back to article Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul

Vulture Central's scribes have known for years that our best – and most vocal – resource is you, the Reg reader. So with this in mind, this correspondent needs the 12th player on the pitch to help with a burning issue. No, not that type of burning. The cream has helped alleviate that and the doctors say I can leave the house …

  1. tip pc Silver badge

    Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

    I've had this problem too despite having a male dog who's mates also come and pee in our garden. The foxes have been living & breeding in next doors garden coming and going via our garden. Too many next door now so they've been trying to dig homes in our garden.

    you have to do multiple things at the same, i started with solar charged flash and ultrasonics which failed quickly, solar charged flashing red lights, then other solar garden lights, then pir solar lights, then wind spinners, then solar garden flowers, fence spikes, then Scoot diluted in a 10l water sprayer, hand pumped so sprays almost a mist for good coverage. Then make your garden ingress fox proof. Amazon has a great selection of the above deterrents.

    The thing that worked the best though was Scoot diluted in the spray pump. really stopped the fouling and the spraying they where doing. The worst thing is waking in the morning and smelling fox wee and seeing fouling on your doorstep, then having the same when you come home after work.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

      I assume these multiple things need to be coordinated and triggered by some Heath-Robinson-esque contraption linked to a Raspberry Pi, preferably running an AI to detect the fox and learn which strategy is the most effective.

      1. tip pc Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        of course, didn't think i needed to mention the mesh wifi network on fence panes to ensure good coverage and low latency for effective deterrence.

        1. BillG

          "My neighbours continue to feed them with dog food"


          I had a similar problem. I fought your war. Tried everything Amazon had to get rid of the critters, with limited success. Begged for help online. You need to attack the source, which is the neighbour feeding them. It takes a subtle kind of crazy to feed local feral animals so don't expect rational thought from them. You must make them feel your pain.

          1. For small areas of your property you want to keep the foxes out of, spread pinecones & broken sea shells (eBay helps you here).

          2. Take the neighbour's dog food bowls, empty them by spreading their contents near their front door bushes. Makes it harder for the foxes to eat & they poop near the bushes.

          3. Take whichever type urine attracted the foxes, buy lots and lots more and spread it near the neighbour's front door. Let neighbours think the foxes are peeing near their house. (In my case this didn't work, read on)

          4. If this does not work, time to fight dirty. Does your town have an online portal? Look for one for filing complaints about animals. Fill it out - use a fake name & disposable email address. Refer to your neighbour as being "across the street" to throw them off track. Complain about the foxes & give the address of the neighbour and explain they're feeding them. Read your town's laws carefully so you know what to properly accuse them of. Often this results on a 30-day probationary period for the neighbor as they're being watched by the town.

          5. If this does not get the results you want, fight really dirty. I filled out three online forms over two days. Used three email addresses & different computers with different IP addresses. Using broken English I complained "the animels are uncleen and violate my religion", on another "neighbour keeps them as pets and feeds them and one bite little child HELP HELP!". This will get them a visit from officials. In my case, this did finally get the neighbours to stop feeding the local feral animals, but it was too late for them...

          As I wrote, it takes a subtle kind of crazy to feed feral animals. When the officials visited my neighbour & they opened the door, they were met by a slap in the face of urine and feces stench coming from inside the house (this is why they didn't smell the wolf urine I spread). This is actually very common from people feeding feral animals - they had a dog & two cats that they never let leave the house! The town cited them for a health violations & the house faced being condemned.

          It gets better - they were renting & the town notified the landlord, who ended up evicting them! The landlord had to completely gut the house, including removing all the carpets & interior walls, to get rid of the stench and make it habitable. The construction workers had to wear hazmat suits.

          In short, you're a computer geek, be one! Read up on your town's laws, familiarize yourself with their portal and what to fill out. Take the fight to the neighbour. Good luck!

      2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        "Raspberry Pi, preferably running an AI to detect the fox ..."

        Got this image of a book of police fox mug-shots with pages being turned in front of a Pi camera to teach the AI system what Bad Mr Fox looks like ... followed by a loud whirring and clicking as something out of Robocop initialises its weapons into Anti-Fox active mode ...

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

          Not so silly. The cat flap in our house generally (OK, 90%+)* of the time will not trigger if one of 'the lads' attempts to bring some poor furry for dismemberment on the carpet into the house. Nothing very sophisticated, training was simply on the shape (cat with baggage looks noticeably di9fferent from one without).

          There was a report of some (google?) engineers attempt to train a complex system with vast (really really vast) image database. This too and afternoon and a few evenings to get running. **

          * it has become better with time. I assume this is the feline neural net in action - if they can't get in they are less likely to try.

          ** but then failure is not quite the same as running down some unfortunate pedestrian with a self-driving car

      3. Bodestone

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        I'm sure you could mod the detection on this as a trigger:

      4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        "I assume these multiple things need to be coordinated and triggered by some Heath-Robinson-esque contraption linked to a Raspberry Pi, preferably running an AI to detect the fox and learn which strategy is the most effective"

        Or... somewhat lower tech but amusingly effective.

    2. skelly1967

      Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

      Re-train this for foxes. Get enough to cover all firing arcs needed. Nuke icon because this is the closest I can find to nuking them from orbit ;)

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        i did forget to mention the pir hose connected water sprayer


        1. agurney

          Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

          I've used a Contech Scarecrow for several years (PIR and water pressure, uses a PP3 battery) that works for foxes, cats, dogs, deer and herons.

          I've also added an electric fence around the garden perimeter (powered by solar panel +12v battery) to cover areas that the scarecrow doesn't reach, and for over winter when the scarecrow would be wrecked by frost.

          1. Chris G

            Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

            +1 for the electric fence. A cattle grade ticker unit with electric mesh style sheep fencing kept my chickens safe safe when I lived in the UK.

            Shooting them with anything in this day and age in the UK will get you a visit from an armed response team, the son of amate of mine was visited by them after using a bait catapult while fishing after some weasely member of the public complained about them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

              You're not very nice if you think shooting is acceptable. And double for saying someone who dobs it in is "weasly"

              Get some clue about gun laws in the UK and get some empathy.

              1. ThadiasVonBasterd

                Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

                did you even read their comment? the person they called "weasily" called the police on someone for using a BAIT CATAPULT! they are used when fishing to fling bait into the water to attract fish. Oh and by the way ask any farmer if they have shot foxes, i guarantee the answer will be yes! Gun laws in the uk may be restrictive but if you have a shotgun then old Raynard is going to get shot.


              2. ShadowDragon8685

                Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

                When animals become vermin, it's time for them to go. If "soft" measures don't work, reducing the population by force is and always has been the human's last resort, from farmers to villagers.

            2. Eddy Ito

              Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

              A bait catapult, how wonderfully medieval although bait ballista is more alliterative.

              Seriously though all the cool kids today drop the bait from a drone.

              1. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

                This is indeed entirely true:


          2. TomPhan

            Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

            In-laws had one to scare off deer, it ended up attracting local yoofs who had a game of seeing how close they could get but still avoid a hosing.

            1. Eddy Ito

              Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

              That could get amusing. Just add a second one, camouflaged naturally, that gets moved every now and again to keep the kids guessing. Maybe go whole hog and set one up on either side in flanking positions of the "out of range" area and all triggered from the same motion sensor to douse their onlooking peers.

      2. NIck Hunn

        Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

        Didn't you see your article on drone technology last Friday?

    3. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Need to really P!$$ them off so they go elsewhere

      No - you need to feed them so they start treating your gaff like the restaurant rather than the khazi.

      Worked for my mum; no poxy dog food in her case, she asked for 'a doggy bag for the fox' when she ate out.

      Up your game and the fox(es) will show you some respect and shit on the neighbour's patch instead.

  2. nsld

    Paintball gun will do the job although frangible .22 solves the problem faster.......

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      My air rifle does a good job. Won't kill them (can't get close enough), but deters them well enough.

      Other alternatives: creosote (or equivalent) sprayed around outside of garden.

      Get some alpacas - our 3 will chase anything out. Might be a bit crowded in your average townie garden though.

      1. JetSetJim

        Alpacas are territorial - I seem to recall a fancy "organic turkey" breeder using them to keep them safe (BBC YouTube vid here). It's quite common to do this in Colombia, too, it seems.

        Penguin icon, as they're found in S. America, too

        1. Peter X

          I know people who had alpacas to protect chickens. Not living in the city though, so prolly not useful in this case!

          Also, if we're going down the "other animals" route, we must remember to include snakes and monkeys in there somewhere!! :D

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Cane toads!

            1. Ken Shabby

              Oz league players to tackle the problem?

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Alpacas are territorial

          The idea presumably is to set off the llama if a fox is around.

      2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Deliberately causing injury of suffering of an animal is strictly illegal ... Shoot to kill or not at all.

        1. ShadowDragon8685

          More to the point, it's unethical.

