What predator causing damage to human property is the most cunning? Right, this is the fox. The first thing that springs to mind is a fox stealing chickens resulting in considerable losses for homeowners and especially farmers. The problem is that once a fox has learned how to get to the chickens, it will be hard to keep the animal away from such an abundant source of food. Even blocking access points and trapping, which are the most effective ways to protect your poultry, may not work in this case. A wily fox will find even a very small opening in the chicken enclosure and penetrate inside.
Well, what should you do then? A complex approach will save the situation and that is where fox repellents come in handy. It should be noted that no fox repellent has been registered so far and no fox deterrent has been scientifically proven to be effective in the long term. This is due to the fact that foxes are very adaptable and can quickly realize that they are being fooled. This article covers the issue of damage caused by foxes to livestock, poultry, lawns, and crops. Below, you will find scientists’ recommendations regarding natural fox repellents and fox deterrents. Learn the difference between the effect of taste and odor repellents, when and where noisemakers and motion-activated sprinkles should be used. Apart from that, there is a detailed review of TOP 9 Amazon products which will be helpful at keeping foxes out of your property.
Table of Contents:
- Who Are You Dealing With?
- What Kind Of Damage Do Foxes Cause?
- What Fox Repellents Are Effective?
- Fox Deterrents: Useful Tips & Recommended Devices
- Best Fox Repellents & Deterrents: Comparison Table
- TOP 9 Fox Repellents & Deterrents
Foxes are widespread throughout most of the USA, with their populations steadily growing due to a decrease in the volume of fox fur trade. The most common species in the United States is the red fox which can be encountered almost in any part of the country. It is them that are primarily associated with consuming agricultural resources and killing livestock. The red fox resembles a dog, with big pointed ears and a distinguishing white tip at the end of the bushy tail. An average fox is 3 feet in length, with the weight amounting to approximately ten pounds. The color of their fur ranges from reddish to orange while their large legs are black and bellies are light-colored.
Another species, the gray fox, are also known to attack human properties but their geographical distribution is limited to the eastern, north-central, and southwestern regions of the USA, typically inhabiting edges of deciduous forests, swampy or rocky areas. The gray fox has approximately the same weight and length as the red fox. They are salt-and-pepper in color with the yellow neck and legs. The bushy tail is long as well but has a black tip. There are other species inhabiting the United States, such as the swift fox, kit fox, and Arctic fox, but they are of little concerns to homeowners and farmers and are generally not associated with the damage to human property.
First of all, foxes are predators. In the wild, they eat rodents and insects, but they once discover the location of your property, you are in trouble. They attack pets like cats or small livestock, chicken, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Even small-sized pigs and lambs may become a target for these cunning beasts. They kill by biting the neck and back of the prey or by attacking its throat. Foxes are also known to be capable of killing a significant number of waterfowls, especially those in wetlands.
Robert H. Schmidt, an assistant professor from the Utah State University, points out that it is not easy to reveal what animal was responsible for the attack: “Damage can be difficult to detect because the prey is usually carried from the kill site to a den site, or uneaten parts are buried… Foxes will also scavenge carcasses, making the actual cause of death difficult to determine,” he said.
Apart from that, foxes can be omnivorous. Actually, everything depends on the habitat and what kind of food is present in their place of living. If there is a field nearby, foxes can consume berries and seeds, but in case they appear in the urban environment, foraging in household waste and pet food turns out to be the only way for them to survive. Red foxes may be observed scavenging in garbage cans which are not properly secured. In the garden, they can consume or damage fruits, trample plants, as well as mark the territory producing a foul smell.
Keep in mind that foxes are prone to take the easiest way to get food — where pet bowl is easily accessible, they will not bother themselves with hunting. Conversely, if there are small animals in abundance and are handy, foxes will quickly switch to them. As we have mentioned before, foxes adapt easily to a new habitat and can endure practically any conditions except for the extreme ones. As Jean Bartels from the Columbia University notes, this may be one of the few non-climate controlled factors to limit the growth of red foxes.
One more type of fox damage is associated with the establishment of dens. Whereas in the wild, they use dens of other animals to breed and give birth to their young, in human settlements, crawl spaces, basements and other similar places can be used as dens. Suburban areas are constantly expanding that influences the wildlife. Animals, primarily highly adaptive foxes are increasingly becoming accustomed to living next to people and it seems they have learned how to benefit from this trend.
