How to Get Rid of a Fox Den Safely and Humanely

How to Get Rid of a Fox Den?

To get rid of a fox den, it is suggested to allow the foxes to stay until the young are two months old.

However, if they need to be encouraged to move sooner, various methods can be used.

These include making loud noises, playing loud music, using strobe lights and/or motion sensor alarms, and using repellents such as soap shavings, vinegar, commercial fox repellents, or coyote urine.

If there are young present, the adults will need time to find a new den and remove each pup.

Once the den is abandoned, the entrance should be closed with rocks, logs, or bricks.

Additionally, burying hardware cloth a few inches below ground, 12 feet around each potential entrance, is recommended.

Key Points:

  • Allow foxes to stay until young are two months old
  • Use various methods to encourage foxes to move sooner
  • Methods include:
    • Loud noises
    • Loud music
    • Strobe lights
    • Motion sensor alarms
    • Repellents
  • Adults need time to find a new den and remove pups if there are young present
  • Close abandoned den entrance with rocks, logs, or bricks
  • Bury hardware cloth around potential entrances a few inches below ground


Did You Know?

1. Fox dens, also known as “earth” are often located underground in burrows that can extend up to 30 feet in length!

2. Unlike some other mammals, foxes are capable of retracting their claws, which helps them maintain stealth and agility while hunting.

3. It is believed that foxes can jump over fences that are up to 6 feet tall! So, simply building a high fence might not be enough to keep them out.

4. Foxes are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night. However, they are also known for being crepuscular, which means they are active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn.

5. The gestation period for a female fox is relatively short, lasting only about 52 days! This means that foxes are capable of reproducing quickly, leading to larger populations if not properly managed.

Fox Dens: Typical Locations And Behaviors

Foxes are known to use various locations as dens, including abandoned burrows, hollow trees, and rock piles. They will often search for safe and secluded areas to raise their young. It is not uncommon for foxes to den under porches, decks, or sheds. These locations provide protection from predators and offer a comfortable and sheltered environment for the mother and her pups.

It is important to understand that foxes typically utilize dens during the breeding season, which occurs between January and March. The gestation period for foxes is approximately 52 days, and when the time comes, the vixen (female fox) requires a safe space to give birth and care for her young. The denning phase lasts until the pups are about two months old. At this point, the young foxes will start venturing out with the adult foxes on hunts and exploration.


  • Foxes use various locations as dens:
  • Abandoned burrows
  • Hollow trees
  • Rock piles
  • They search for safe and secluded areas to raise their young.
  • Foxes may den under porches, decks, or sheds.
  • Dens provide protection from predators and a comfortable environment for the mother and pups.
  • Foxes utilize dens during the breeding season (January to March).
  • The gestation period for foxes is approximately 52 days.
  • Vixens require a safe space to give birth and care for their young.
  • The denning phase lasts until the pups are about two months old.
  • Young foxes start venturing out with adult foxes on hunts and exploration.
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Encouraging Foxes To Move: Techniques And Repellents

While it is generally recommended to allow foxes to stay in their den until the young are old enough to venture out, there are situations when it becomes necessary to encourage the foxes to move sooner.

In such cases, several techniques and repellents can be employed:

  • Making loud noises near the den site: This can include banging pots and pans, clapping hands, or setting off firecrackers. The objective is to create an intimidating and disruptive environment, urging the fox family to seek shelter elsewhere.
  • Using loud music, strobe lights, and motion sensor alarms: Similar to loud noises, these can also have a similar effect in creating an intimidating environment for the foxes.
  • Using repellents: Strategically placing soap shavings, vinegar, or commercially available fox repellents around the den entrance can make the area unpleasant for the foxes. Additionally, the scent of coyote urine can be effective in driving the foxes away.

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Ensuring Young Foxes Are Ready To Leave The Den

If the situation calls for immediate removal of the fox den, it is crucial to ensure that the young foxes are ready to leave. The adults will need time to locate an alternate den and return to remove each pup individually. This process is essential for the survival of the young foxes, as they rely heavily on their parents for nourishment and protection.

