Urban foxes - and why there's no answer. A personal experience.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 by Ed Mead

Urban foxes


Every now and then a horrible story appears about urban foxes and the publicity that follows is always mildly unedifying. I spent years trying to sort these dangerous pests out and my experiences might be helpful.

I’ve been prompted to write by some idiotic leaflet advice from the RSPCA telling us to feed them and to wear ear plugs if their shrieking during the mating season bothers us – thanks guys, very helpful.


Having listened to the Hammer House of Horror soundtrack they create all night about 5 years ago I sought to get neighbours together and sort out the issue. I wrote to all in our street and those whose gardens backed onto them. The response was huge and 95% of respondents wanted to get rid of them. Reasons varied but concerns for young children (and pets), bins being constantly overturned and noise were the main ones.


I wrote to the Council who simply said there was nothing they could/would do, and then spoke to pest controllers who mostly tried to bamboozle us into expensive methods including one who advised trapping and removing at a cost of £1k/fox!!!!


Now all this was frustrating until a real expert came forward who pointed out that is NO solution to the issue.


The main problem is that one family of foxes will have a territory that unhappily corresponds almost exactly to the area covered by a standard London Terrace’s gardens all put together, c. 60 acres. He further pointed out that if you trap/kill/remove one family another one will simply move in as they would in the wild.

He further pointed out that

  1. Unless you cover EVERY point of access into EVERY house in the terrace they’ll easily get in and out, and that includes where they lie which will usually be under the garden shed
  2. (His words) There’ll always be some idiot who feeds them and so tempts them in.


So ultimately unless you have everyone in BOTH streets that have access to the gardens in complete agreement, and the technology to seal access, you haven’t got a chance.


I’m afraid that means you have to learn to live with these pests, who belong in the country, and that they’re here to stay. If you’re determined to keep them out of your personal space the only thing that’s ever worked for me is a simple water squirter thingy that plugs into your hose supply and sticks into the middle of your lawn. It has a sensor that detects heat and when it does so it squirts water at them and they run off to somewhere that DOESN’T have one.