Advice On Urban Foxes

Wandsworth Council provides useful information pack to download

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For a copy of the council's information pack telephone (020) 8871 6143 or visit

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Residents concerned about the presence of foxes in their back gardens or neighbourhoods can download a useful information pack from the council's website.

Public concern about foxes has been heightened this week following the attack on two toddlers in north east London.

Foxes are now a common sight in London. While some residents welcome them as an interesting addition to the capital's wildlife, others view them as pests who cause a multitude of problems.

Most complaints about foxes relate to their presence in gardens.

Residents can do a lot themselves to deter foxes.

• House domestic pets and poultry in fox-proof accommodation.
• Refrain from feeding household pets in the garden.
• Ensure that meat and household waste is not put on compost heaps.
• Store refuse in containers or dustbins. Do not leave just outside in plastic bags.
Preferably do not put refuse out until the day of collection.
• Do not leave food out for foxes as this will only increase the number of foxes the area
will sustain.

Foxes can also be deterred by clearing undergrowth and thick vegetation from gardens so that
they do not have shelter.

Fencing can also be used to prevent foxes gaining access to gardens. It is important that if
fencing is already there, it does not have gaps or holes in it.

There are a number of commercial animal repellents available, but only those approved for use
against foxes under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 may be used and the manufacturer’s instructions must be followed.  The use of wood preservative, disinfectant or
human urine as a repellent is illegal.

Foxes cannot be poisoned. It is illegal to lay poison baits for foxes and it also poses a serious risk to domestic pets and wildlife. The gassing of foxes is also effectively illegal.

Although snaring is a legal method of fox control, it does pose risks for domestic animals and
for badgers. Snares must be visited at least once a day, but ideally more frequently to minimise suffering of any animals caught. Shooting is not usually appropriate in urban areas, but where it is carried out, care must be taken to ensure the safety of the public and other wildlife. If a vixen is shot during the breeding season, the den has to be traced and the whole family of cubs humanely killed.

Baited cage traps can be used successfully in urban areas but captured foxes have to be humanely killed by shooting or by a vet.  It is considered unlawful under animal welfare legislation to release a trapped fox in unfamiliar surroundings outside its home range. 

The council will not deal with foxes. As with any pest, responsibility for dealing with foxes lies with the landowner and householders are strongly advised to contact a professional pest control company.

Environment spokesman Cllr Sarah, McDermott said:
"The awful events in Hackney over the past few days have heightened public anxiety about urban foxes.  Our advice to people concerned about the rise in their population is quite simple. Don't leave food out for them. Never feed them by hand and never encourage them into your home.

"The most humane and natural way to control the fox population and restrict their numbers is to
limit their food supply. The less food there is for them to eat - the fewer foxes there will be. People should also store their household refuse in a container. If you just leave a plastic binliner containing throwaway food in your front garden, the chances are a fox will rip the bag open to get at the scraps. Not only does this create a mess but it also helps sustain greater numbers of foxes.

"Leaving food out for them in back gardens can also lead to foxes regarding your home as part
of their territory. A fox that is used to being fed may approach people or even try to enter their house to find food.  And if you leave food out for foxes this may also encourage other wildlife including squirrels and rats to see your home as a source of food."

"The simplest way to deter them from causing you and your family problems is to limit their food supply and ensure that back garden fences are in a good state of repair and able to physically keep foxes out."

June 8, 2010