          If you have to cap a critter because it's being a pest, so be it, but deliberately wounding it as to cause it pain and suffering is inhuman.

      3. Tom Paine

        Air rifles and tin cans

        Had a problem with squirrels raiding bird feeders (yes I tried all the obvious passive defences, PET bottles on the stand, etc.) Hung a few tin cans in the tree near the feeders, waited til they were tucking in, then shot *the can*, which makes a pleasing loud DONK! Never saw a squirrel move so fast in my life.

    2. FoxyFarmer

      Any meaasure that involves shooting or trapping urban foxes is both illegal and despicably cruel. I hope you're just a keyboard warrior, or if not, that someone dibs you in and you get a hefty fine plus the shame of having acted in such a mindless way.

      1. Tom Paine

        Shooting foxes is certainly not illegal, and if done properly isn't cruel.

      2. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        Provided you use a firearm of suitably high muzzle energy, know where to aim and can hit what you aim at then shooting foxes is not illegal in the slightest, provided the shot does not leave your land and no other firearms laws are contravened.

        In most urban settings, the best option is to get the foxes used to the idea that food is available, then put out traps baited with the same stuff, then humanely kill the trapped foxes somewhere where you do have permission to be using a firearm. You will end up killing an awful lot of foxes since the remainder will spread out their territories as members of the local population are killed, but eventually you'll mitigate the problem.

      3. jelabarre59

        Any meaasure that involves shooting or trapping urban foxes is both illegal and despicably cruel.

        A good clean shot is quick and humane. And you just need to know how to hide the bodies...

        1. FoxyFarmer

          Jesus wept. It's like that visual catch thing where no-one notices the second instance of the the word. No-one notices the word urban. Here you go, in case your specs are at home, I'll help you: URBAN.

        2. ibmalone

          And you just need to know how to hide the bodies...

          Some friends had a fox die in their garden and were a bit surprised to find they had to pay the council to dispose of it. (They were neither feeding it nor, so far as I know, responsible for its demise, and have similarly been battling to keep the things out despite an all-round 6-8ft fence.)

      4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge


        "Any meaasure that involves shooting or trapping urban foxes is both illegal and despicably cruel."

        ThadiasVonBasterd posted a handy link to the UK government's advice on dealing with foxes. Read it. If 10 pages is a bit of a challenge for, try starting with the bit that says: "You can use cage traps and snares to catch foxes." There are rules, including a prohibition on snares in urban areas but non-spring traps are an option - if you follow the other instructions.

        1. FoxyFarmer

          Re: RTFM

          STFU old son. Get some humanity.

          1. Carpet Deal 'em

            Re: RTFM

            Nobody on the internet knows you're a dog, but sometimes they can figure out when you're a fox.

          2. cantankerous swineherd

            Re: RTFM

            tell that to the sparrowhawk dismantling a sparrow in my back garden.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RTFM

            I’ll postulate that trapping them to dispose of them humanely is far more humane than them coming up against one of the more territorial domesticated dog breeds that may wish to enforce its claim.

            You think one would do well if it were in the back garden when my Rottweiler went out?

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: RTFM

              I’ll postulate that trapping them to dispose of them humanely is far more humane than them coming up against one of the more territorial domesticated dog breeds that may wish to enforce its claim.

              Problem is in the UK, disposing of them humanely is easier said than done. Like where/how because your council probably won't help. Hiring a reputable pest control company might given they should deal with the trapping and disposal, or release.. But as others have pointed out, the release part may not be ethical or humane, ie disposing of an urban fox that has no idea how to feed in the wild, and may not have the landowner's permission at the disposal site.

              Dogs are generally safer, ie a smart fox would avoid them.. But obviously other risks, ie knowing how to train a decent guard dog. I mentioned Akitas previously, which can make very effective guard dogs, but have some potential gotchas, like they're generally not barkers, so may not give warning barks before dealing with trespassers. If those are foxes, not necessarily bad, but if they're 2-legged, can result in legal problems, along with destruction of the poor dog.

        2. Mark 85

          Re: RTFM

          I don't about Blighty but here in the States, one can call the local Animal Control office. They trap the critters and then release them off in the woods. But yes, the traps are the best way unless you're a farmer with some large acreage, then the .22 rifle works well.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: RTFM

            In the UK, once they're trapped, it's illegal to release them as they're vermin. Big problem with townies catching them to release them in the countryside - last thing our chickens need is bunch of foxes that aren't scared by the presence of people.

            1. BebopWeBop

              Re: RTFM

              To be realistic that is a very unlikely scenario (a) trapping them and then (b) releasing them far enough away

  3. Warm Braw

    It would seem you are without hope. But that's the defeatist BBC for you.

    Perhaps you should monetise your experience by means of a YouTube video stream and a set of charmingly-illustrated children's books until such time as you've made enough money to move.

  4. Blockchain commentard


    1. SVV

      Boom Boom!

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Infallible and no cost for you

        Spread a rumor they have Weapons Of Mass Destruction and let the US army take care of them.

        1. OssianScotland

          Re: Infallible and no cost for you

          Take care of them, your garden, your house and most of the surrounding neighbourhood....

          (Obvious icon, just to be sure)

  5. drand

    Move house?

    In my experience not a lot you can do. However if you are a gardener don't use any animal derived products (except manure) such as fish/blood/bone meal fertilisers and don't put meat / fish bones or scraps in your compost, nor eggshells.

    Perhaps if you were to suggest to your local council that they were aggressive, they might come and 'sort them out'?..

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Make friends.

    Or BBQ. If the problem persists, change the problem. ;)

    1. Captain Boing

      Re: Make friends.

      ... and despite commonly held belief, my kid (who undertakes pest control) tells me that a fox ham baked in tinfoil on the barbie for 3 hours (don't want any chance of trichinosis) is remarkably good eating. Not the best thing he has eaten but by no means the worst. Yearling vixen is best (no powerful hormones to taint the meat) not stringy, dark meat with a fairly gentle flavour, not as gamey as venison and not pungent.

  7. lvm

    Usually an animal won't shit where it eats. Didn't have much experience with foxes but when a stray cat started using my garage as a toilet I put some food there which solved the problem immediately and efficiently. Of course now it lives there :)

  8. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    If you don't want vermin stop feeding them

    Your urine has probably attracted rats and they are very tasty to foxes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you don't want vermin stop feeding them

      I tried that but my inlaws kept coming back anyway!

  9. Alistair Dabbs

    Get a cat

    A cat won't scare them off exactly and you'll still have to endure the occasional night-time howling (with extra cat screetching added) but foxes tend not to enjoy having a dump while another animal is shouting at it. So they do it next door instead.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Get a cat

      Depends on the cat

      We used to have one male cat that hated every creature on his territory (except humans & female cats) & wouldn't back down from a fox, on quite a few occasions watched cat and fox doing "parallel walks" (basically sizing each other up pre fight ritual to assess how dangerous a fight might be) - our cat was big (and vicious) - always ended up with fox deciding that bit of territory was not worth the hassle.

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Get a cat

        So you ended up with Greebo.

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: Get a cat

          We did effectively. One 'mowzer' who used to eye up the dairy cows behind the house and had a neighbours two dogs retreating into their kennel when he strolled across their lawn.

          In reality, he was a real softy though.

    2. Spoobistle

      Re: Get a cat

      "do it next door instead"

      Unfortunately, all too many cats have the same habit. I imagine fox-poo is probably worse to scape out of the lawnmower though.

  10. wurdsmiff

    Fringe benefits

    With the political conference season fast approaching, you could always arrange a fringe get together for your local Conservative party. They know what to do with foxes

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foxes and dogs

    My daughter had a whole family of foxes living under the garden shed. Our elderly cocker spaniel just used to wander out when they were there, and they just inspected one another from a distance and then pursued a policy of live and let live.

    It would seem that there are nice middle class urban foxes and the ones with their hats on backwards and attitude.

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Foxes and dogs

      "It would seem that there are nice middle class urban foxes"


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Foxes and dogs

        I was waiting for a Mongrels reference! Shame they cancelled it so soon, I felt they could have easily got another couple of seasons out if it.

        Now as Vince would say: "Back to *bleep* work you *bleep* *bleep*".

    2. pxd

      Re: Foxes and dogs

      In leafy North London, the foxes tend to behave themselves for the most part, and they keep the rats away. OK, I do occasionally have to pick up a bit of rubbish carried in from somewhere else, and there is the odd pile of poo to deal with, but that beats the hell out of looking out at the garden and seeing rats wandering around. pxd

    3. Frederic Bloggs

      Re: Foxes and dogs

      A Border Terrier (two or three are better) is(/are) very effective, but one does have to put up with them then perfuming themselves with the shit. Never quite understood why they will go for the foxes and then, having seen them off, as a reward to themselves, then roll in the shit left behind. And having seen off the foxes, the necessity of making the area BT escape proof will also keep the foxes out in future.