“Part of the problem, so another theory goes, is that urban foxes are now so used to human scent that it doesn't serve as a deterrent. I tried blocking the holes chewed and dug through the mesh fences, but for every hole I fixed another would appear,” Peter Beaumont, the Guardian's correspondent wrote in his article on the issue.
Upon contact with humans, foxes are not dangerous and will not attack people, on the contrary, they will do their best to avoid such an encounter. The hazard can be posed by ill foxes as they are known to be carriers of various diseases like rabies and mange. Incidents of rabies outbreaks were registered in eastern regions of the USA but have been in decline over the course of the last decades. When sick, foxes become bold and may approach a person. This is a warning sign since such behavior is not normal for them. In this case, call wildlife control center and report the problem.
Your property may become a part of a fox’s territory, before you know it. So, be prepared for this beast to frequent the area eating fruits and poultry. In this case, creating the unwelcoming environment for the fox is the best thing you can do. To protect your garden or backyard, use natural fox repellents and apply them at the entrance point. This is likely to make the fox believe that the area is not safe anymore and will help to discourage it from visiting your property.
Fox repellents work through the sense of taste or odor. The former typically include onion, hot pepper, and garlic. Wildlife control professionals suggest the following recipe for a fox repellent spray which can be made of a combination of these ingredients. Cut up a pepper, onion and a head of garlic. Then, boil them all in 2 quarts of water. Drain the mixture through a sieve and pour it into a spray bottle. The solution will be spicy enough to make the fox feel uncomfortable.
Apply it to vegetation and trash cans but keep in mind that all natural repellents require frequent applications, so spray at least twice a month. Apart from that, an extra application is needed after a rain. Homemade solutions are cheap and can be made of products available in the kitchen of almost any household. However, there are commercially available sprays with the above-mentioned ingredients which effect lasts longer but you will have to spend some money on them.
Odor fox repellents include such ingredients as citronella and ammonia which strong smell makes a fox believe that another animal has occupied the territory. This is primarily the case with ammonia, a compound found in the urine of many predators including coyote. These natural fox deterrents are marketed in the form of spray or powder and are suggested to be used as a barrier around the perimeter of the property. While being considered effective against foxes, these products typically contain chemical compounds which upon contact can pose a hazard to the health of kids and pets. Also, you will have to make repeated applications to maintain the effect that means extra spending.
When an unwanted animal visits your garden, you would better consider various deterrence approaches to keep it at bay. This is where modern technologies come in handy, diversifying your animal control strategy. There are downsides common for all kinds of deterrence, so, let’s have a look at them and consider what can be done to enhance the performance of deterrents.
First, all animals and especially foxes become accustomed to deterrents in quite a short period of time. Just accept it. Secondly, under circumstances when there is a food and water shortage as well as the lack of space suitable for dens, animals are most like to ignore the deterrents no matter how effective they are and how many devices are placed on the site. It is just a matter of survival and basic instincts.
Below, you will find some tips on how to overcome these constraints:
- Primarily, start using fox deterrents as soon as possible after the animal has been detected in the area. Better yet, prevention is preferable for eliminating of the existing problem. Having come across the deterrent, a fox will figure out that the environment is unfavorable and is more likely to avoid it. Most importantly, it will not get a chance to develop a habit of using your resources.
- Then, rotate scaring tactics from time to time to prevent foxes from getting used to the “frightening creature” in your yard.
- And, thirdly, use devices affecting different senses of the fox. For example, appeal to hearing and visual perception simultaneously. This will confuse the animal and make it more cautious.
Scientists from the University of Florida recommend noisemakers as best fox deterrents for protecting the garden or yard. In case you need to force a fox out of the den establish near your house or in its basement, place noisemakers close to the den site. Horns, firecrackers, screamers, whistles, bells, and propane cannons are likely to disturb foxes and in the course of time, will make their life next to you unbearable. To obtain the desired result, use noisemakers in combination with other measures and rotate them.
Another device suggested by scientists is a motion-activated sprinkler. Its effect has the element of surprise combined with an unpleasant feeling of a stream of water being aimed directly at the intruder. Since foxes are nocturnal animals, this solution will be practical to use and will not involve water overspending and, as a result, higher bills. The thing is that in the daytime, a motion-activated sprinkler may be triggered by kids or pets more than once and none of that occasion will be fox-related. Regularly change the location of the device to prolong its effectiveness.
