Foxes are true nocturnal mammals that love to play and feed in the shadows. Many people, especially farmers consider foxes to be a real nuisance and as urban foxes are becoming more and more common, they are becoming a problem for the common gardener too. Not only will foxes dig lawns, but they have also been known to dig in flower beds where the soil is softer to bury excess food to come back for later. We are going to look at how to stop foxes from digging in your garden.

Fox in my garden
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Do Foxes Dig Holes in Your Garden?

Yes, foxes are well-known diggers and they do dig holes in gardens. They can wreak havoc in gardens when searching for food. In the UK, it’s not uncommon for gardeners to find their lawns and flower beds devastated by foxes. Foxes frequently dig up lawns, primarily hunting for grubs and earthworms that reside just beneath the surface. Furthermore, flower beds aren’t safe either; foxes will also dig up flowers in search of bulbs.

Why Do Foxes Dig in Lawns?

There are several reasons that foxes will dig up your lawn, mostly they will have a reason but sometimes it is just for fun. Foxes often dig shallow holes when they are looking for earthworms and other grubs to eat. Grubs and worms only usually come to the surface in wetter conditions, so this damage is likely to be seasonal and the holes are similar in appearance as if a dog had been digging. On rare occasions, foxes have been known to dig deeper holes and really tear up lawns and this can usually be attributed to the use of blood and bone fertiliser – the fox smells a corpse and is looking for its next meal. Yuk!

As we mentioned, sometimes, foxes do not even need a reason to dig and that is true, especially for fox cubs that will often just practice digging or dig for fun.

How to Stop Foxes from Digging in Your Garden

Here are some great ways to stop foxes from digging in your garden. It is generally considered a better option to try and keep foxes out of your garden altogether. By keeping them out of your garden, you are therefore preventing foxes from digging up your lawn which is a win in my book! We have put together a small list of ideas to keep foxes away, they may work individually but you may have to use a combination of 2 or 3 for the best results.

1 – Motion-Sensor Lights to Deter Foxes

Utilizing the power of unexpected illumination, motion-sensor lights can be a potent tool for deterring the elusive fox.

Motion Sensor Security Lights
Motion Sensor Security Lights

Why Use Motion-Sensor Lights to Deter Foxes?

Foxes, known for their cunning and stealth, are often taken aback by sudden shifts in their surroundings. The immediate burst of light from motion-sensor fixtures can create a sense of unease for them, prompting them to reconsider their next move.

How to Set Up and Use Motion-Sensor Lights as Fox Deterrents?

Motion-Sensor Lights
  • Description: Lights fitted with sensors (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) that identify movement and instantly activate when motion is perceived.
  • Installation: Position the lights in zones where fox activity is prevalent. Make sure the sensors oversee crucial ingress and egress routes in your garden. Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best placement and configurations.

Note: Periodically inspect the lights for battery replacements or upkeep. Choose models that are resistant to weather conditions to guarantee longevity.

Benefits of Using Motion-Sensor Lights as a Fox Deterrent

  • Immediate Reaction: The lights offer a swift response to any movement, ensuring foxes are deterred on the spot.
  • Energy Conservation: Most motion-sensor lights activate only upon detecting motion, saving energy during inactivity.
  • Safety Boost: Beyond keeping foxes at bay, these lights can amplify the security of your premises by warding off potential trespassers.
  • Versatility: These fixtures can also be employed to discourage other nighttime creatures or pests from exploring your garden.

2 – Ultrasonic Fox Repellents

Tapping into the realm of sound frequencies beyond human perception, Ultrasonic devices are a great way how to stop foxes from digging up your plants.

Ultrasonic Device for Scaring Foxes
Ultrasonic Device for Scaring Foxes

Why Use Ultrasonic Fox Deterrents?

Foxes possess an incredibly sharp sense of hearing, allowing them to detect even the faintest of sounds. Ultrasonic fox deterrents (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) are designed to emit high-pitched noises that, while inaudible to humans, are intensely discomforting for foxes.

How to Set Up and Use Ultrasonic Fox Deterrents?

Ultrasonic Fox Repellents
  • Description: Devices that produce high-frequency sounds specifically tailored to be audible only to animals, particularly foxes.
  • Installation: Given their limited range, it’s crucial to strategically position these devices. Aim them towards common fox entry points to maximize their deterrent effect. Ensure they are placed at an elevation where their sound can travel unobstructed.

