urban foxes all over the borough and I know of several roundabouts which have foxes denning in their centres.

As each new litter of cubs leaves the familial den to seek and mark out its own territory I think it won't be very long before almost every street, road, avenue and close in the borough will start noticing the signs of urban foxes.  We have one of the delightful flea and lice ridden furry bastards using the gravel at the front of Chez Vile as its personal, once a night, shit box.  Doubtless some members of my political fan club will be delighted by this but I don't mind using my experiences and this topic as a means to help others deter foxes from regularly visiting & using their property.  I also expect the number of domestic pets being killed by foxes will rise with their population numbers.

Suggestions welcomed on methods for deterring foxes.  I'd like to try non violent methods first.... and I no longer have shotgun and firearms certificates. (not that I'd seriously consider discharging a firearm in a public place anyway)

Currently examining sonic scarers and chemical deterrents. 

Vinegar didn't work. 

Orange Peel didn't work.

Plastic bottles half filled with water didn't work.



They're not cute, or funny but they are clever. And they're losing their fear of man....



Offline Outoftowner

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Just to remind readers of TS that the French for Fox is; "Rennard."

I doubt that a fox would be able to dance the "Gillie Callum", otherwise known as the Scottish sword dance, over a network of electric fencing without discovering certain aspects of Ohm's Law that it wasn't so keen on?


http://www.countrystoredirect.com/acatalog/Electric_Fencing.html?gclid=CKmZiZ35iMECFfLJtAodKG8AvQ

An expensive but amusing option.
 :coffee:
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Offline Geoff Reid

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I've just ordered a (relatively) inexpensive sonic device.  Solar powered with 3 (included) nimh rechargeable batteries.  Worth a punt.

Meanwhile, at the front of Chez Vile, I've just cleaned up last nights leavings and watered with a fairly strong mix of biological detergent.

Interesting to learn the French name for fox although I'd suggest David Renard is more Sloth like than he is foxy.  Lady readers with a penchant for a certain weakness-of-chin might disagree though :wink:

As OofT has started off a foxy-facts theme, I'll continue it with this one:

Male foxes are sometimes called a 'Tod'.  Tods are singular creatures, hence the term 'On yer Tod', i.e, 'On your own'.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Oh, I forgotto say that I have trifled with the idea of a small, low level electric fence, but discounted the idea because postmen, paperboys, children and Renards Marmosets often walk across the frontages to get from house to house and I'd hate for one of them to trip over and damage my stuff.

I also thing foxes would probably skip over it. An electric mat might be a different matter..... and that might also deter postmen, paperboys, children and Renards Marmosets often walk across the frontages to get from house to house....  I wonder if my insurance indemnifies me against electrocuting 3rd parties?  :angel:

Offline Morsey

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The regular fox, on his rounds, whom has indeed become more than just a bit smelly, and in marking territory and crapping, finds many enemies. We have treated foxes with the CSM, with assistance from the Fox Society, we have fed them by hand in their times of need, with ill health, we have watched them, taken piccies of them and admired the beauty of the current vixen and offspring marching their routes through the gardens, but this young fox is a hooligan.

Problem is ... if you feed them, the first thing they do is piddle all around the perimeter of the food, then they crap on the doormat ... that sort of thing is typical, but we have recently encountered 'gardener fox', who we shall call 'Monty'. Now this character has chewed through mature plants and shrubs, dug grooves through the plants that are left, destroyed the uprights on the garden staging, now full of teethmarks and shredded wood. They have eaten the bottom part of the back fence as they re-design the entrances to the garden. Infected dog fox uses the box bushes he hasn't peed on to destruction as a hairbrush and as somewhere cosy to lounge, he will lie upon any fresh plant put in the garden as opposed to anything past it's sell by date.

Do I want to shoot them ... never, but I also feel that the gardens need some kind of protection or deterrent. Next door's new neighbours are tidying their very large garden, and they have two dogs, so I live in hope that things may change ... but I won't hold my breath!

Offline Weebleman

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Geoff, it might not be what you want to hear but: "Get a Llama!"

An acquaintance of mine has a small holding and when I visited a while ago I mentioned that his Llamas were still only three in number and seemed not to be breeding. His reply was that they weren't bought for breeding but apparently they're a sure fire method of detering foxes and he's not lost not a single hen since the Llamas were introduced.

Now, whether Llama crap is any sweeter smelling than that of foxes is debatable, but at least they're cute :)

Offline Outoftowner

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As ever, Weeble has a host of country ways about him. "Drink up thee Cider," being one of them! :wink:
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Offline Mart

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Get a grizzly bear. I love grizzly bears.

Not without their drawbacks I grant you, but I absolutely feckin guarantee you will no longer be troubled by foxes, or any other form of visitor come to think of it......

