Facts about Foxes

  • Around February Vixens look for a place to have their cubs. They may enlarge a hole under a shed, dig under tree roots or into compost heaps to create an “earth”. Overgrown gardens are attractive to Vixens looking for a place to have their cubs as they provide shelter and plenty of cover.
  • In late August and September fox cubs leave their dens and prepare to find new territories of their own. Vixens (female foxes) may be heard calling loudly as they loose control of their cubs. The cubs may be heard squabbling over food and rights to new territories.
  • In August and September there are lots of cubs trying to find food and new territories for themselves. They may dig up plant bulbs and create holes in lawns looking for insects to eat. The cubs prefer well-maintained gardens, as digging for food is easier and there is more space for play.
  • Culling of foxes makes no difference to fox numbers overall. Killing the resident fox will encourage other foxes to move in from surrounding areas and, as more food is available to those left, more cubs are produced.
  • There has been no increase in urban fox numbers over the last 30 years.

Red Foxes & The Law

  • Killing and controlling foxes is restricted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 makes it an offence to intentionally inflict unnecessary suffering on any wild mammal.
  • There is no poisonous substance authorised for use on foxes.
  • It is an offence to set snares for foxes in a situation where a dog, cat or protected animal may be killed or injured.
  • It is an offence to use a firearm close to a highway or near inhabited properties.
  • It is considered cruel to cage trap foxes and to release them elsewhere. This is because the new territory would be unfamiliar to the fox causing them difficulty in finding shelter and food. They may also be encroaching on another fox’s territory and thus lead to fights.
  • The use of Gin Traps is banned under the Pests Act 1954

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