      Incidentally, the best way to remove fresh "perfume" is to slather the affected area in tomato ketchup (yes, really) first (any brand will do) before washing it off in the shower with the dog shampoo.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: Foxes and dogs

        My guess is that if ketchup is effective you could just use vinegar which is likely the active ingredient.

  12. a cynic writes...

    Sore point...

    One of the bastard things killed our pet ducks Monday night. Florence and Jemima left uneaten with their throats gone, Noah missing presumed dinner. Though as he was the only small enough to fly more than a few feet there's an outside chance he escaped.

    The way I feel at the moment I think Jasper Carrot was right. Only one way to get rid of a mole fox...blow its bloody head off.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Stevie

        Re: Sore point...

        That's the way I'd work too. Kill the fox, then go out for fish 'n' chips.

        I'm sure as hell not going to eat the flea and parasite infested dog-thing.

  13. chuckufarley Silver badge

    My Two Cents...

    ...says get a Rottweiler and get it trained. They are very intelligent dogs, very territorial, and love to have a job within their pack of humans. Like most breeds having a clear alpha figure will help them reach their highest potential. One of my in-laws has one. It loves his kids and obeys them too. Just don't try to enter his yard at night or when they are not home because there will be no one to call it off of you.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: My Two Cents...

      Or an Akita, or an Irish Wolfhound, or my personal favorite, a decent Beauceron.. All of which have been bred as guard dogs, so generally protective/territorial and should have any fox going 'nope'.

      Downside is they obviously need more feeding, exercise and training.. Especially as a badly trained large dog is going to end badly. Akita's are very much not a beginner's dog, especially when it was bred to guard against animals like bears. And there are also risks that foxes (or their dens) will spread mange and other parasites to the dogs, or other pets.

      I think legally, there's not a lot you could do given that despite urban foxes acting as vermin, they're not officially classified as such*. So Councils won't do anything other than maybe refer you to commercial pest control companies. I think the best things that can be done are to check for any signs of dens, and fill/block those, ideally after blitzing with anti-parastics if you've got a dog. Then try to fox-proof your property by making it hard for them to get in.. Which given foxes wily nature, can be easier said than done.

      *and may not given the outcry around fox hunting that's largely created the urban problem.

      1. ibmalone

        Re: My Two Cents...

        and may not given the outcry around fox hunting that's largely created the urban problem.


        Didn't get many hunts through Camden even pre-ban. And fox hunts as a pest control method are a bit like dealing with a mouse problem by chasing the mice yourself.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: My Two Cents...


          Didn't get many hunts through Camden even pre-ban.

          Foxes are territorial. Populations expand, they need more territory so territory expands. Plus the availability of easy food in urban areas means purely urban populations rather than rural migrants. If that food means pets, small game, or ground nesting birds, well, it's what the urbanites who lobbied for Blair's hunting ban wanted.

          Then of course there are other urban challenges. Thou must recyle, and put out food waste in the duly appointed non-vermin proof containers. Then it may or may not be collected every fortnight, or you may get fined for your vermin's littering. On the plus side, more rats means more fox food!

          1. ibmalone

            Re: My Two Cents...

            What you're saying is there's an urban population of foxes, dependent on urban food sources, but hunting foxes in the countryside will cause them to teleport out to replace them?

            it's what the urbanites who lobbied for Blair's hunting ban wanted.

            Then of course there are other urban challenges. Thou must recyle, and put out food waste in the duly appointed non-vermin proof containers.

            Ah, I see, this is the "don't like the political party that originated an idea so it must be bad" approach to debate.

            1. ibmalone

              Re: My Two Cents...

              Of course, nearly forgot, as already discussed at length, foxes are far more efficiently controlled by someone with a rifle, but hunting with hounds isn't about controlling foxes.

              1. Swarthy

                Re: My Two Cents...

                Especially noting that foxes weren't native to the UK and had to be imported/bred for the fox hunts.

                These urban foxes are the descendants of the ones that could out-wit nobles and their dogs.

    2. Shadow Systems

      Re: My Two Cents...

      I don't bother with a dog, those are too mild & may not do the trick.

      Instead I got a Kimodo Dragon & now my yard stays devoid of fox, cat, dog, neighbor, solicitor, & inlaws!

      Now I just need to figure out what *ELSE* to feed him so I can leave the house safely...

      DOWN! OW! AIEEE! That's my leg! Give me back my leg!

      *Hops off after the giant lizard chomping on my shin*

  14. _LC_

    Serious answer: get a couple of crows

    Honestly, get yourself a couple (male + female) of territorial crows. They will scare off the fox once or twice. Then the creature will know not to come back and start running at the mere sound of a "warning call". ;-)

    See here:

    [Two Crows attacking two Foxes in my garden]

    1. LewisRage

      Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

      How on earth do you go about 'getting yourself' some crows? I'm sure where you live there's a 24/7 Crow supermarket serving all varieties or Corvus and their relations but out here in the sticks we just see them flying about...?

      1. _LC_

        Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

        Young territorial crows fly around in flocks for a while. Then they seek out a new patch for themselves (and their mate). You can try to attract a couple by feeding them, until they settle in. This only works, if your neighbors can be persuaded into not chasing them away.

        Alternatively, you can get your animal shelter to ask around if somebody picked up a wounded one. It happens that they fly against windows and break their wings.

        I would restrain from domesticating crows, though. They are VERY intelligent. If they feel like you are family, they will try to take up all of your time 24/7, as you will be very interesting/mysterious to them. They can be more demanding than your average baby and they seldom "grow up". ;-)

        1. TomPhan

          Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

          Attract them first with some shiny things, then some food at regular times (remembering to take any uneaten away).

          1. _LC_

            Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

            Typically, you won't have the chance to do that. They drag everything away and store it themselves. You wouldn't believe how many (and how crazy) places they come up with. ;-)

            If they leave something behind, it's only when they are afraid that you would otherwise notice that they are "robbing from you". Hence, they may leave something just to get you to keep putting food there.

      2. Stevie

        Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

        "How on earth do you go about 'getting yourself' some crows?"

        If I remember correctly the canonical answer is to send a wagon to outlying towns and pick up all the murderers, then bring them where you need them.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

          If I remember correctly the canonical answer is to send a wagon to outlying towns and pick up all the murderers, then bring them where you need them.

          Or check dating sites for poster's by the name of 'The Morrigan'. A crow's got to eat. Must admit I've always fancied the idea of pet ravens.

    2. Captain Boing

      Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

      hmm. interesting though your vid is, I am afraid the crows are not the solution. They exist in vast numbers and will wipe out all other birds (usually except other crows/type) in the area. There are areas of Ukraine where no other types of bird exist other than Jackdaws & Magpies. No song birds of any kind thanks to the crows. It is everyone's duty to make life as unpleasant as possible for all the corvids (except a few specials). If you don't agree I wish you could have been with me a couple of months back when I witnessed a Jackdaw raiding a Corn Bunting nest and butchering the young in front of the frantic parents who's attempts to distract the jackdaw were simply ignored by the much larger bird.

      Crows are not to be encouraged any more than foxes... just moving the problem somewhere else

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Serious answer: get a couple of crows

        "crows are not the solution. They exist in vast numbers and will wipe out all other birds (usually except other crows/type) in the area. There are areas of Ukraine where no other types of bird exist other than Jackdaws & Magpies. No song birds of any kind thanks to the crows. "

        I don't dispute your observations, but around here - well, I see plenty of assorted corvids and plenty of other birds too. Last time I went to the local zoo - Chester - I saw wild-living moorhens, coots, any number of ducks, three species of "I know it's not called a seagull really but that's all I know about them", heard various small twittery things in trees that I couldn't spot by eye, AND saw western jackdaws and magpies.

        Note carefully: these were all birds living wild, outside the enclosures.

        I see plenty of magpies and not-sure-but-they-might-be-ravens near my house. We also get blackbirds, robins, tits, pigeons, and birds I've not got a clue about feeding and sometimes nesting in our back garden or under the eaves of the house (which is sort of fine, but annoyingly noisy when it's just outside your bedroom window).

        They seem to thrive - which is impressive, given the number of prowling moggies I also see making their stately way across my bl**dy lawn, thanks ever so much.

        I suppose it's all down to the structure of the ecosystem. Some places the corvids can take over almost completely; other places, that's not how it works. Are there any ecologists out there who can explain things?

  15. seven of five

    Roll with it.

