CAN YOU OUTWIT THE CLEVER FOX
Foxes don’t always make the best of neighbours but before you write them of as the neighbours from hell take a few minutes to understand them and may be find some ways to humanely and permanently discouraging them from visiting your space.
What use are they
Foxes eat rats and pick up scavenged food. That is usually dead animals from road kills, natural deaths and disabled orphans who have fallen from their nest or ones unable to survive in the wild. Have you ever wondered why you see very few dead animals in the wild. It because natures very efficient bin men the foxes clear everything up for us.
Foxes are protected under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996. Foxes have never been listed or classified as vermin by defra and as such your local authority are under no obligation to control them.
Shooting and Poisoning
Shooting and poisoning a fox can be inhumane at worse, very costly at best but most importantly absolutely pointless. Foxes are territorial and if you remove one from a territory another WILL take its place.
Territories range from 400km sq. in remote parts of Scotland to as little as 50 terraced gardens in London. If food supplies are abundant in towns foxes will share the wider territory with other foxes. Food supply defines their territory.
Fox number have not increased in the last 30 years but their habits and most importantly our habits have changed. In fact recent surveys show there are 20 % fewer foxes in the UK than there were 20 years ago.
You may be interested to know fox number and badger numbers are similar and you may also be interested to know foxes were hunted to extinction in the 18th century. They were then imported from France and Germany to re populate the UK by the hunts, hence the nickname Reynard, used by the hunts, which is the french word for fox. Until the 1930’s there were no foxes on the Isle of Wight, they were imported from the mainland UK for fox hunting and then bred. Inbreeding is a contributor to a weak immune system.
The habits of our intelligent fox have changed but not their numbers.
Foxes are canids and highly intelligent and adaptation has been the key to their survival. They have now trained us to feed them and have learnt to find easy pickings from their would be friends the humans.
In the late 70’s it became common place to feed cats outside and feed garden birds. In the last twenty years garden bird food has become a multi million pound business.
FOXES NEED FOOD
When we feed garden birds we cannot be selective and we must remember we will be feeding far more than just our feathered friends.
In nature most creatures including foxes have three needs
3. SAFE HOME
Everything in between is not essential and therefore wildlife locates in areas where all three needs are met.
Feeding garden birds in your garden has several knock on effects.
If you are feeding and attracting garden birds you are also attracting their predators. In most cases that will be birds such as sparrow hawks, magpies and crows. All of these birds will pick smaller birds off your bird table or wait in the trees and bushes to ambush them as they leave. You are in effect supplying a restaurant surrounded by very shrewd muggers.
If you have as supply of food and water I can almost guarantee you will be increasing the rat population. Most wildlife population have troughs and booms reflecting the available food supply and rats are wonderful exploiters of the human companion for attractive garden birds, they are also fast breeders. A pair of rats can become 2,000 rats in six months. We know rat populations increase where people feed birds .
You will have squirrels if you feed birds. Don't waste your money on a squirrel proof nut feeder because they pretty much don't exist. The clever squirrel is one of the few mammals who studies his brother or sister and tries out a new strategy each time when he’s cracking a new squirrel proof feeder.
You will have pigeons if you feed garden birds as they are attracted by the food and will happily wander under a nut feeder or bird feeding station and pick up scarp.
By feeding the bird you can increase their birth rate and so the amount of fledglings that will fall from the nest and become natural scavenged .
And of course last but not least the fox who will be attracted by all this activity will pick up any left over nuts and food on his nightly rounds, scavenged falling fledglings and any low sleeping birds.
If you have a problem with foxes you are probably doing something to encourage them.
Do not feed anything in your garden.
Keep your pets and chickens secure.
Foxes will kill an entire flock if they manage to get into a confined yet insecure run. The run will be just like a supermarket for our hungry fox. The clever fox will kill all the trapped birds then come and collect them over the next few days to bury and store them. It’s how the clever foxes survive the winter. Foxes only come with paws and teeth , they don’t have drills or saws so surely you can out wit him and make your pet homes safe.
Pick up fallen fruit from your trees and bushes as foxes eat this too and during late summer they eat lots of fruits and it forms a major part of their diet.
Do not provide foxy homes like dry spaces under your shed or decking and make sure out buildings are secure. The intelligent fox needs a home for this family and somewhere to rest. Don’t make it your home.