Place spiky mats on the ground to prevent foxes from digging up in the garden and flowerbeds. To create a barrier, place the prickly material around the perimeter of your property. Be sure to secure the rolls into the ground. This measure is unlikely to stop a fox with a strong motivation but will create an unwelcoming environment in case the animal has not become habituated to visiting the site.
|Taste repellents (onion, hot pepper, garlic)||Safe and natural; can be easily homemade; creates an unwelcoming environment for foxes.||A short-term solution; requires repeated applications.||9|
|Odor repellents (citronella and ammonia)||Ammonia is recommended as a barrier to make a fox believe that the territory has already been marked by another animal; creates an unwelcoming environment for foxes.||Can pose a risk to the human health and pets; the smell evaporates in a while; a short-term solution; requires repeated applications.||8|
|Noisemakers (horns, bells, radios)||Suggested by scientists as the best fox deterrent; it is particularly effective when placed near the den; create an unbearable environment for foxes when used over a long period of time.||Location should be changed regularly; they are likely to disturb residents of the house and neighbors; may be ignored by foxes in the situation of a food shortage.||10|
|Visual deterrents (flashing LED lights)||Imitates the presence of a predator in the area; sudden flashes work as the element of surprise; will not disturb your neighbors, unlike noisemakers.||To be effective should be used in a combination with noisemakers; location should be changed regularly; may be ignored by foxes in the situation of a food shortage.||9|
|Motion-activated sprinklers||The element of surprise has proved to be effective; a stream of water is considered to be a good repellent; it is automatic and does not require human participation; practical to be used against foxes since they are nocturnal; recommended by scientists to keep unwanted animals away from the garden.||Location should be changed regularly so that the fox does not habituate to it; since its sensor detects any motion, the device may overspend water.||10|
|Spiky mats||Helpful in preventing foxes from digging up in the garden; creates an unwelcoming environment for foxes.||Not effective when the fox has become habituated to visiting the site; does not work in resource-poor settings.||6|
Below, you will find a review of the most recommended fox repellents and deterrents. These are concentrated urine of the fox and wolf — both of them will communicate to the intruder that the territory has already been occupied. Granules based on black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin which are an irritant to foxes will deter them from consuming your crops and urinating on your property. Devices designed to deter animals by sound and flashing LED lights are suggested by scientists for using in fox control. Being solar-powered and waterproof, they are the best bet for the garden protection. Also, customers have found an ultrasound repeller to be effective against foxes. A motion-activated sprinkler which automatically detects intruders startles the animals with a sudden burst of water. To protect your lawn and garden from fox’s visits, try a scat mat with sharp plastic spikes.
Wolf Urine Fox Repellant, 16 oz
Imitating the presence of a wolf, one of the fox main predators, is a sure way of scaring foxes out of the treated area. This ~$27.97 fox deterrent spray contains 100 % wolf urine which is not a pesticide but, as the manufacturer puts it, a powerful territorial deception scent. The solution has a number of advantages: being a natural fox repellent, it is suitable for organic gardening and, at the same time, does not contain pathogens. The real wolf urine comes undiluted making it impossible for the fox to ignore the smell triggering a genetic fear. What you need is to spray the stuff along the perimeter of your house or garden to simulate wolf’s marking its territory.
WolfPee wolf urine fox repellant rates 3.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. “I lost a lot of chickens this summer to fox. Tried trapping and other things, nothing worked except when we ran out of chicken for them. When we replaced, started using this product. Haven’t seen any more fox or critter evidence, nor experience losses,” a satisfied customer says. However, it seems that not all users with the fox problem were so lucky. Another customer claims that the product failed to deter a group of foxes visiting his yard. Well, perhaps this is the case when a comprehensive approach is needed. Moreover, he should check the area around the house since that group of foxes might have established a den there. As we have mentioned above, in order to force foxes out of the den, noisemakers is a more relevant solution.
Price: ~$27.97 Check the current price
Scoot Fox Repellent, 50g Sachets (Pack of 2)
This is a humane way to deter foxes from digging, urinating and marking the territory within your garden or lawn. It targets the sense of smell of a fox. The thing is that a fox marks the territory to let other foxes know that the area now belongs to it. That is why such scent will prevent a fox from entering the treated area. Note that the required chemical reaction will be triggered only when the repellent comes into contact with the scent of a fox which has entered the treated area.
The solution is easily applied to trees, plants, shrubs, edible crops, and artificial surfaces. What you need is a sprayer to apply the solution evenly, and that’s it! The product covers an area of up to 34 sqm. Creating two-metre wide perimeter barrier is recommended to keep these animals away from protected areas. The residual effect lasts up to 4 weeks but repeated applications are needed after a rain.