    No chance in hell. If you shoot them, others will occupy the free patch. They arrange with stronger cats (ok, more of an armistice), drive off the whimpy ones, tease the dogs (and rest assured it takes mere minutes for them to find out where the fences are and which dogs belongs into which garden) and generally are smarter than they are brazen. They observe traffic lights and pedestrian crossings - that is more than what can be said for most smartphone zombies.

    evidence: my garden, for several years now. One male had the habit of running around the settlement, teasing all the dogs, two rounds every evening. One bark behind the garden was enough to trigger the corresponding dog. I swear I could see him smile. His wife passed along (10metres off) a bbq party with two puppys, looking us straight in the eye. This spring they fed of my strawberries (first time offense), so I fenced them off. The other evening the whelp sat before the fence, crying. I felt bad until the other day, when the lil one took all my gooseberries instead. Bastard. Cute, little, stinking bastard.


    On the upside, mice are much more rare now and I have not caught a rat in the last two years. There used to be many more before the redcoats moved in.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Roll with it.

      One male had the habit of running around the settlement, teasing all the dogs, two rounds every evening. One bark behind the garden was enough to trigger the corresponding dog.

      Heh, I have one like that. I can tell where it is on it's rounds as the neighbourhood dogs start barking/yapping. I guess foxes do this to check if a territory's unguarded, and if yes, moving on.

  16. Dave 144

    Obvious joke? No one? Really?

    Contact Mozilla, see if they will fire fox.

    *Yes my coat is the blue one thanks*

  17. Ochib

    Vist a local Zoo

    And get Lion dung. not only will it help with the roses, but it will keep other animals away

    1. hplasm

      Re: Vist a local Zoo

      "And get Lion dung."

      probably best to ask, rather than collect it yourself.

    2. Spacedinvader


      This correspondent has used myriad repellents to keep the vermin out of my carefully tended green space, ranging from liberal application of chilli powders to areas they frequent, to lion poo

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        Re: RTFA

        The original author is clearly a coward, a complete wuss and lacking in the knowledge of the more adventurous chemist. To get rid of things, fluoro-oxy-oxy-fluorine is clearly the best agent going, although a Heath-Robinson contrivance to mix hydrazine and hydrogen peroxide is probably the next best thing.

        1. Swarthy

          Re: RTFA

          If FOOF is the answer, you are asking the wrong question.

          Also, rather than the hydrazine/H2O2 mixer/sprayer, just get yourself a ClF3 sprayer, no mixing necessary. Opposed to the Hydrazine/H2O2, it is not hypergolic with itself, but only hypergolic with the fox (or whatever else it lands on).

    3. Eddy Ito

      Re: Vist a local Zoo

      Carnivore dung is typically a very poor fertilizer. If it was fox dung wouldn't be so objectionable.

    4. Chris G

      Re: Vist a local Zoo

      My ex wife bought tiger poo to put on the flowers beds to stop our cats using them as a toilet, Blue Boy the alpha tom strolled out, took a good sniff and rolled in it. I can only imagine he thought it would impress the females more if he smelt like a tiger!

  18. Tromos

    Expensive but effective

    Electric perimeter fence. Doesn't kill or cause any lasting harm, but is unpleasant enough that the first attempt to get through is also the last. Cheapest way is to get energiser box, stake posts and wire online and do it yourself. Also keeps out cats, dogs, etc. But not squirrels, nothing keeps them out, especially if there is a bird feeder loaded with nuts to target.

    1. Mr Sceptical
      Thumb Up

      Re: Expensive but effective

      My commiserations to Paul, we also have the occasional doorstep present/dirty protest the little bastards have left.

      Now they've broken the latch on the food recycling bin I have to secure it at chest height on the fence for the bin men whenever it contains chicken bones or they dump the contents all over the place.

      I'd second the electic fence idea, there's a number of solar powered ones you can get, just stick a car battery in the circuit for extra Amps of kick. ;-)

      For the moment, ours are detered by lights, so I'll hold electrification in reserve till that's ineffective.

      You could also try planting Firethorn bushes around your garden perimeter, as they're also a recommended burglar deterrent due to inch long needles. Search for Pyracantha bushes.

      1. FoxyFarmer

        Re: Expensive but effective

        The pyracanthus will help, but in two years' time the poster will be back here whining about how pruning the bastard things - which will grow like crazy - nearly always end in a muliplicity of spearings from the ghastly thorns.

  19. nagyeger

    motion detector / waterspray?

    Craig Turner has a solution, maybe? Water jets with motion detector, especially if you know where they're getting in. Electricity and water present other options of course, too.

    Or just put a shark in the paddling pool, you know, one with that laser.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: motion detector / waterspray?

      With the weather being like it is in Blighty at the moment Mr Fox will sit in front of it all day long...

  20. Tim Worstal

    Pity you've a dog

    A species specific poison is chocolate, even just cocoa husks. Although it's not quite species specific, all canids. So, don't spread if you've a dog, if you're not then you can. The theobromine kills off their kidneys. Same reason by doggie choc drops are made of carob.

    1. FoxyFarmer

      Re: Pity you've a dog

      What a shitty, vile suggestion - you should be ashamed of yourself.

    2. desht

      Re: Pity you've a dog

      Nasty, cruel, and illegal. If you're really that determined to kill a fox, shooting it dead is about your only legal option, although that won't help you in the long run.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You put the urine in the wrong place...

    Catch the fox and pee on it directly; that should put it off!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You put the urine in the wrong place...

      Do you really want to give an animal that vicious a swinging target to grab?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You put the urine in the wrong place...

      That's a fetish I'd not heard of before.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: You put the urine in the wrong place...

        "Peeing on the fox" has a wonderfully euphemistic sound to it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You put the urine in the wrong place...


      What if your neigborhood fox is "into that sort of thing"?

  22. Snarky Puppy

    How about...

    Not destroying or encroaching on their natural habitat so that they're no longer forced into contact with humans?

    1. seven of five

      Re: How about...

      Foxes urbanised due to the higher density of food available, they would have come either way. Urban foxes are larger than their countryside relatives, yet have smaller patches. Interestingly, they also have smaller families and shorter lifespans. With traffic being the number one killer.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      Foxes choose to live in cities because it's a much better environment for them. There's no 'bins round the back of the kebab shop' for countryside foxes, they actually have to go hunt some food down. It's warmer in cities, there's more places to make dens. In short, humans have created a better environment for foxes than their 'natural habitat', or to put it another way, the city is their natural habitat now.

  23. 's water music

    nudge theory

    When I still lived in That London, an elderly neighbour used to through food over the chainlink fence that separated the end of our terrace's back gardens from the railway corridor. The foxes used to show up roughly on time showing little nervousness around humans. I presume they never attempted to breach the fence because they were happy with the arrangement or were simply too fat to be able to manage it any more.

  24. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    Perhaps you could accept that the Fox has every right to be where you don't think he should be. Foxes, in my understanding of them, don't really understand trespass and/or property rights; so if you just accept that he needs to do what he needs to do, then you'll be a lot calmer because of it. Harmony will then ensue.

    1. Mr Sceptical

      Re: Ummm...

      " just accept that he needs to do what he needs to do" - erm, destroy your property and crap on your front doorstep (literally!)?

      So, Paul should leave faecal matter where he needs to walk and gve up having a trampoline?

      1. FoxyFarmer

        Re: Ummm...

        Trespassers will be shat upon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm...

      They’ll start to understand trespass the hard way then won’t they?

  25. caffeine addict

    I stopped neighbourhood cats coming into the garden and terrorising our elderly mogs using one of these :

    Basically about two litres of water forced out of a 5-10mm hole as fast as you can push the plunger in. You can't aim the thing, but you don't need to. Add something noxious but harmless like black pepper, chilli, or lion piss (if that's you thing) and I'd expect it to put off most things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I once had someone working for me who got so tired of the local cats that he built an infernal machine with a PIR sensor and a water pump connected to a nozzle with a wide,flat spray. It was apparently very effective.

      "Attacking your cats, madam? No, that's my timed garden watering system."

  26. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Stop leaving your shit everywhere.

    If people weren't so lazy and messy in towns there would be no food for foxes to live on,

    1. FoxyFarmer

      Re: Stop leaving your shit everywhere.

      Is the right answer.

  27. muddysteve

    Wimpy Foxes

    I don't think I have seen a fox in our garden since we got a dog. There are plenty around - I see them in the street and hear them. They just don't seem to come in our garden. I can be reasonably sure - if one did a dump in the garden, our dog would roll in it.

  28. SNAFUology

    Trap & relocate them

    Down here in Oz the native wildlife is protected - we consult local wild life care centers & National parks staff about trapping and relocation to some other area.

    Some creatures can find their way home usually though wildlife can settle in - take all their family for best results

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Trap & relocate them

      I've considered doing this with the cats.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trap & relocate them

      If you honestly believe that the old protected wildlife get trapped and relocated rather than killed I have a bridge to sell you. Sure, some people will pay to get snakes removed and relocated but those non-softcock types that live on larger less inner city blocks will simply dispatch with a long handled shovel. Seen it done. Bats get the shotgun. Love the naivety of the urbane latte liberals.