When I was a nipper growing up in a rural idyll (no street lights, unmade lane, no gas, no central heating, open fire and a coke fuelled boiler) our front garden was invaded by the local hunt. The image of Mrs White, the butchers wife, carrying out a one woman anti hunt kettling action with a broom will stay with me forever. Learned some new words too.

Ever since I've been bit of a softarse when it comes to wildlife fighting it's corner.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Geoff, it might not be what you want to hear but: "Get a Llama!"

An acquaintance of mine has a small holding and when I visited a while ago I mentioned that his Llamas were still only three in number and seemed not to be breeding. His reply was that they weren't bought for breeding but apparently they're a sure fire method of detering foxes and he's not lost not a single hen since the Llamas were introduced.

Now, whether Llama crap is any sweeter smelling than that of foxes is debatable, but at least they're cute :)

Are they the ones with two heads, a.k.a, the 'Pushmepullyou' ?

Offline Geoff Reid

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When I was a nipper growing up in a rural idyll (no street lights, unmade lane, no gas, no central heating, open fire and a coke fuelled boiler) our front garden was invaded by the local hunt. The image of Mrs White, the butchers wife, carrying out a one woman anti hunt kettling action with a broom will stay with me forever. Learned some new words too.

I may have been present for a similar event. Some members from a local hunt might have arrived in a friends back garden through his old man's prized box hedge.  When the old man remonstrated with the riders one of them made the mistake of tickling his cheeks with a crop.  A matter of seconds later my mate might have seen the crop and raised it, quite literally, with an over and under and probably uttered a single dead-pan question which I would probably never forget, had I heard it in the first place:

"Is that stupid f*cking hat spsg proof?"

Never mess with one mans box hedge or another mans Father. Especially if you're wearing a silly hat.

I never thought to enquire as to whether it would be sensible to rattle 9 spsg pellets down a 3/4 choke barrel or not.  Certainly doing so with a solid slug would have proved interesting.

Offline Outoftowner

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As it seems that my suggestion of a "Wipeout"style electrified obstacle course unfortunately will not work in your circumstances, here are some commercial alternatives:
(I would have paid to have sat in your window and watched the little furry flea-bags dancing.)

It may be more effective if a group of neighbours employed the same deterrent at the same time?

Quote
http://foxrepellentexpert.com/top-10-best-effective-fox-repellents/
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Thanks - I'd already looked at that page then compared the frequencies most sonic animal scarers work at and decided that the UK manufactured one was overly expensive.

Currently thinking about attaching an air solenoid to a PIR which releases a short but powerful squirt of citronella-infused compressed air....

...through an air-horn!  ;D

Offline Des Moffatt

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I grew up on a very small farm in Northern Ireland. I was very young at the time but I will never forget the distress of my Granny when she discovered that foxes had gotten in to the hen house and killed every last hen there. It wasn’t just the fate of the hens, it was the loss to the family diet and the loss of the income from the sale of the eggs.
I was stood on the steps of the Council Offices when Tony Mayor led the Council with newly elected Sue Bates and a beautiful fox trotted through the garden then at the front of the building. They both remarked that it was good to see such a beautiful animal. I said, seen any squirrels lately, or blackbirds. When they said no I said in my usual style, the f88king foxes have ate them all.
I bought quite and expensive electronic repellent and all it did was upset the dogs next door. Some hearing aids also pick up a whistle from them

Offline the gorgon

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Des I doubt very much that they are catching that many birds or squirrels (in towns and cities at least) when the contents of a bin is a far easier prey. You might be better off pointing the finger of blame at cats. UK cats are estimated to kill 275 million animals a year of which 55 million are birds http://www.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/advice/gardening/unwantedvisitors/cats/birddeclines.aspx

In all honesty cats using my garden as a litter tray seems to be more of problem in my garden than fox deposits, perhaps that's what keeps the foxes away  ;D

I guess I can comfortably say this as I'm not worried about the cat owner vote  >:D  :wink:

Offline Spunkymonkey

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You might be better off pointing the finger of blame at cats. UK cats are estimated to kill 275 million animals a year of which 55 million are birds http://www.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/advice/gardening/unwantedvisitors/cats/birddeclines.aspx


Hmmmm. The article that you have quoted doesn't actually support that theory though. If you get past the headline, the article goes on to say:- 

Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season

We also know that of the millions of baby birds hatched each year, most will die before they reach breeding age. This is also quite natural, and each pair needs only to rear two young that survive to breeding age to replace themselves and maintain the population.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population declines in the UK (such as skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats, so cats cannot be causing their declines. Research shows that these declines are usually caused by habitat change or loss, particularly on farmland.



Quote
In all honesty cats using my garden as a litter tray seems to be more of problem in my garden than fox deposits, perhaps that's what keeps the foxes away


In the interests of balanced reporting, birds using my car and driveway as a litter tray is more of a problem to me than cats pooing in my garden.

Offline Muggins

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There is such a lot of tosh written about cats and foxes.