Using Scoot will not harm foxes and other animals, nor will it cause any damage to the environment. The manufacturer suggests this product for fox control in urban areas where foxes are increasingly becoming a nuisance. Scoot Fox Repellent has not enough reviews on Amazon.com to judge about customers’ experiences.
Price: ~$32.93 Check the current price
Havahart Critter Ridder 3146 Animal Repellent, 5 Pounds
Although this product is not designed specifically for foxes, its active ingredients — black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin — are known to irritate fox’s nasal passages and tongues when smelled or tasted. The Havahart repellent is available in granules, which is why it has a more long-lasting effect — up to a month. The manufacturer claims that the solution is rain-resistant and approved for organic gardening. This means that granules can be sprinkled among edible plants and there is no need in frequent applications. One canister protects 300 square feet from unwanted visitors. The product can be used not just outdoors but indoors as well, for example, in the attic or basement.
Nevertheless, Havahart Critter Ridder rates just 2.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with almost a 1,000 of customer reviews. Opinions vary on whether the product is effective against foxes. One customer was disappointed and suggested applying mothballs instead: “Tried it for foxes, eating in my neighbor's yard and coming and pooping in mine. Spread it all over. Foxes were back in a few hours,” he says. At the same time, another customer has told about his positive experience: “This was easy to apply. I just shook it out around the perimeter of my garden. It kept the rabbits out of my garden. So.. for foxes, rabbits, and other small creatures, this seems to be very good,” he notes.
Price: ~$30.99 Check the current price
Predator Guard Solar-Powered Deterrent
This fox deterrent is cost-efficient and environmentally friendly as it is solar-powered. Predator Guard works automatically, detecting and repelling unwanted animals. In addition, the device does not require maintenance. Use Predator Guard to keep foxes away from your property, poultry, and livestock. It is designed to target nocturnal animals like foxes since they will not feed in an unsafe area. The coverage is about half a mile, with a 360-degree protection.
The trick is in its high-quality flashing LED lights are perceived by animals as a set of eyes of a terrible creature gazing at them. No wonder they get scared and become unwilling to wander through the site where the deterrent is installed. But if you do not regularly change the location of the device, foxes are likely to become accustomed to it and will stop perceiving it as a threat. Just think about it for yourself, can you imagine a motionless monster which is worth being scared of? Add to this a cunning and intelligent nature of foxes which would rather fool someone themselves than let others outwit them. So, you have to be inventive and do not rely solely on the device.
Predator Guard fox deterrent rates 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with almost 2,000 customer reviews. “I love the product, have numerous units, have not had to change out batteries yet. Seems to work on most predators except dogs. We have fox, skunk, wolves, black bear, raccoon, stray cats, ravens, hawks. Just got to move them around a lot for maximum effect,” one of the users says.
Price: ~$21.99 Check the current price
Wikoo Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
The device repels a number of animals including foxes with ultrasound. Once a warm body is detected, it blasts a range of ultrasonic sound in combination with flashing LED lights. As we have mentioned before, scientists say that visual and sound deterrents used simultaneously are the best approach to fox control. Although the construction is plastic, it is solid enough and, most importantly, waterproof. The latter is especially important since this fox deterrent is intended for the outdoor use. You do not have to worry about removing the device in time before a heavy rain starts. The ultrasound repeller can contact with water without being damaged.
The device is easy to handle, just insert it into the ground or mount it against the wall. You can simply put the top part of the device on the flat surface. Then, select the mode depending on what animals should be targeted. Wikoo fox deterrent is very popular with Amazon customers and rates 4.8 out of 5 stars, with 96% of the customers giving it five stars. “Keep foxes away and out of my garden! Always have trouble with foxes and our food bin and this hasn't been an issue since I set this up. Fabulous buy!” one of the customers says.
Price: ~$32.99 Check the current price
ScareCrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
ScareCrow Motion Activated sprinkler is designed to protect your garden and other areas around the house from animal intruders, what you need is a hose to attach. It covers about 1,200 square meters and effectively operates at the nighttime when foxes are active. The device scares the intruders out by means of sound in combination with a burst of water. All this is harmless for the targeted animal but discourages it from visiting your property as it does not look safe anymore.
The device is cost-efficient, first, because of its long-lasting 9-volt battery which works for half a year. Secondly, this fox deterrent does not waste water as it uses at most 3 cups of water per deterrence. An intuitive indicator ensures that unnecessary flooding will be avoided. To obtain the desired result, you should change the device’s location from time to time, so that foxes will not become habituated to it. Although motion-activated sprinklers are considered to have a short-term effect, they can repel foxes from your property for a long time since the device does not just startles the animal, it teaches the intruder to avoid the area in future.