Do not Feed Foxes
Foxes have an important role in nature but by feeding them you are interfering with that role. If you feed them they will become dependant on you and numbers will increase. The food they eat naturally ensures their health and it is this we should be encouraging. Foxes do not over eat , any excess food will be stored by the fox. The fox may be removing food from your garden but he is only moving it next door into lovely dug beds. He is unable to write a note to say leave this alone so he will scent mark his stored and buried food with poo so that other foxes know not to steel it. If you have an increase in digging and scenting your are probably supplying the fox with food somewhere.
Foxes are very vocal at certain times of the year. Other than catching food they rarely use their teeth. The noise is a warning to others that this is their home.
Foxes come into season once a year for between 3 and 6 days. They need to attract a mate in this time and so can be extremely loud. Unfortunately for us foxes are still mainly nocturnal so the noise is exaggerate at night and can disturb us.
Cats and Foxes
We have no evidence of foxes attacking cats. Cats attack other cats and cat kill cats. The diet of a fox is mainly worms, grubs and beetles and road kill. Foxes will carry off a cat killed on the road. In all video evidence we have the cats always chase away the foxes.
Fox Earths and digging in your garden
Vixens usually prepare several earths prior to giving birth. If she is disturbed from one she will move her cubs to another. If you are experiencing digging but have no fox in the earth yours may be one dug for an emergency. Get Off My Garden (see below) or Scoot (see below) around the entrance to the earth will encourage the fox to move. If you wish to fill in an earth and to check there is no fox inside an earth put hay over the entrance for three days to see if it is removed.
Foxes only breed once a year but that time varies in different areas. The season can range from January to May. During this time a female can spend several days underground so please ensure your fox has moved on before filling any fox holes.
As foxes forage for food they dig shallow holes or furrows. They are looking for worms, grubs and beetles. Their favourite being the crane-fly larvae. Get Off My Garden (see below) granules can be used by squirting liberally into each furrow and re covered.
Damage to your garden is caused in several ways.
During cub season the plants can be trampled by cubs tumbling and playing just like puppies. They will sometimes pull and drag the plants out of pots and have such fun. Unfortunately when they return the following night at their play time they will do the same and will not be respectful that you have spent the day clearing away the mess. They are just like puppies with a favourite toy and game. Foxes live for fourteen years in captivity but rarely make their second birthday in the wild. As you can see this make for a playful fox. The cubs will not go far from home and this can happened for up to three months before the cubs disperse usually in August and September at this time they are noisy as they look for new homes around 75% of all the cubs will be killed at this time on roads or infection from a wound.
Newly dug soil is very attractive to foxes as it is “good digging” soil. Foxes are very playful and like some dogs just love digging. Foxes store food and this is how they have survived. They bury food in the ground to store it. If you use animal based fertilizers or bone meal foxes will think there is food buried in the soil and digging can increase. You can change the type of fertilizer you use or use deterrents such as Get Off My Garden (see below) around the plants.
On lawns the use of Scoot (see below) will have the same effect. Wash off (see below) and Get off (see below) is better for hard surfaces.
Foxes are territorial but unlike us do not have land registry or fences to define their space. They make their territory with their scent. This is a warning to other foxes that this home is taken. They do not bury the poo for this reason. They will often mark in open ground to show this clearly.
Squirting get off My Garden (see below) on or next to the fouling will usually break this habit by fooling the fox that a more dominant creature is in that territory.
To prevent the fox returning remove all faeces each day and re scent until you have regained your space. You may find when you first use these artificial scents that the fouling increases but with persistence it will decrease. You are simply having your own mini turf war. The fox is trying to intimidate you with his scent so just keep playing the game and you will win.
Mother nature has roles for all our wildlife please don’t interfere with her where ever possible. Mother really does know best.
Products we recommend to deter them in your garden
Water Scarecrows can also be an effective deterrent against foxy visits. The unit is connected to a garden hose and has a motion detector fitted, as soon as the scarecrow detects motion it blasts a 3 second water burst at the fox scaring away the unwanted guest. This device keeps away birds, cats, dogs, foxes and many more animals.