  29. JLV

    From pix, I wuz all offended at you dissing Firefox. Or justifying fox hunts.

    Oh, real life Fox pests? Get yourself a proper air gun .177. Low power’s fine. Shoot damn thing up the ass. Avoid the eyes, don't want to cripple/kill. These guys are supposed to be real smart, they'll scamper. Think fox-throttling Human in GRRM’s Stone City and appreciate them for a good challenge.

    Don’t be Anglo-Canadian and palaver about relocating un-endangered geese away from airports.

    Instead, yum,

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      No no no no no. If you're going to shoot, shoot to kill, don't shoot to inflict suffering and a drawn out death from lead poisoning. A .22" Hornet round seems to be the smallest accepted lethal foxing cartridge.

      Mind you, one of those automatic airsoft guns pumping out a stream of plastic BBs might do the trick. Could be a Reg project - can we build a replica Phalanx CIWS using a Raspberry Pi, an airsoft gun and some open source AI/ML pattern recognition sw so it doesn't blast holes through Tiddles and Rover?

      Phalanx doing its thing, as seen on Youtube.

      1. JLV

        Eh, shoot with something _non-lethal/non-permanent_ was my point. Legal too, while you’re at it. Lead? WTF? Not lead. Lead shouldn’t be shot anywhere you don’t capture it.

        Wanna use a soft plastic 177 pellet? Be my guest. Just whack it a few times and get it to go elsewhere, without aiming to really wound it. It’s just silly however to go out your way to accommodate a really not particularly threatened animal while we generally ride roughshod over so many other species. Cute as foxes are.

        Besides the airport geese, I’ve seen stuff about relocating rats. But we spend $$$ killing rats too. And vanishingly few of us are vegetarian, let alone vegan.

      2. codejunky Silver badge


        "A .22" Hornet round seems to be the smallest accepted lethal foxing cartridge."

        The advantage of the air gun is a lack of requirement for a firearms license. And he did seem to be offering a non-lethal option of scaring the bugger off instead of cause injury.

        I do like the idea of an R Pi phalanx. That would be cool.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: @gazthejourno

          I'd be up for that one. For the bloody cats. Out here in the country we don't have a fox problem, they've probably all gone into the towns.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: @gazthejourno

            "they've probably all gone into the towns"

            Oh they have, I grew up in the countryside and would only occasionally see foxes, and that would always be at least the other side of a field away, and they'd usually scarper as soon as you saw them.

            Now I live in a big city, and I see foxes at least once a week, and some of them will walk up within a few meters.

            Like rats, foxes are now a semi-domesticated animal.

            1. Anonymous Tribble

              Re: @gazthejourno

              Not everywhere. My mother lives out in the countryside and often sees foxes. Sometimes they're after the ducks and sometimes her chickens.

              Where I live, in the suburbs of a city, there is one local fox which doesn't seem to cause any problems. I've seen it a couple of times where it has been only a few metres away from me.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @gazthejourno

                Estimates from a couple of years ago was that there were 18 foxes per square kilometre here in Bristol. We had a vixen plus cubs take residence under our shed last year. Brought a regular supply of discarded takeaway food containers and bags into our garden, seemed to love collecting gardening gloves they found, I even found a wallet plus credit cards from someone 2 streets away. They also continually dig up flower beds and vegetable patch (burying chicken bones which they then spent several nights trying to recount after is cleared then away) generally defecated all over the veg patch and as a final "gift" went off leaving a weakling cub to die on or patio. Fortunately after they left I seem to have managed to block access to there den so they've not been in residence this year but the foxes still to open bin bags etc left out on bin day (we've students in residence next door and they never seen to grasp the idea of refuse needing to be in the bin ... or how to sort recycling so that the binmen don't refuse to take it) so still get a regular scattering of detritus at the front of the house.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @gazthejourno

          "The advantage of the air gun is a lack of requirement for a firearms license."

          ONLY for airsoft. Anything with higher energies needs one (included modded airsoft)

          As do high power Bows.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @gazthejourno

            @Alan Brown

            "ONLY for airsoft. Anything with higher energies needs one (included modded airsoft)"

            Not just airsoft. I visit my local range for target practice with my air rifles and pistols firing lead pellets. You are right about higher energies ( I believe) requiring a license.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: @gazthejourno

            ONLY for airsoft. Anything with higher energies needs one (included modded airsoft)

            No. Air rifles at 12 ft Ib are far more powerful than airsoft and are perfectly legal without a license.

            You can buy vermin hunter ammunition for them (which when used on rats passes straight through them).

            You are far more likely to have legal problems with airsoft because many are classed as realistic imitation firearms.

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        No no no no no. If you're going to shoot, shoot to kill, don't shoot to inflict suffering and a drawn out death from lead poisoning. A .22" Hornet round seems to be the smallest accepted lethal foxing cartridge.

        Well said. Plus there are other.. issues, like the previously mentioned legal ones. So it's an urban environment. So person would need to know how to shoot safely, and to check their backstop. Otherwise there's a real risk of upsetting the neighbours, or their next of kin. Luckily I think the chances of getting an FAC for a .22LR to plink foxes in your back garden are slim to none.

        There's also another little law. Like shooting within 50' of the centre of a public highway. Sometimes misunderstood as being blanket illegal, but isn't.. The offence is if it injures, or endangers a person. Which could be interpreted broadly, especially as anything resembling a firearm tends to attract extremists* in the UK's urban environments. So best to get a pest control professional to do any shooting.

        But I do want my own CIWS..

        *Or the local constabulary's AFOs, who probably won't be impressed. May help with the idea that spreading your own urine around your property helps though.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. FoxyFarmer

        And if you're going to shoot to kill, you can't do it in an urban environment. Ergo, animal cruelty/legality of tactic aside, shooting an urban fox is NOT the answer.

        There are plenty of wax jacket and plus-fours flat cappers making a pretty penny pretending to humanely dispatch badgers out there in the rural landscape and even they can't make clean kils.

        Anyone suggesting firearms or air weapons as a fox deterrent needs their head examined. Or slapped.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Whilst I respect your point of view, FoxyFarmer, you have not made any practical suggestions how to deal with this specific health and safety issue. You have simply said "You can't do that!" to everything - some quite correctly, as in this case: deliberately harming any living creature is wrong whilst there are other options available. If you have any suggestions to help, please give them. If not, then you will just be ignored.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mind you, one of those automatic airsoft guns pumping out a stream of plastic BBs might do the trick. Could be a Reg project - can we build a replica Phalanx CIWS using a Raspberry Pi, an airsoft gun and some open source AI/ML pattern recognition sw so it doesn't blast holes through Tiddles and Rover?

        Wherever Lester is now, Gawd bless 'im, I'm sure he's smiling and nodding agreement. Just needs an appropriately pithy name and acronym and half the battle is won.

        Make it so!

    2. rg287 Silver badge

      Oh, real life Fox pests? Get yourself a proper air gun .177. Low power’s fine

      It's not fine, and it's very illegal.

      Shoot to kill or not at all. Taking potshots to wound/deter is totally out of order.

      .22lr or .177HMR are the minimum for shooting fox. .223 is better, though in urban environments may not be appropriate. .22lr is subsonic and very quiet with a moderator whilst HMR will be pretty quiet once you get a can on. This of course is only in the case of persistent/problem individuals where non-lethal deterrents have failed.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        ".22lr is subsonic and very quiet with a moderator whilst HMR will be pretty quiet once you get a can on. This of course is only in the case of persistent/problem individuals where non-lethal deterrents have failed."

        Bollocks to that.

        I'm in an urban-edge environment and unless regular culling is done the populations rapidly get out of control. There is _zero_ room for sentimentality or "niceness" in this as when they get hungry things get ugly, fast.

        Foxes have no predators anymore - apart from us.

        1. FoxyFarmer

          You don't seem to understand the basics of population dynamics. Populations are not constrained by predators alone. Without a predator, the population will control itself through disease and/or starvation or other factors. In an opportunistically exploited environment, as urban spaces are for foxes, the displaced population will suffer disproportionately from dangers not present in its natural environment - like cars and buses for example. It's not up to people to assume the role of population controller - it will find its own way to reach an equilibrium. The most effective way to reduce the population density that an environment can support is to identify and alter a critical dimension of that environment. In urban areas, the critical factor that allows the population to support several family groups per square kilometre is the simple availability of abundant food. If humans weren't such wasteful, carelessly filthy animals, the number of urban foxes would be much lower. Your predator fantasy is nonsense, I'm afraid.

          1. Stevie

            Thank you, Mr Logic, for explaining that.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Without a predator, the population will control itself through disease and/or starvation or other factors.