Note: Regular maintenance checks are essential to ensure the device is functioning correctly and the batteries are recommended.

Benefits of Using Ultrasonic Fox Deterrents

  • Targeted Deterrents: The high-pitched sound is specifically designed to target the fox’s heightened sense of hearing, ensuring effective deterrence.
  • Human-Friendly: As the sound is inaudible to humans, it won’t cause any disturbance to you or your neighbours.
  • Environmentally Friendly: These devices offer a humane and eco-friendly solution, causing no harm to the foxes or the environment.
  • Security Boost: By deterring foxes from entering your property, you reduce the risk of any potential damage or disturbance they might cause.

3 – Predator Scents

Tapping into the fox’s innate instincts and acute olfactory senses can be an effective way to stop foxes from digging up your garden without resorting to harmful methods.

Lion Scat Soaked Pellets
Lion Scat Soaked Pellets

Why Use Predator Scents to Deter Foxes?

Foxes rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate their surroundings, mark territories, and detect threats. Introducing strong and unfamiliar odours can disrupt their usual patterns and deter them from venturing into certain areas.

How to Use Scoot Fox Repellent to Stop Foxes Digging in Your Garden?

Scoot Fox Repellent
  • Description: A commercially available repellent specifically designed to deter foxes by mimicking the scent of dominant foxes or other predators.
  • Application: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the repellent in your garden. Ensure it covers key areas where foxes frequently visit to maximize its deterrent effect.

Benefits of Using Scoot Fox Repellent

  • Eco-Friendly: Scoot Fox Repellent is environmentally friendly, ensuring no harm to the ecosystem.
  • Humane Approach: This repellent deters foxes without causing them any physical harm or distress.
  • Territorial Deterrence: By mimicking the scent of a dominant fox, Scoot leverages the fox’s natural territorial instincts to keep them away.

4 – Motion Activated Sprinklers to Deter Foxes

Harnessing the power of sudden water bursts, motion-activated sprinklers offer an innovative and effective solution to keep foxes at bay while also benefiting your garden.

Motion Activated Sprinkler to Deter Foxes
Motion Activated Sprinkler to Deter Foxes

Why Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers to Deter Foxes?

Foxes, known for their curiosity and adaptability, can be startled by unexpected changes in their environment. The sudden activation of sprinklers not only surprises them but also creates an environment they’d rather avoid.

How to Set Up and Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers to Deter Foxes?

Motion-Activated Sprinklers
  • Description: Sprinkler systems equipped with sensors (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) that detect movement and automatically activate when motion is perceived.
  • Installation: Position the sprinklers in areas where fox activity is frequent. Ensure the sensors cover key entry and exit points in your garden. Follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal placement and settings.

Note: Regularly check the sprinklers for maintenance and ensure they are adequately supplied with water.

Benefits of Using Motion-Activated Sprinklers as a Fox Deterrent

  • Immediate Deterrence: The sprinklers provide an instant reaction to movement, ensuring foxes are promptly deterred.
  • Garden Nourishment: As a bonus, when the sprinkler system activates, it provides your lawn and plants with a refreshing water boost.
  • Eco-Friendly: This method is environmentally friendly, causing no harm to the foxes or the surrounding ecosystem.
  • Cost-Effective: Beyond deterring foxes, these sprinklers serve the dual purpose of watering your garden, making it a cost-effective solution.

5 – Natural Smells to Deter Foxes

Nature offers a plethora of scents that can be both pleasant for us and deterrents for foxes. By understanding and utilizing these natural aromas, you can create a fox-free zone without resorting to harmful chemicals. These are the best smalls to deter foxes.

Citrus Spray Fox Deterrent
Citrus Spray Fox Deterrent

Why Use Natural Smells to Deter Foxes?

Foxes have a highly developed sense of smell, which they use for hunting, navigation, and detecting threats. Certain natural odours can be off-putting to them, making these scents effective deterrents.

How to Prepare and Use Natural Smells as Fox Repellents?

Natural Smell Repellents
  • Description: A range of organic concoctions or readily available natural items that emit strong odours disliked by foxes.
  • Method: Identify natural ingredients known to repel foxes. Common items include citrus peels, chilli, scotch bonnet peppers, vinegar, and certain essential oils.
  • Application: Place or spray these natural repellents around your garden, especially in areas frequented by foxes. Reapply regularly, especially after rain, to maintain their effectiveness.

