It seems reasonable to wish harm on those responsible for chewed wiring, flattened vegie patches, pooped-on patios or lost hens.
There are humane ways to stop foxes doing the things that annoy us, but the main one is to know your enemy.
When you know how foxes think and behave, you’ve got the beginnings of a successful fox control plan, and it is surprisingly simple. Foxes don’t like feeling confused, disrupted or vulnerable. Therefore, in order to successfully deter foxes, you need to make them feel exactly that. If a fox gets a whiff of danger or confrontation, they would rather run away to safety than face a situation that risks injury or even death. So, what can you do to make a fox feel vulnerable and view your property as too risky and dangerous?
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a) Locate the fox’s entry point – Working out where a fox comes into your property is one of the biggest tactical advantages you can have in the battle to keep foxes away on a long-term basis. This is because the entry point is where the fox decides whether or not it’s safe to enter. Creating doubt and suspicion at the entry point ensures the fox’s ‘sensory alarms’ are triggered immediately, before it has even set foot in your property. Once you’ve located the entry point, (which shouldn’t be too difficult – foxes will almost always enter in the same place), you need to make this area as unwelcoming as possible.
b) Use more than one type of deterrent – To make it very clear that foxes are not welcome, it’s worth using two different fox deterrents. For example, if you use two scent-based deterrents, both products will put a fox on alert via its sense of smell. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s much better than doing nothing. However, if you add an ultrasonic device into the mix and use it along with a scent-based deterrent, the fox will be alerted via its sense of hearing and via its sense of smell. Danger signals to two senses rather than only one. If two separate instincts are warning a fox there’s potential danger, you’ll have much more success in convincing it that it is too high-risk to proceed.
c) Be persistent – One traffic jam wouldn’t make you stop using your preferred route to work, but repeated traffic jams would make you find an alternative route. Foxes work the same way. If you only use a fox deterrent once, the fox will quickly realise it was just a one-off inconvenience and will soon be back to business as usual. But use a fox deterrent repeatedly and the fox will quickly understand the disruption is permanent, to associate your property with danger, and alter the map of its territory. You’ve found the entry point, you know the fox needs to feel vulnerable and you know you need to be persistent. So now take action and select the actual deterrents that will change the atmosphere for that fox.