Foxes frequent towns and are common throughout most of our cities. True urban dwellers, they are born there, live there and breed without seeing the countryside.
They reside in underground burrows, which they either dig themselves, enlarge rabbit holes or live amongst badgers. Dens can be found under greenhouses, sheds or even industrial buildings.
Foxes live up to eight years but the average age of the urban fox is eighteen months. The main cause of death is road traffic, which results in every two out of three deaths.
Vixens usually give birth in the den and rear one family a year. Each year as the cubs mature, they usually leave their parent’s homes and move away, between 2-5 miles, to a new area.
Problems with foxes
Foxes are nervous creatures and generally fearful of people, taking every opportunity to avoid contact with humans. A healthy fox would not attack a human or child unless cornered and provoked. Foxes eat fruit, earth worms, insects, small mammals and scavenged food,
It is extremely rare for a fox to attack a cat, although a few reports have been received. Foxes will attack guinea pigs, rabbits and poultry. To prevent this, ensure livestock is housed securely in hutches and coops.
Foxes can carry a number of diseases such as mange, rabies and parasitic worms such as Trichnella and Toxocara. Whilst it is possible for humans to contract these, it remains unknown whether foxes do pass them onto people and pets, and if they do, how serious the problem is.
Dogs, cats and other scavengers can get access to your bins and black bags looking for food and it may not be a fox. If you suspect a fox is entering your garden, remove any source of attraction, such as food on a bird table or other food sources. Fencing around the garden can help but will need to be six feet high and without gaps or accessible entry points.
Non-toxic products can be bought from DIY shops and gardening centres that produce foul smelling odours and act as a deterrent.
Although the fox species is not protected by law, like badgers and other animals, they are protected by other legislation, including animal cruelty and you are not advised to kill or injure one but seek professional advice.