Benefits of Using Natural Smells as Fox Deterrents

  • Eco-Friendly: Relying on nature’s offerings ensures no harm to the environment or the local ecosystem.
  • Safe for Other Animals: Unlike chemical repellents, natural smells are safe for other animals and won’t harm pets or local wildlife.
  • Cost-Effective: Many of these natural repellents can be sourced from everyday household items or grown in your garden, making them a budget-friendly solution.
  • Pleasant for Humans: While these scents deter foxes, they can often be pleasant or neutral for humans, ensuring your garden remains a relaxing space for you.

What to Consider When Deterring Foxes from Your Garden

Foxes are not true hunters; they are opportunistic scavengers and will scavenge what is easily available and that is why they will take defenceless chickens if they can get at them. They are attracted to urban society due to the amount of tempting smelling rubbish that is thrown away. You will need to consider the following if you want to deter foxes from coming into your garden.

Fertilisers Such as Bonemeal

Foxes have a keen sense of smell, and bonemeal, being made from animal bones, can be very attractive to them. When you apply bonemeal to your garden:

  • Attraction: The scent of bonemeal can draw foxes into your garden as they may associate the smell with food.
  • Digging: Once attracted, foxes might dig up the areas where bonemeal has been applied, thinking there’s a potential food source underneath. This can be particularly problematic if you’ve just sown seeds or planted young plants, as the foxes can disturb or damage them.
  • False Food Source: While the smell is enticing to foxes, bonemeal doesn’t offer them any nutritional value. They might still try to eat it, which isn’t harmful but doesn’t benefit them either.

“I have had problems with foxes digging up newly potted or bedding plants in my garden when I have used either bonemeal or BFB fertilizers.” – Shacks Allotment Garden Forum


  • Application Depth: If you decide to use bonemeal, ensure it’s well-incorporated into the soil so that the scent is less detectable on the surface. This might reduce the chances of foxes digging up your garden.
  • Alternative Fertilisers: Consider using other types of fertilisers that don’t have an animal origin and won’t attract foxes.

Keep Your Waste Rubbish Clean

Keep rubbish stored outdoors to a minimum. Foxes love nothing more than to rifle through black bags looking for the chicken carcass from your Sunday roast. The best thing to do is to keep any rubbish that needs to go outdoors in a wheelie bin or bin cupboard away from where the fox can access.

Entry/ Exit Points

The best way to prevent foxes from getting in your garden is to cover any obvious entry/ exit points. Block off any holes in or under fences, and point electronic devices or security lights at any routes you think the fox may be taking.


As you can see, there are a few ways how to stop foxes from digging in your garden. The best prevention is to limit their access to your garden by preying on their nervousness with lights, sound, smells and motion. Furthermore, if you want to guarantee success, you should try and use a combination of things to ensure that there are many other places that are more appealing to dig than in your lawn. Maybe foxes are not your problem, check out what else could be digging your garden.

5 Tips to Keep Foxes Away from Your Garden Infographic
5 Tips to Keep Foxes Away from Your Garden Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“If you have pets and like to leave food outside, bring it indoors at night-time to limit the appeal of your garden!”

“Cover obvious entry points with security lights. The added bonus is that it will also deter criminals from your property too!”

“If you keep chickens, ensure that you are vigilant and keep them safely locked away at night out of reach for hungry foxes!”

“If you use blood and bone fertiliser and you think that may be the reason you are visited by foxes, try masking the smell with our chilli and garlic spray mentioned above!”

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you stop foxes from digging?

The best way to stop a fox from digging is to make your garden as unappealing to foxes as possible to deter them from being there in the first place.

There are many motion-activated options available to protect from fox visits such as security lights, sprinkler systems and high-pitched electronic devices.

What smells do foxes hate?

There are numerous smells that foxes do not like such as chilli, pepper and garlic but they are also extremely nervous when they sense the smell of a more dominant fox.

Scoot is a great fox deterrent as it mimics the smell of another fox and gives the impression that another fox wants this territory!

Are foxes good at digging?

Foxes are extremely good at digging. When foxes are looking to build a new den, foxes can often dig holes as much as 7 metres deep but in some places, these have been known to reach 17 metres!

Do foxes eat flower bulbs?

Yes, foxes have been known to dig up and sometimes eat flower bulbs. However, it’s worth noting that foxes are not as attracted to flower bulbs as some other animals, like squirrels, badgers or voles. In many cases, foxes might dig up the bulbs more out of curiosity or while searching for other food sources, such as insects or small mammals.


Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

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