            Like myxomatosis controls rabbit populations. If mixy rabbit could talk it would beg for a pellet in the brain. It's a horrible way for the animals to die and a most inhumane thing to wish on them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't advocate using a firearm in an urban situation, but even in a rural setting, I'd advise using something a bit bigger than a .22LR. I once watched a mate shoot a fox in the head at a range of about 25-30m. The shot ricocheted off it's sloped forehead (it was staring directly at the shooter), it stood bolt upright, shook it's head and ran off into the nearby bushes, leaving a string of oaths in it's wake.

        It's a pity my mate was a few paces in front of me, as I suspect my .243W would not have been deflected in such a manner! ;-)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now Boris is in...

    You can just wait for a local hunt to get started and invite them in.

    Will only cost you a few barrels of whisky (or similar).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now Boris is in...

      My parents live on the edge of a tiny village. The local hunt comes through regularly, and if you think a fox or two makes a mess then you need to see the destruction a pack of hounds makes. Complaints to hunt or police go unheeded, but then all the local "worthies" are hunt members.

  31. Jolyon Ralph

    Nuke them from orbit

    It's the only way to be sure

  32. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Infrared Sprinkler!

    If you've got a water supply in your garden then get your hands on an infrared sprinkler.

    It'll generally work to discourage all manner of nocturnal visitors.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This story is from about 20 years ago when my uncle (RIP) was still a Game Keeper. Every Thursday night there was an influx of foxes (up to 10 at a time witnessed) onto the grass fields next to the woods he looked after. They were town foxes who only new how to scavenge and he put them out of their misery before they starved (bullet from high powered rifle to make it instant and not scare off the other foxes sitting around it looking bewildered). It wasn't hard to find out where they came from as the van that dropped them off said xxxx City Council on the side and that's in a different county to the release site. Of course the council disputed this until video evidence was shown to them, at which point it stopped.

    If you are going to ask the local council to do something about the vermin, it's probably worth checking what is going to happen to them.

    Anon as I have to sit on the fence on this matter for some of my charity work.

    BTW. Many animal charities do not consider foxes, grey squirrels, pigeons, even rats as vermin and will use the public's donations to look after them!

    1. _LC_

      Re: Relocation

      You got a strange definition of 'vermin'.

      A: Foxes are on the decline in many areas. In some, they need protection and repopulation programms.

      B: Grey squirrels don't belong to Europe. Some idiot brought them here. Instead of fixing the problem quickly, the usual solution ("Let's see what happens") was chosen.

      C: With pigeons you have to differentiate greatly. There are wild pigeons, which never caused any problem and tend to stay away from humans. Then there is the type of pigeon, which as bread for eating in the past. As such, they bread them so that they would multiply fast. Then, however, other meat came on the plates and pigeons lost their importance entirely. Upton this, many released those – fast breeding – birds into the public. Therefore, this is an unnatural breed and the problem is entirely man made.

      D: Again, you have to differentiate between various types of rats. Some are protected even, in many areas. The biggest problem here being the sewers and trash. Both are no solutions and cause many other problems. They need to be fixed, then the rats disappear automatically.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Relocation

        The UK definition of vermin includes all of the above.

        I'll bite ...

        A: Foxes are on the decline as there is no longer any incentive for farmers to keep the numbers artificially high for hunting purposes. Hunting culled the weak, injured, sick and old to keep the population healthy. Now the set is just gassed, killing all.

        B: Grey squirrels are culled to keep the population down to 'reasonable' numbers, but it's too costly to shoot enough to reduce the numbers.

        C: Bloody Packem, et al have forced a change in the rules over the supply of licenses for shooting the vermin bird species. In my home garden Wood Pigeons (native species) have eaten all my Brassicas for the third year running, although 1 did get caught under the netting this year and I was able to wring its neck. Pigeons and Canadian Geese can strip whole fields of crops.

        D: RSPCA looking after injured Brown Rats and then releasing them! Rats will never disappear whilst people survive. People create rubbish and compost bins and store vegetable and grains - rats eat anything.

        In your world were everything is sacrosanct, tell me how you will survive when the foxes have eaten your livestock, the pigeons have eaten your crops and the rats have eaten your stores?

        1. _LC_

          Re: Relocation

          Funny thing - they don't. They got better places to go. ;-)

        2. FoxyFarmer

          Re: Relocation

          If you really think that point A is true, I'd be surprised. I'm not sure where you live, but I am located less than a mile from the kennels of one of the country's best known and most historic hunts, and I can assure you that hereabouts your thesis is complete codswallop!

          The second part of your point B is also not true - just up the road from me is a large arboretum, within which, in 25 years of regularly walking my dogs there, I have seen two grey squirrels. The reason for their absence is simple; each morning the Forestry Commission has people out with rifles killing the little bastards before the public arrive to er, walk their dogs and look at the trees.

          The recent shenigans over general shooting licenses was precipitated by unexpectedly swift action from Natural England in response to campaigning pointing out that the previous situation was ludicrously slapdash. DEFRA have reacted with further changes to ameliorate the bleating of the BASC. As I suspect you know perfectly well. Your choice of phrase "Bloody Packem (sic)" says a lot about your attention to the details.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Relocation

            If there is no hunt then the farmers gas the set. And quietly do the same to badgers. Throw the carcass on the road. If you've got a hunt near you then you have landowners who maintain fox populations for hunting.

            My local parks and any wooded area are swarming with a lot of very bold grey squirrels. They do tend to run away from people and don't cause any problem because the reds are long gone. I know if anyone gets one living in their roof space they are required to humanely kill it.

            All the feral pigeons live in the town centre. We have wood pigeons who stroll around my lawn eating slugs. The cause no problems apart from their inane call that can wear on your nerves.

            Deer put their heads over my fence and eat the tops off flowers. I deter this with electric shocks now.

            Urban foxes tend to appear mostly as furry asphalt pizza having been repeatedly run over. Locals who have had their property attacked by them will attempt to run them over, however I feel that my front valance is too expensive to waste on one of them.

            1. _LC_

              Re: Relocation

              I mostly agree, with the exception that the "very bold grey squirrels" eat a lot of eggs, thereby making certain species of birds disappear.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relocation

      Several years ago (when hunting with hounds was still legal) a chap I know was out in Herefordshire, with his local pack. They were doing what you might call farmer appeasement duties; drawing through moorland edges just to demonstrate that there weren't any foxes there.

      Foxhounds in this sort of situation are completely honest; they know there's nothing about, so they goof around and generally take the piss. This they were doing that day, until all of a sudden the entire pack leapt forwards as one and started killing foxes. After a pause, the hunt staff got control of the situation and got the pack back out of the way.

      On that section of moorland edge (which wasn't so very far from a main road) were two dozen adult foxes, all in the last stages of starvation. The hounds had killed a few; the rest were shot by the terrier men to put them out of their misery quickly. Those were urban foxes dumped in the countryside by idiots.

      Foxes are like most other carnivores in that there's only a fairly brief window when they are young in which they learn what is good to eat, what to hunt and how to do it. Once they're adults they don't learn nearly so easily or quickly. Urban foxes learn to live off human refuse and hunt only rodents; dump them in countryside and they starve.

      1. _LC_

        Re: Relocation

        In Germany we never had any crows around, until they passed a law that forbade open rubbish tips. Then they came, all of a sudden. Old people started babbling that they brought bad luck and whatnot, but since they were fewer and fewer of that old generation around, the crows got accepted eventually. Today, they have become a normality. Every patch has a territorial couple. Sometimes they got a few chicks, but the couples will drive away others.

        The moral of the story: the open rubbish tips were the problem.

        For cities, open rubbish and sewers are the problem. You need to fix them or you will always invite trouble. If it ain't foxes or wild boars, insects will take over. Problems need to be fixed. Fixing the symptoms has never helped for long.

  34. oomwat

    Get sweaty!

    I was told by a groundsman that the best way to get foxes to move house is to go out and do some gardening ... get really sweaty in an old t-shirt ... then do it again the next day in the same t-shirt (NB: do not wash the shirt) - keep doing that for a week or two until the shirt is REALLY stinky!!!

    Then cut it up into little squares, keep them in a plastic bag to preserve their 'freshness' and then scatter a few around the areas you don't want the foxes to be.

    They know to avoid humans, so having little stinky pheremone bombs littered about will likely spook them and they will stay away.

    Refresh your sites after it's rained to keep coverage going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get sweaty!

      "They know to avoid humans"

      Probably no longer true for urban foxes who see humans as people who feed them.

  35. colinb


    Surely this is a job for LESTER, beefed up with all terrain wheels and tuned for fox detection.

    Blasting out some Nigel and the Ripsnorters or equivalent 70s punk at full volume but sped up over the 22KHz range of human hearing.

    Foxes can hear up to 65KHz

  36. Gordan

    Have you considered...

    ... taking up archery?

    1. HorseflySteve

      Re: Have you considered...

