Oh No - Foxes are back - how to deter?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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usignuolousignuolo Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
I live in London and we are plagued around here with bold feral foxes. Three years ago I looked out of the window and saw six cubs playing on my lawn....turned out my elderly neighbours had a den on a piece of uncultivated land at the end of their garden. My son even came home one night and found a pair fighting on our front door step. The big problem was that the foxes in the garden next door kept invading ours and digging up the lawn. They even tried to burrow under the party wall to extend their den.

Then two years ago we found a dead one at the end of our garden and we wondered if someone was poisoning them (not me). Last year was fox free and so I have recently planted out a lot of pots on my patio just outside my back door. No sooner said than done and I found the pots upturned or else the soil nosed out and the plants uprooted. I assumed the foxes were back. And last night I looked out of the window and dusk and saw one digging on my lawn.

The problem is in London not only do they dig up the garden and uproot the plants they are very bold. I banged on the window last night and it just stood and looked at me so I went out onto the lawn and shouted at it and it still just stood there looking at me. Eventually I threw some stones at it and it sauntered away and over the wall into my (other) neighbour's garden. I really do not want them coming into my house if I leave the back door open onto the patio in the summer digging nor g up my lawn and plants.

Anyone got any tried and tested suggestions on how to deter them from hanging out in my garden in the first place?
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  • I also have foxes constantly coming into my back garden at any time of the day or night. However, unlike the ones you mention the ones up here, in my area of Glasgow are not in the least bit bold and will run a mile if you knock the window or open a door. During the warmer weather recently they would enjoy 'sunbathing' on the grass on for hours!

    I had thought of putting up 6ft fences surrounding the garden but was reliably informed this would not keep them out. Have looked on the internet and there's quite a few gadgets mentioned to deter them, but I haven't tried any of them yet.
  • andrewf75andrewf75 Forumite
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    Slightly pedantic maybe but feral is the wrong word to use. They are native wild animals and while obviously they can be a nuisance especially in London, they shouldn't be dismissed as feral animals - which are domesticated animals living wild eg stray cats and dogs.
  • usignuolousignuolo Forumite
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    OK then they are wild animals which in London at any rate, are becoming increasingly less wild with proximity to humans. The London variety most certainly do not run away spontaneously when confronted with humans and even clapping and shouting at them from close at hand, does not deter or frighten them. They have to be actively chased off.....l
  • If that's their behaviour then I agree it sounds very worrying. I would definitely be concerned to leave a back door open in case they wandered in but, as mentioned, the ones in my area appear to be very timid so not frightening.

    Another unwanted aspect about these darn foxes is that they continually leave their "calling card" everywhere and I've just noticed more of their faeces on the driveway. I also want rid of them, but obviously without harming them in any way..........perhaps the local Environmental Department of your local council could suggest something.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    andrewf75 wrote: »
    Slightly pedantic maybe but feral is the wrong word to use. They are native wild animals and while obviously they can be a nuisance especially in London, they shouldn't be dismissed as feral animals - which are domesticated animals living wild eg stray cats and dogs.

    Oh I don't know; 'feral' simply means wild or untamed. I'd have thought that by defintion almost all foxes were 'feral'. I suppose you could keep one as a pet if you wanted, but I think getting a dog would be a lot easier.:)
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    I also want rid of them, but obviously without harming them in any way..........

    Depends what you mean by harm, but a painful whack on the b*m with a missile from a catapult might help. You could make the shot from wet paper and then escalate if necessary! A super soaker might help too..
  • I understand how frustrating this can be as we were plagued in our last house by them. The garden was rather large and I woke up one morning looked out of the window only to find four foxes mating at the bottom of the garden. I had read that male urine can act as a deterrent so I had my husband pee at the bottom of the garden and I must say it did work.
  • edited 28 April 2014 at 3:36PM
    andrewf75andrewf75 Forumite
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    edited 28 April 2014 at 3:36PM
    antrobus wrote: »
    Oh I don't know; 'feral' simply means wild or untamed. I'd have thought that by defintion almost all foxes were 'feral'. I suppose you could keep one as a pet if you wanted, but I think getting a dog would be a lot easier.:)

    Thats not the proper definition of "feral". I guess its one of those words that has been used to mean different things, but in this context its quite an important distinction, which is why I mentioned it. A feral animal has no real biodiversity value because it shouldn't be there - its a domestic animal living wild like city pigeons and stray cats. A wild animal, like a fox, does have value. The term "urban" is more appropriate for the foxes that have moved into cities.
  • edited 28 April 2014 at 7:20PM
    cattiecattie Forumite
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    edited 28 April 2014 at 7:20PM
    One of the reasons I sold my previous property to downsize sooner than I originally intended was the urban fox population in my garden. One day I had looked out & counted 9 in total! That was both adults & youngsters.

    The final straw for me was one day when I heard a loud noise from outside & went out to see 2 foxes with bared teeth chasing my cat. They didn't even run away when I shouted at them & I ended up grabbing a broom & threatening them with it while hollering as loud as I could. I understand that probably they had felt my cat a threat to their youngsters, but this was in his own garden & I was not at all happy at the situation.

    I phoned the Fox Trust who gave me advice to try to minimise the attractiveness of my garden for them, but as I had a large raised decked terrace, as did my neighbours, this was a huge attraction for them, as was the large sheds that many neighbours had. They had somewhere to sleep at night & somewhere to laze out in the sun on warm days. I often saw 2 or 3 foxes sunbathing on my decking & of course each day I had to get rid of their 'leavings', often left very close to the door to the garden as if they were sending a message to me. It definitely wasn't a thank you message!

    Why not consider phoning the Fox Trust yourself? I think that some of the advice they gave me was to try to seal all gaps where they could possibly squeeze through & make themselves a den with chicken wire, that sort of thing. But the only thing that got foxes out of my life was moving into a flat! I do still see the odd fox roaming about at night here, but thankfully no more big gangs or packs of them.
    The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

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  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    usignuolo wrote: »

    Anyone got any tried and tested suggestions on how to deter them from hanging out in my garden in the first place?

    A few alpacas will send them packing, if you'll pardon the play on words.;) I'd imagine some large and grumpy breeds of dog would perform similarly.

    Failing that, you can rely on male members of the family peeing in the shrubbery, but personally speaking, I wouldn't.

    This leaves you with prevention rather than deterrence.

    I live in the country with foxes and badgers all around. Contrary to what another poster said, we have kept the foxes out of our chicken enclosure with a 6' fence. However, the design of the top, and indeed all aspects of the fence, is important.

    Our run is larger than the average garden and it cost over £1000 to erect the fence, but that's still way cheaper than moving house! :)
    People who don't stand for something will fall for anything.
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