Scott Hendrix, the Blairstown Animal Control Officer (ACO) wants you to know:
If you’d rather not host a fox (or a family of) in your garden, there are some simple tricks
you can try.
- KEEP IT TIDY
Clearing up your plot can be helpful for deterring all kinds of pests, and what better
reason to give your yard a good sort-out?
“Trim the hedges, cut the grass and keep everything in order,” says Pol Bishop, a
gardening expert working for Fantastic Gardeners (opens in new tab). Foxes like shaded,
sheltered areas that they can use to hide in, so the less, the better.
“Remove any rubbish from the garden and generally keep it tidy,” Pol adds. If you don’t
have one already, it’s worth investing in some good garden storage ideas for your bins to
stop foxes from getting in. This can help if you’re looking for tips on how to get rid of
Samantha Jones, gardening expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk, says, ‘If you
normally leave bread and seeds for birds, this may also attract foxes as they typically
search for scraps in nearby gardens. ‘You should either stop leaving food altogether or clear up any leftovers once the birds have stopped eating them.’
- INSTALL A FENCE
‘One of the most effective ways to deter foxes from your garden is to install secure
fencing,’ says Samantha Jones of MyJobQuote.co.uk. ‘When installing a fence, you
need to make sure there are no spaces as foxes typically take advantage of small gaps
and may also dig to gain access to entry and exit points.
“To prevent foxes from digging, you should add a layer or two of concrete onto the
ground before installing fencing or walls,” Samantha says. Alternatively, bend the bottom
of the fence into an L-shape before burying it beneath the ground. This is a useful trick if
you’re wondering how to keep rabbits out of your yard, too.
“The majority of foxes can jump up to three feet high, so you may want to consider
installing taller fencing and gates that are higher than three feet,” she adds.
- DETER PESTS WITH PRICKLE STRIPS
Do you know about prickle strips? These flexible, weather-proof-plastic meshes are
covered in small spikes which are uncomfortable underfoot. They’re useful for stopping
foxes, other pests, and pets from digging up areas of your garden, whilst still allowing
plants to grow.
They’re not harmful to the animals but will deter them. And installation is simple – just
place them slightly below ground level, spikes facing upwards, and cover lightly with
“Make sure you wear shoes if you decide to install those in your garden,” adds Pol
Bishop of Fantastic Gardeners.
They’re also useful for getting rid of squirrels – but there are more tips in our guide.
- ADD LIGHTS TO YOUR GARDEN
‘Foxes hate light,’ says Pol Bishop. ‘They will often get spooked and run away if any
sudden lighting appears.’
You could invest in some good garden lighting ideas. But, there is an alternative option
that is more likely to startle foxes – a motion-activated light.
‘I strongly recommend investing in a sensitive motion sensor light and attaching it close
to where the fox often goes,’ Pol says. ‘It’s a very effective way to deter them from your
- INSTALL MOTION-ACTIVATED SPRINKLERS
Another way to startle foxes and keep them away is with water. You can buy motion-
activated systems that are specifically made for deterring pests.
“These sprinklers are easy to install and use,’ says Pol Bishop. ‘Foxes that go by them
will get an unpleasant surprise and hopefully run away.”
However, foxes are clever and after a while, will figure out where the systems are and
avoid them. With this in mind, Samantha Jones recommends moving the system around
every few days to catch visiting foxes unaware.
- TRY AN ULTRASONIC FOX REPELLENT
These motion-activated devices emit a series of ultrasonic sounds (which humans can’t
hear) and sometimes flashing lights, which can startle foxes in your yard and cause
them to run away. You can find solar-powered ones for extra convenience but ones that
are mains powered are generally more effective.
“Each product has unique features and is more or less effective at what they do, so I
recommend thoroughly investigating each product and what they offer,” says Pol
WHAT SMELLS DO FOXES HATE?
‘Foxes have a very strong sense of smell, which is beneficial to them in some ways,’
says Samantha Jones. They tend to leave their scent in areas to mark their territory.
However, you can use their sensitivity to smell to your advantage.
One way to do so is by masking the fox scent with something they hate. The smells of
chilli pepper and garlic are said to help keep foxes away and some people mix them
with water to use as sprays around their yard. It’s best to test any homemade sprays out
on a small area first, whether you’re using it on plants or paving, to ensure it doesn’t
For an easier solution, opt for a commercial fox repellent. Scoot, available on
Amazon(opens in new tab), is a well-known one in the UK that is non-toxic and
biodegradable. It mimics scent-marking odors, leading foxes to believe that a competitor
has taken over the territory. For best results, you’ll want to apply it regularly, always
following the packet instructions.
Following are 3 examples of products that deter foxes and are not harmful to other
animals. They can be found on the web. Your ACO is not endorsing any product, just
showing what is available.