      It's illegal in the UK to hunt or kill anything using an arrow or crossbow bolt.

  37. gskr

    OK... since no ones said it yet

    I see loads and loads of answers ranging from Lion Poo to ED209s.

    What no-one seems to have suggested yet is confiscating your daughters' speakers, and then go and apologize profusely to your neighbours and ask them to please stop feeding the foxes.

    Go-on, man up....

  38. Alan Brown Silver badge


    And a silencer

    Enough said

  39. phuzz Silver badge

    You could always try feeding the someone else's garden ;)

  40. Snapper

    Foxes have a sense of humour!

    Dug up and replaced a 20m wooden fence that was falling down with a proper Cant-Railed job. Met a fox face to face a couple of times while doing it and it was pretty good at standing its ground. Obviously used our garden as a route and a pooping spot (and Mrs Fox used to play with her cubs occasionally).

    The very next morning after I'd finished closed--bordering the frame and blocking that route into the garden, I found a neat big dollop of tar-like evacuation in my back door-step!

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken


    Jasper Carrot - The Mole (animated)

  43. MJI Silver badge

    Need a four legged friend

    Farm stock cat, they can always handle themselves.

  44. Big Eck

    Check out a "Cat Scarer" on eBay or Amazon, it attaches to a garden hose and is activated by movement. It keeps cats and the foxes away, I used a trail camera to check it worked at night, never realised a cat could jump so high! Foxes learned to avoid quicker than the cats!

  45. clockwatcher1004

    A fox for his valour

    Just get a cat - I suggest rehoming a suitably tough little customer from your friendly local animal charity. Moggies do a wonderful job of ensuring territorial boundaries are, shall we say, 'maintained', as made clear to me during the rural phase of my childhood. The local reynauld didn't know what hit them, as all the fox fur wafting about the back garden every morning showed. My cats, meanwhile, barely registered a scrstch.

    Not that I'm sure you should be complaining too much. All those vulpines in your midst must surely mean you are favoured by the Shinto goddess Inari - a bountiful rice harvest will surely follow.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A fox for his valour

      And your neighbours will be really pleased to find that they've exchanged the fox crap for cat shit.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: A fox for his valour

      Farm bred cat best, much better than normal house cat.

      Appears very similar but so much tougher, still good pets, just that THEY can handle themselves.

      Just get them when usual kitten age.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: A fox for his valour

        Yes, I've met them. They are human friendly but with stiffer fur and strong sinewy bodies. Usually sit looking smug next to a pile of rat tails and feet.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Radio 4.

      While I love the Pi, I think maybe buying a radio is probably easier here.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Peter Prof Fox

    Is it YOUR problem or a NEIGHBOURHOOD one?

    I suspect the latter. From it appears foxes will repopulate suddenly 'vacant' territories within four days. Looking at the issue this way suggests some group activity which could include, just for example, mapping, educating humans about what foxes eat and not to feed them, getting a neighbourhood wolf, getting a wild-life expert to give a lecture on their life, likes and dislikes.

    Perhaps your garden just happens to be a junction of three territories where foxes from various tribes face-off?

  48. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    You may not believe this but Tiger sh*t from the local zoo scares them away, also terrifies lesser cats

  49. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    All this small mammal stuff...

    A ewe and one or two lambs in the garden happens a few times a year. Cow visits are rarer since the farmer stopped dairying and walking the herd past the gate every day but we've also had a significant fraction of the cattle herd complete with bull when they escaped. We've even had a half-grown calf leap the back wall - which I didn't think possible - and smash a few plant pots where it landed.

    But sheep: I'm quite sure that, like children and what you see on Sean the Sheep, they know when they're up to mischief and keep quiet - until one of them can't control themselves any longer. So one Sunday afternoon some years ago we heard one solitary bleat and looked out of the window to find the garden packed with what looked like the entire year's crop of lambs. Being a Sunday I've no doubt some townie walker had left a gate open and our drive is the first they meet coming down the road towards the farm.

    1. Aquatyger

      My favourite was in a paddock outside Condobolin where a flock of lambs were playing "King of the Castle" on a hill in the middle of the paddock. A ewe was watching them and disliked their exposure to airborne depredation so bleated at them and made them come back to the main body of sheep who were shelltering under the trees. As they reluctantly followed the ewe they kept on looking back over their shoulders at the hill and could no longer resist. One broke for the hill and the other lambs turned and followed and resumed playing, much to the ewe's distress.

  50. M7S

    Tech angle

    Connect underslung wieght to centre of trampoline so that it is stretched to the maximum possible with release mechanism that can be either automatic (as in mousetrap type thingy) or manual (remotely) for more fiendish fun after fox has been lulled into false sense of security. Consider angling entire assembly towards a "receptive" neighbour's garden.

    Bait trampoline with leftovers from summer BBQ or similar

    Observe test results of launcher, repeating as necessary/possible and apply for funding for UK Space Program


  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've never understood the fondness for these 'orrible stinky little bastards.

    One of them got in my mate's grandad's chickens and killed all of them (about 20) of them in one night.

    If you're in the country shooting it is probably the best option.

    Caveat I certainly don't agree with foxhunting or maiming any animal so if you don't have the right kit, license or skill to do it cleanly; don't.

  52. SoaG

    2 options

    "my neighbours continue to feed them with dog food."

    A) poison the neighbours instead of the foxes?

    B) more seriously, relocate all resulting shit to its source, their front porch, ledge of any open windows, windshield of their car, etc.

  53. Pen-y-gors

    Get a horse

    Then ride round the garden chasing the foxes (with your dog)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get a horse

      When I was trying to deal with a fox in residence last year one of the websites I found recommended getting a donkey as they were sufficiently territorial to dissuade foxes from coming into their area. However, our garden is a bit small for a donkey!

  54. Sulky

    Move House.

    Move to the countryside, I haven't seen a fox in a very long time.

    1. The Nazz

      Re: Move House.

      Third floor flat/apartment works just as well.

  55. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge


    I recommend importing some raccoons or coyotes into the neighborhood; that should deal with the fox problem. If the raccoons or coyotes become a problem, I hear that grey wolves are quite effective . . .

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get some thick galvanized mesh and sink several inches below the earth around the edges of your yard

    Just laid flat on the surface of the ground, then sink it down a few inches. This will require a good deal of digging and then recovering, and you have to get creative around plants you have around the edge off your yard. However, if you snug it up to your fence then it will keep them from burrowing under the fence. This obviously doesn't work if you have a fence with openings in it, instead of solid wooden slats.

    Get an air rifle and sting the foxes with it regularly.

    And if all that fails, genetically-engineered velociraptors are always a good bet to end animal incursions.

  57. fishman

    Our foxes

    We get foxes in our back yard from time to time - our yard backs to woods. So far I've encountered fox droppings once. But the foxes do help keep the groundhogs and other rodents away so they are a net benefit.

  58. Herbert Meyer

    watcher the cat

    I had a fearless cat, named Watcher, who chased foxes out of our yard. The foxes would scream at him "I am a dangerous wild animal" and he would quietly reply "I am a badass cat", and ignore their displays of ferocity. A neighbor reported a pair of foxes tricked him, one distracting him, and the other circling around behind him. Watcher also killed snakes, and brought them home to share.

    1. _LC_

      Re: watcher the cat

      Unfortunately, "Watcher" kept the birds out of your garden as well - most likely.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what should I do, dear readers?


  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BB claymores loaded with (baked) clay pellets soaked in Citreonella oil - used to be able to buy them as cat repellent but some cat lovers complained that they hadn't been safety tested - now I make my own. They do discourage foxes as well, the claymores are just for showmanship and the 'shock & awe' effect.

  61. TomPhan

    Don't the bears and coyotes and mountain lions and bobcats keep them away?

    Or is that just where I live?

  62. Graphsboy

    Can’t solve your overall problem but.....

    ....I can save your flower beds. Same cat was fond of digging my beds and leaving parcels on a regular basis. Solution: get rubber bath mat(s), the ones with holes in to allow the soil to breath. Cut bath mats to into shapes to match soil areas between clumps of flowers. Push dressmaking pins through bath mat pieces and lie pieces between plants, points up. Cover mat shapes with soil to a depth that also covers upstanding pins.

    I found it very satisfying on this one occasion to be woken by a cat in the wee small hours - due to its’ blood curdling scream.

    Flower beds never molested again.

  63. FoxyFarmer

    The author specifically refers to "urban areas", where shooting ANYTHING is almost certainly illegal.

  64. Blackjack Silver badge

    Get a dog

    And make sure to get a hunting licence just in case.

    What are the laws if your dog kills a fox inside your garden anyway?

    Alternatively, canines and foxes hugely dislike the smell of chlorine. Get it in liquid form and spread it around, the foxes will avoid it like the plague. Unfortunately it does kill plants so this is a bad idea in gardens.