Scoot is a non-toxic spray it has a mild ammonium smell. The product reacts when an animal scent marks by urinating or fouling onto the scoot The chemical reaction causes an “alien” scent to rise and a territorial animal will suppose another animal is threatening the territory by over scenting its own scent. It can be applied directly onto plants and is perfect for lawns.
For use on lawns, trees, shrubs, seeds, bulbs and hard surfaces. Easy to Apply
Protects against fox fouling, digging, urinating and scent marking. Contains two sachets that can treat up to 34 sqm. Works by creating an artificial scent mark in the problem foxes territory
Stay off is similar to Scoot and is used in a similar way.
Get Off My Garden
Get Off My Garden non-toxic its jelly granules carry a mild citronella smell it is very similar to renardine but can break down in bright light and rain.
Wash Off and Get Off
Wash Off and Get Off is a non-toxic citronella scented spray that neutralizes scent marking and smell of urine. It can be useful against persistent fouling and, unlike most other repellents, it can be used on hard surfaces
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why we do it
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance on the beach, and so he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean READ MORE
This page was proof read by Jake
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long term goals
Our long term goal is to set up an exciting Education Centre for school and groups ·with a fully equipped 24 hours wildlife hospital with full time vets and ambulances. Anyone able to help with this progress this in relation to land and finance should contact Anne for more detail on. [email protected]
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We are always looking for more volunteers to carry out some of the roles below.
If you have some spare time and would like to help us in some area please fill out the following form and return it to [email protected] and we will be in contact with you.
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We are sorry but we cannot take anyone under the age of 18.
We are a Small Wildlife Charity that this year will respond to over 1600 wildlife rescues. Each year this number increases along with our costs. We care, treat, and rehabilitate all of our British wildlife.
We originally started supporting local vets and now receive wildlife from the public . We are available seven days a week for advice and admissions. We are sometimes able to collect and rescue wildlife in a variety of unusual situations READ MORE
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How we started
Whilst out walking with my dog in the early 1980's I found a small hedgehog stuck in a fence. He was too fat to go through and his prickles wouldn't let him go back.
He had been pushing so long in an attempt to free himself that the wire had cut into his body and his leg was bleeding where he had pushed and pushed against the ground. I had in my handbag a pair of pliers (no surprise to anyone who knows me) I cut the wire and removed the hedgehog READ MORE
Early in the morning a Hunt of mounted riders quietly surround a thicket they know to contain a family of foxes. The female fox or vixen hears the movement but will not leave her cover as she has cubs to protect. The huntsmen surrounds the thicket, they slap their saddles, hollar and shout to prevent the fox and her cubs leaving the thicket. They want to have their fun.
The hounds are sent in and the vixen comes out to protect her cubs, she Young fox cubs do not have the skills and knowledge of their parents, they are playful and trusting and unlikely to flee danger. Their inquisitive nature ensures they investigate anything new.
Autumn Hunting refers to the period formerly known as "cubing". Traditionally this was the time when the new entry of hounds learnt how to hunt their quarry. Meets were held early in the morning and the field were present to help "hold up" covert (i.e. prevent a fox from leaving the area). The dress code is different from formal hunting dress and is often referred to as "rat catcher", "Rat catcher" refers to the tweed jackets that are worn READ MORE
fox in a garden
Foxes are extremely clever and adaptable animals and have taken well to towns. The urban fox has evolved so well he seems really at home in our towns now.
As a rescue we get both town and country foxes and they are almost different breeds.
Foxes get used to their surrounding and recognise people and noises very quickly. READ MORE
Wildlife Rescue Care for Birds
Many baby birds that sound in distress are perfectly health and very strong. Once temporarily abandoned by their parents in a bid to encourage their independence, the struggling youngster can become very distressed.
Usually protective parent stay very nearby to feed in an emergency and see them safely on their way. At this point a well-meaning human mistakes their cry and decides to rescue the chirpy fledgling.READ MORE
Remember the bear hug code
If as a human you were captured by a bear and taken to his cave and told in bear language that he was going to make you better you would not relax and many of us would die of shock. Animals are not cuddled in the wild and the only time another species touches them is when they are going to eat them.
Wildlife Rescue for mammals
All our wildlife is scared of us and shock kills. If you find an injured animal place it in a warm strong box so it cannot escape and maybe covered in a towel so it can hide and get it to your nearest rescue. Looking at the animals and talking to them will not help.READ MORE