It is best to consult with a wildlife professional or animal control agency before attempting to remove the den. They have the necessary expertise to determine if the young foxes are old enough to leave and provide advice on the most humane approach to relocation.

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Securing The Abandoned Den: Closing The Entrance

Once the fox den has been abandoned, it is important to secure the entrance to prevent any future occupants. Closing off the den entrance helps avoid further disturbances and ensures the den remains unused.

To close the entrance effectively, rocks, logs, or bricks can be placed in front of it. This obstructs the access and makes it less appealing for any other animals willing to occupy the space.

It is crucial to inspect the den carefully to ensure there are no hidden, occupied chambers within. Taking this precautionary step guarantees the safety of any leftover or returning foxes.

  • Use rocks, logs, or bricks to close off the den entrance
  • Inspect the den carefully for any hidden, occupied chambers.

Preventing Foxes From Returning: Burial Of Hardware Cloth

To discourage foxes from returning to the abandoned den, it is recommended to bury 1/4- to 1/2-inch hardware cloth a few inches below the ground, extending it 12 feet around every potential entrance. This method prevents foxes from digging through the ground and accessing the den.

  • Hardware cloth is a sturdy material that acts as a barrier against burrowing, ensuring the den remains inaccessible to foxes.

By implementing this preventive measure, you reduce the chances of the foxes returning and using the den again as a shelter.

  • Bury 1/4- to 1/2-inch hardware cloth a few inches below the ground
  • Extend it 12 feet around every potential entrance
  • Prevent foxes from digging through the ground and accessing the den

Successful Removal Of Fox Dens: Necessary Steps

Successfully removing a fox den involves a series of necessary steps. It is essential to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and welfare of both the foxes and humans involved.

  • Assess the situation: Determine if immediate removal is necessary or if it is best to allow the foxes to stay until the young are old enough to leave on their own.

  • Consult a professional: Seek advice from wildlife professionals or animal control agencies to determine the best course of action, especially when dealing with young foxes.

  • Encourage movement: If removal is required, make loud noises, use repellents, or employ other techniques to encourage the foxes to seek an alternate den.

  • Secure the abandoned den: After the foxes have left, close off the entrance with rocks, logs, or bricks to prevent any future occupants.

  • Burial of hardware cloth: Bury the appropriate gauge of hardware cloth around potential entrances to deter foxes from returning.

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By following these steps and taking a humane approach, it is possible to safely remove a fox den while ensuring the well-being and future of the foxes involved. Remember, it is always advisable to seek guidance from professionals experienced in wildlife management to ensure all actions align with animal welfare guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a fox to leave its den?

To prompt a fox family to vacate their den, there are several humane harassment tactics you can employ. One effective approach is to lightly disrupt the den entrances by loosely packing leaves, soil, or mulch inside. By disturbing the residents’ habitat, you create an environment that may prompt them to seek a new location sooner rather than later. This gentle disturbance serves as a mild deterrent, encouraging the foxes to move on from their current den.

What to do if you find a fox den?

Another option is to introduce loud noises near the den, such as banging pots or playing a radio at high volume. The fox may find these sounds disruptive and choose to relocate. Additionally, you can remove any food sources or potential shelters from your property to discourage the fox from staying.

What smells will keep foxes away?

Another effective smell to deter foxes is the scent of citrus fruits. Orange peels or lemon juice can be placed strategically around your garden to create a strong citrus aroma that foxes find unpleasant. Additionally, certain herbs such as rosemary, lavender, or mint release scents that repel foxes. Planting these herbs in your garden or using their essential oils can help keep foxes at bay. By attacking their heightened sense of smell with these powerful scents, you can effectively deter foxes from venturing into your garden.

Will a fox keep coming back?

Foxes are creatures of habit, and if they discover a reliable water source in your vicinity, they may continue to come back. Whether it’s a pond, fountain, swimming pool, or even just a pet’s water bowl, the presence of water can attract foxes. Likewise, if there is a consistent food source available, such as bins filled with leftovers or pet food left unattended, foxes are likely to make a return appearance. Even if you are intentionally feeding other wildlife like birds or hedgehogs, foxes may see an opportunity to snag an easy meal and become regular visitors to your area.

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