    1. Captain Boing

      Re: Get a dog

      what is a "hunting licence". Are you in the UK?

      if you don't know anything about a subject best to keep your mouth shut. don't expose your ignorance to the world.

  65. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    You leave the foxes


    Theres a couple around where I work and they clear up after the seagull chicks fall off the factory roofs,,,,, rather have a fox than a pack of flying squarking rats that shit all over everything....

    <<currently thinking about making mr fox a nice ramp so he can get to the roof and help himself to nice tasty gull chicks......

  66. Ken Mitchell

    Automatic Sprinkler

    Amazon carries a line of automatic sprinklers that might do.

    This one is actually overkill for the skunks in my yard, but it might be just the ticket for foxes.

  67. Fungus Bob

    First, deal with the neighbor. Report him/her/it to whatever local authority would deal with someone creating a habitat for vermin. May take several complaints to be effective.

    Second, Chain link. With the bottom of the fence a couple inches below ground level and set in concrete. Expensive but the foxes will have to poop on your idiot neighbor's lawn.

    1. Sherrie Ludwig

      "First, deal with the neighbor. Report him/her/it to whatever local authority would deal with someone creating a habitat for vermin. May take several complaints to be effective.

      Second, Chain link. With the bottom of the fence a couple inches below ground level and set in concrete. Expensive but the foxes will have to poop on your idiot neighbor's lawn."

      Agree with the first, the second is ineffectual. Foxes have been known to climb chain link.

      1. Fungus Bob

        If all they're looking for is a toilet, a six foot high fence makes the idiot neighbor's lawn an easier target.

  68. Schultz

    Get a dog...

    No, not the one you have, but one with a proper sense of property and a willingness to defend it.

  69. WolfFan Silver badge

    What’s the big deal?

    Foxes, smoxes. Around here we have coyotes, lynx, bobcats, wolves, bears, raccoons, badgers, wolverines and, oh, foxes. Plus deer, moose, and assorted other large mammals. And assorted snakes, including venomous ones. I have a fence out back, where the woods start. The moose and bears tend to ignore the fence; the moose tend to ignore shotguns, but the bears know what a shotgun is and go away, grumbling. The fence keeps most of the smaller animals out, as its about three feet deep underground and goes up about nine feet (one metre and three metres, respectively) and I have some local residents who keep a lot of intruders away, notably a wolf and a rottweiler. (You wouldn’t believe the paperwork required to legally keep a wolf around here, even on a site as big as mine.)

  70. gaston

    Advise from my experiences

    +1 on getting a pellet gun/air rifle

    - Get a bigger dog. Small dogs/cats are as much prey as predator for foxes. If you don't want a permanent second dog, consider fostering a big dog through a rescue organization. Hint (a breed such as Fox hound or Fox Terrier may be a good place to start).

    - Remove their food sources: garbage, rabbits, field mice, etc. Having a hawk or an owl in the neighborhood provides good competition for the fox population. Foxes are smart. Around here they know which nights people put out their trash.

    - Get a trail camera (or two or three). What you want is a trail camera with a bright motion activated flash. This and motion detecting lights in general will help.

    - Unfortunately, I have had no success with humane traps (only kind allowed near me). The Habi-trap that I bought to catch the invading raccoon's and foxes, only caught one squirrel. The problem was in releasing a very upset squirrel without getting myself bitten. Local animal control is not that much help. If you do go the trap route, a trail camera will help you get the correct size.

    - You need to get your neighbors on your side. Putting out food encourages the full spectrum of critters and just creates a dependency on humans.

    - In the UK, there apparently is a night hunting technique called "lamping". You might be able to entice a local hunter to try a night hunt on your property or ideally with your neighbors cooperation throughout the neighborhood. Probably a good idea that your children have a sleep over with friends that evening.

    - A big fence

    - Roll with it and be grateful that you have your rodent and rabbit population under control. Also that you don't have a wolf or bear problem.

    1. Captain Boing

      Re: Advise from my experiences

      do NOT use an air rifle on a fox. Unless you get incredibly lucky and drop one down his ear you absolutely will not kill it. The only air weapon that stands a chance will be a weapon for which you must own a firearms licence.

      All you'll do is cause wounds and distress.. you'll no more likely to kill a fox with a 12ft/lb air rifle than it will kill you. All it will do is make painful holes in you that will get infected and cause misery.

      Anyone who suggests an air rifle for this is a twat and will rightfully be prosecuted by the RSPCA when they find out.

  71. Aquatyger

    Employ these people.

    Alternatively, I believe I saw a video on a computerised trap that allowed feral animals to go into the trap area but shunted wanted animals such as livestock through a gate system out of the trap. You could build one of those. Google is your friend.

  72. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Get some cats..

    Mr Fox. This correspondent has used myriad repellents to keep the vermin out of my carefully tended green space

    At least two of our cats (senior female and junior female) have form for chasing foxes out of our garden - despite neither being anywhere near the size of a fox (SF is about 6.5kg, JF is about 3.5kg).

    The two male cats don't care and just watch them strolling by.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strongly suggested.

    See other versions on Amazon also. Silent, legal, and you do not have to kill, just seriously discourage. I am in the so-called Land of the Free (-for-all) and I still reach for something like this to discourage coyote rather than firearm. Just don't use it on skunks.

  74. Captain Boing

    Townies... not a clue. The neighbours who are feeding the cute fuzzy orange puppies or not securing their rubbish are the main cause of the problem, along with the anti-social bastards that think it's OK to throw their half-eaten kebab on the ground. Any animal is only in a place because of what is there. Remove the incentive, the problem will go too. Everyone thinks a cat is the solution to a rat problem - this is only believed by those who don't know what they're talking about or have an exceptional cat. A cat will kill one rat and disappear with it. A terrier will kill all the rats for the sheer fun of the chase... a fox has the same mindset. He will get in the hen-house, kill them all and disappear with a single carcass. He'll wipe out an entire roost in a single visit for the joy of killing. Foxy's gotta go. For town foxes, the solution is to clean up our act, for country foxes it's to shoot them.

    Admittedly it is tricky to let foxy "have it" with your .243 in a town garden (as well as most likely illegal and triggering a visit) but it is the most humane and effective method - those of you who have considered gassing or poisoning need a beating. This is the most horrendous way to dispose of a living creature and much as I am out to do a job, I do not agree with making the quarry suffer un-necessarily. Consider hunting with dogs, it is more about the people in the chase, but when the hounds catch the fox (and most times he gets away) he is dispatched in seconds... I agree it isn't pleasant (despite matching the foxes mindset - he is a predator after all) and I am not a fan of these horrific toffs that do it for the blood, but it is quick... not the lingering, painful, sickly death of a gassing or poisoning. The quickest method is a .243 to the head or chest. This causes catastrophic damage and the fox is dead in seconds (if not instantly), although pure adrenaline may see him run 20 meters.

    A free-range egg farm near me was getting daylight raids and asked for help - the mark of a desperate fox. The neighbouring farm was also having problems. A bit of research and out on the hunt. We "offed" 8 foxes in 5 weeks in that area with another 2 on the list! That's ten foxes in about 4 square miles - there is no way that area can support that many without help - The foxes were breeding out of control and all of them living just above starvation hence the desperation and the problem, all because some silly old woman puts food out for them each night. Think of the damage 10 foxes in 4 square miles were doing to the naturally occurring wildlife - it was a desert! Now maybe some leverets will make it this year.

    I don't care what anyone says, shooting done properly IS conservation. I have seen it with my own eyes. You might get weepy about it and I must say I don't get a kick out of the kill (it always leaves me feeling a bit guilty actually) but nature is nasty and when we f**k with it, we have to f**k with it some more to put it right.

    let the slagging commence.

  75. Celeste Reinard


    When asked why I named my camera (the same type as Dexter, professional serial killer) Fluffy, it slipped out that is "because it's better than se* with puppies". .... Yeah. ... (Some people are like that, and it happens to be me...)...

    I don't know exactly what the trouble is with stealthy visits from a red-haired Goddesses-in-disguise, but here's the perfect cat-o-strobe we gobbled together at the ol' folks' place against a cat-infestation: A small strobe-light connected to a motion detector – cats don't like flashing lights; it worked like a charm. Maybe it's worth a try, and your trashy visite ain't fond of it either. Just a few quid on kit.


    O, by the way, I am not so fond of kids jumping & screaming on the trampoline... they tend to scare away the wild life.


    Or else you install the future "Enterprise"-variety: "We have 10 Faser-banks, 250 Photon torpedo's, and a high-capacity shield-grid." (Worf)


    Or one could start breeding tigers - I understand they are very apt at the kind of vermin you mention. Whether it's the four-legged, the one next door, or next-door neighbours' two-legged and noisy vermin. ... Or one could attempt to out-breed them, and have another 20 - 50 daughters?

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