ScareCrow Motion Activated Sprinkler has over 3,700 reviews on Amazon.com and rates 3.4 out of 5 stars. One of the customers who has to deal with foxes has explained the way the device works: “I've never timed it, but it is about 3-5 seconds and also makes the sprinkler sound. Then it pauses for 8 seconds which acts like a random occurrence to any animals that might want to return.”
Judging from the customers’ experiences, the deterrent is effective against foxes: “We had a family of foxes take roost near a creek in the neighborhood. Each night very late we could hear a fox making a weird noise near our house, I guess as it strolled by. Well, this took care of it. After about 10 days, we shut it off and we're guessing the fox changed its route due to this device. Seems well made,” he says.
Price: from ~$49 Check the current price
Foxlights Night Predator Deterrent
This impressive and powerful visual fox deterrent emits computerized LED varying flashes. The trick is that animals do not become accustomed to random flashing, therefore the repeller will be effective in the long run. According to the manufacturer, Foxlights Deterrent is opted for by experienced farmers who have tried a lot of different solutions to keep foxes out of their property. When an animal sees the flashing, it believes that a dangerous predator is present there and leaves the area. The device is also recommended for the use against lions!
The flashing which is produced by 9 LED blue, red, and white bulbs is seen as far as one mile away. It is activated automatically during hours of darkness and is switched off in the daytime. Moreover, the device covers 360 degrees radius ensuring a guaranteed protection of your property. In the garden, the fox deterrent can be installed either on a post or fencing. It can also be placed in the attic or basement of the house. A good choice as a prevention measure or to force foxes out from their dens. It seems that the only downside of the product is its high price.
Foxlights Deterrent rates 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, although there are few customer reviews yet. “I bought this to keep predators away from my chickens. I have not had any problems but we do have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and possums in my area. The light flashes blue and white and is a bit startling when you see it in the yard because of the unpredictable flash sequence, but that's the point. It was not terribly expensive and I'm happy with it. I would recommend,” a customer says.
We recommend you consider an environmentally friendly and energy-saving option — Foxlights SOLAR Night Predator Deterrent. Just charge it in the daytime and switch on at dusk. Although this option is more expensive, the device will actually turn out to be more cost-efficient as it will not influence your energy bills. No wonder that it sells better on Amazon.com. A number of customers have confirmed that the product really works against foxes. “I love this light, so far it's keeping the fox and raccoons away and I can peacefully sleep at night!” one of the users says. And yet, this option has a downside — in winter there is not as much bright sunlight that may become problematic.
Foxlights Night Predator Deterrent. Price: ~$89 Check the current price
Foxlights SOLAR Night Predator Deterrent. Price: ~$139 Check the current price
Cat Scat Mat
Although foxes have nothing to do with cats, this scat mat is likely to come in handy as a tool to keep these predators out of your garden and lawn. Plastic spikes will evoke a sensation of hostile air but, at the same time, are not harmful to animals. Of course, they will not stop a fox from stealing chickens since hunger is a very strong motivation, but this repellent can prevent them from wandering on your property, trampling plants and consuming fruits. The scat mat will be particularly helpful in combination with other deterrents. The product is made of plastic and is 78 inches in length and 11 inches in width. However, it can be cut according to your needs.
Cat Scat Mat rates high in reviews on Amazon.com, scoring 4.4 out of 5 stars. “As good as other more expensive brands, can actually be joined together to form wider barriers,” one of the customers says. Another user notes that this is a good purchase for such an affordable price.
Price: ~$12.99 Check the current price
9 Fox Repellents & Deterrents: Comparative Chart
Wolf Urine Fox Repellant, 16 oz
|fox repellent spray, wolf’s urine|
Scoot Fox Repellent, 50g Sachets
|odor repellent, fox’s urine|
Havahart Critter Ridder 3146, 5 Pounds
|repellent in granules, active ingredients: black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin|
Predator Guard Solar-Powered Deterrent
|device deterring by flashing LED lights|
Wikoo Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
|device deterring by ultrasonic sound in combination with flashing LED lights|
ScareCrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler
|device deterring by sound in combination with a burst of water|
Foxlights Night Predator Deterrent
|device deterring by computerized LED varying flash|
Foxlights SOLAR Night Predator Deterrent
|device deterring by computerized LED varying flash, solar-powered|
Cat Scat Mat