A foxes favourite meal is a WORM.

Our 'Egg' man (his farm was at the bottom of Linslade street - open to the countryside until the 70's) told me he only lost chickens to foxes once, he wasn't daft enough to lose them twice. i.e. he made sure his chickens were safe.

He also said the foxes didn't take/eat them, just set up a chicken coop 'night fright'. This is well known in the bird keeping community - I found out when I kept budgies and cockatiels.   i.e. something frightens the birds and they all wildly panic crashing into one another and netting.

I can't remember having that much 'visible solids' left over the years, and a small price to pay for sharing space with them.

And by very personal study, I can assure people that some cats don't bother with birds at all, those that do only do so for short period of kittenhood. After that they figure that food is much easier to come by in other ways.

After about 2 years old, the only birds that came in through our cat door were very stiff - presumably having died of early shotgun wounds which some idiot human pests thought was a good way to pass their time.

Basically cats are too lazy/sensible to make much effort to kill and foxes don't fly or climb that high to get squirrels/magpies in trees. 

What they both do is keep the rodent population down. Let's hear it for the pest controllers.



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Offline Geoff Reid

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There is such a lot of tosh written about cats and foxes.

And you've just added to it Muggins! :)


A foxes favourite meal is a WORM.

Foxes are opportunist diners. Rabbits (apart from pet rabbits) are scarce in towns so urban foxes have substituted scavenging through bin bags and spilled food under bird tables for rabbit hunting.

Any fox will happily dig up your flower beds and vegetable plots for worms and grubs.  It's also fact that many, if not all, foxes carry pick up and carry parasites (fleas and lice) and easily pass on diseases such as distemper, scabies and mange.


Our 'Egg' man (his farm was at the bottom of Linslade street - open to the countryside until the 70's) told me he only lost chickens to foxes once, he wasn't daft enough to lose them twice. i.e. he made sure his chickens were safe.

He also said the foxes didn't take/eat them, just set up a chicken coop 'night fright'. This is well known in the bird keeping community - I found out when I kept budgies and cockatiels.   i.e. something frightens the birds and they all wildly panic crashing into one another and netting.

Yes, I imagine he learned that foxes very quickly dig under and squeeze through things to get at chickens and probably fully wired/boxed the hens enclosure and made sure they were all in it at night.  Prey-drive in foxes is instinctive and strong. Foxes killing multiple hens (and not eating them) is similar to the prey-drive in some dogs which causes them to chase sheep instinctively - and not eat them either. 


Hunting for rabbits has been substituted for scavenging in bin bags, and foxes will quite happily dig up your garden in search for earthworms and grubs. Although not a direct threat to you or your pets, foxes often carry fleas and can easily pass on diseases such as distemper, mange and scabies.  Similarly, because foxes are predatory and opportunist scavengers, they often pick up gut parasites and infestations such as the Toxacara worm, which is why I think this: (my bold emphasis)

I can't remember having that much 'visible solids' left over the years, and a small price to pay for sharing space with them

...really is sentimentalist guff.  Animal shit is animal shit. Fox shit is no different to cat or dog shit and I have yet to find anyone who is filled with nature loving appreciation by finding cat or dog shit on their property.  Given that there was quite a Toxacara scare a few years back it surprises me that urban foxes, and their wastes, remain largely ignored.  Apart from the unpleasant experience of encountering dogs mess (anywhere) there are sound social and medical reasons (prevention of Toxocariasis in humans) why dog and cat faeces need to be promptly removed and disposed of properly from both public and private areas.

Toxocariasis is generally thought to be rare in human populations but a recent clinical study in America discovered that there are approximately 10,000 clinical cases each year, of which 700 patients lose their sight permanently.  Young children are at the highest risk of Toxacara because they often play outside, on the ground.   

Unwormed dogs are also a source of Toxocara but given that most owners clean up after their dogs, and most cat/dog owners regularly worm their pets, but very few people even think about faeces left by urban foxes, I'm willing to bet that urban foxes are presenting more of a risk than urban pets.   I also base this in my own observation & estimation: I see less domestic dogs being walked in public areas on my 30 minute ride to East Swindon at 4pm than I do urban foxes on the return ride at 5 am.  There probably are more dogs than foxes, but no one de-worms, de-fleas or cleans up after the foxes.... 

In any event, I'd suggest that very few people would like or enjoy the space under the front window being marked regularly by a tom cat, a dog or a fox - regardless of how pretty they think the animal is  :wink:

Ironically, foxes usually ingest Toxocara from earthworms.

Offline Muggins

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Didn't expect you to agree Geoff.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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Er, wait for winter?

http://38.media.tumblr.com/3e507bce38d1f28db1147380ab76aa51/tumblr_mxftqwUnaa1qbyxr0o1_400.gif
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Offline the gorgon

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Just be thankful they haven't learnt how to talk yet  ;D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I139XVV-UaY