Have you seen foxes running around your backyard? They are probably just passing through, but they may also have a den on your property. This is a situation that requires wildlife control services to cope with, but it is not a cause for alarm. Generally speaking, foxes are not dangerous to humans. Given the choice, foxes would prefer to run away from humans than fight. It is rare for foxes to carry rabies and rarer still for them to transmit it to humans.
Why Are Foxes in Urban Areas?
When human habitations encroach onto wildlife habitat, the animals that already live there have two choices: Migrate away from the area or adapt to live alongside humans. Foxes are among the species that often choose to adapt and live among human habitations, a practice that can serve them well in some respects but may bring them closer to people than either species feel entirely comfortable with.
What Are Foxes Doing in Your Yard?
The most likely scenario is that foxes in your yard are looking for food. As small canids, foxes are omnivorous and thus able to eat many different types of food. For example, they may eat fruits out of your garden, though they are likely to leave the vegetables alone. If you have rodent garden pests, foxes may hunt and feed on them. Foxes may eat out of the garbage if they get the chance. More often, foxes take advantage when another animal knocks over the can, though the foxes may be unfairly blamed.
Foxes are usually nocturnal, but you shouldn’t necessarily be alarmed if you see one during the day. Some of the animals that foxes feed on are diurnal, such as chipmunks, birds, and squirrels. If the foxes are not catching sufficient food at night, they may also hunt during the day.
Foxes may also look for a den site in your yard, especially if there is plenty of food nearby. They have been known to make dens in spaces under decks, sheds, and porches. Foxes primarily use dens for raising young, and once the young are grown, they don’t keep coming back to the same den year to year. Unfortunately, an abandoned fox den may be repurposed later by some other kind of wildlife.
What Should You Do if You See Foxes on Your Property?
The most important thing to do if you see a fox is to keep a safe distance. Foxes are generally scared of humans, and if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. A fox may approach you if it has been fed by a human in the past because it has come to associate humans with food. However, if you make a lot of noise by shouting or clapping your hands, or directing a stream of water at it from a hose or a water pistol, you can scare the fox away. Foxes can become aggressive when they lose their caution around humans, so don’t compound the problem by feeding them.
Foxes may feel threatened by a large dog, while the smallest dog breeds may look like prey to them. To prevent an encounter between the two species, dogs should be kept on a leash while on a walk and supervised outside whenever possible. Small pets such as rabbits should be kept inside when possible or kept in a secure enclosure. Foxes generally leave cats alone, but it is a good idea to keep them indoors anyway so that the cats don’t hunt wild animals.
Call Skedaddle about foxes denning on your property. Humane removal is only the first step: We then decontaminate where they have been and perform exclusion so that neither a fox nor any other animal can use the den again.