Destroyed plants, unsightly holes on the lawn, soil all over the patio and intrusive burrowing under the shed…
These are just a few of the many frustrating symptoms of foxes digging in our gardens.
Not surprisingly, along with pooing, digging is one of the most common complaints we have when living among urban foxes.
This article will walk you through some steps you can take to minimise or even completely stop this frustrating habit of foxes.
Why do foxes dig?
There are several different reasons that foxes dig, and understanding why they do this can help in tackling the problem successfully.
Dug up lawns and flowerbeds can often be a result of the foxes digging for earthworms and grubs, an integral part of their diet. This is especially noticeable after rainfall when the ground is soft.
Borders, flowerbeds and areas of shrubbery can also be targets for foxes burying food. Foxes often kill more than they need and will bury, or ‘cache’, the food for a later date, as many unfortunate chicken owners will confirm.
The areas under houses, garages, sheds, decking and summer houses are also prime locations for dens due to their ability to provide shelter and relative safety.
Lastly, some holes are just made for the sake of making holes, particularly by cubs who are likely to be practising their digging skills.
Tools to stop the digging
When deterring foxes, it’s very helpful to get into the mindset of making your garden as unattractive to foxes as possible.
If you can remove temptations or create an atmosphere that causes a fox to feel nervous about coming into your garden, you’re on the right track to stopping the digging and other problems that the fox is causing.
The following deterrent products all give foxes a reason to think twice about causing damage in your garden and all deal with the problem of digging in slightly different ways, depending on the exact nature of your problem.
Although successful fox deterrence is not an exact science, you’ll usually find that using two or more different deterrent products will get you better and longer lasting results.
Prickle Strip Dig Stopper – RRP £8 – £10 per roll
If foxes are digging in your flowerbeds, borders, vegetable patches or any other areas of open soil, these rolls of plastic spikes are very useful to lay down in those areas.
The spikes are not so sharp that they will cause harm to foxes (or other pets and wildlife), but are uncomfortable to walk or sit on and so act as a great deterrent against digging and pooing.
Each roll is around 28cm wide by 2m long, so you will need to calculate how large the area is that you’re protecting and buy accordingly.
The rolls are easy to lay down flat and are best secured with tent pegs to stop them from being moved around.
The gaps between the spikes also makes them suitable for protecting seedlings or anything else that’s been freshly planted.
Scoot Fox Repellent MultiPack – RRP £30
Scoot is an effective fox repellent for making a fox generally feel nervous and uncomfortable in your garden, therefore discouraging it from hanging around long enough to dig.
The scent from the Scoot gives the impression that a more dominant fox is trying to take over the territory, which causes the fox to feel unsafe and nervous in your garden.
Spray the Scoot in the areas you’ve seen the fox digging and also in other prominent places in your garden that your fox has probably scent-marked, like fence posts, plant pots and garden furniture.
Scoot is biodegradable so it’s not harmful to pets or children, but this means you need to spray Scoot a few times over a period of 10 -14 days to make sure the fox gets the message.
Scoot is a very effective deterrent as long as you are persistent with it and it’s also very easy to apply. Simply dissolve the powder in water and then apply it on your garden with a pressure sprayer (larger gardens) or a watering can (smaller gardens).
The FoxWatch Ultrasonic Deterrent – £69.95
For busy people with fox problems, but very little time to deal with them, the FoxWatch is an excellent ‘set it and forget it’ solution.
This mains and/or battery-powered unit is installed in your garden and lets off a series of high-pitched noises every time a fox crosses it’s motion sensor.
The noise (inaudible to us) is irritating and scary to the fox, making it want to keep away from the area the FoxWatch is protecting. Over time you’ll find that the fox’s visits to your garden will get less and less as it decides your garden is not worth the hassle, settling for an easier life elsewhere.
This is a very popular fox deterrent for busy people because it can be set up in less than 5 mins and acts as a constant deterrent at any time of day and whether you are in or out.
Because repelling foxes successfully requires a bit of patience and persistence, having something that can sit in your garden with little involvement from you makes the FoxWatch a very attractive and effective solution.
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