Keeping your plants and flowers in good condition is a never-ending battle against the pests and animals that love to eat them. One such creature is the fox, which can be quite a problem if they start using your garden as their personal latrine. It’s not uncommon for foxes to poo in people’s gardens – especially if there’s a lot of food around. Being a gardener, you’ll know the frustration of finding fox poo in your flower beds. While it might seem like there’s nothing you can do about it, there are ways to deter foxes from visiting your garden and leaving you their calling card.

Fox in Garden
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Why Do Foxes Foul in Your Garden?

If you’ve ever found fox droppings in your garden, you may be wondering why they do this. After all, it’s not exactly the most hygienic habit! There are actually a few reasons why foxes might foul in your garden.

  1. Foxes mark their territory with their urine and faeces. By leaving their droppings in your garden, they’re essentially claiming it as their own. This is especially common if there are other foxes in the area that they’re trying to keep away.
  2. Foxes sometimes use faeces and urine to attract mates. So, if a fox is looking for a mate, it may leave its droppings in your garden as a way of signalling its availability.
  3. Foxes may also simply relieve themselves in your garden because they’re already there snooping around and it’s an easy and convenient place to do so.
Female Fox Defecating in a Garden
Female Fox Defecating in a Garden

Is Fox Poo Dangerous?

Fox poo can be dangerous as it poses several health risks to both humans and pets, making it essential to understand and manage its presence effectively.

  • Parasitic Infections: Foxes are known carriers of various parasites, including the common roundworm Toxocara canis. When humans, especially children, come into contact with contaminated soil or faeces, they risk ingesting these parasites. This can lead to a condition known as toxocariasis, which manifests as fever, fatigue, cough, and even vision loss in severe cases.
  • Bacterial Contamination: Fox scat can harbour harmful bacteria like E. coli and Listeria. These bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illnesses characterized by symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. In vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, these infections can be particularly severe.
  • Risk to Pets: Domestic animals, especially dogs, are often curious about fox poo and may come into direct contact with it. This exposes them to the risk of parasitic and bacterial infections. Additionally, certain parasites can be transmitted from pets to humans, adding another layer of potential health risk.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions when exposed to proteins found in fox faeces. Symptoms can range from mild skin irritations to more severe respiratory issues.
  • Potential for Disease Transmission: While rare, foxes can be carriers of diseases like rabies. Although the transmission of rabies through fox faeces is unlikely, it’s essential to be aware of the broader health implications of fox presence in urban areas.
Fox Poo Twisted at the End With Food Contents and Fur
Fox Poo Twisted at the End With Food Contents and Fur

How to Stop Foxes Pooing in the Garden

Here are seven different ways you can stop foxes pooping in your garden.

1. Remove Any Food Sources

One of the main reasons why foxes poo in gardens is because there’s food around. If you leave out pet food or scraps, foxes will be attracted to your garden in search of a meal. To deter foxes, make sure that you don’t leave any food out. If you have a compost heap, make sure it is securely covered so that foxes can’t get to it. Keep your fruit and vegetables picked up and put away, and don’t leave any edible treats out where they might be tempting to a fox.

Picnic Table in the Garden
Picnic Table in the Garden

2. Keep Your Garden Tidy

Another reason why foxes might poo in your garden is that it’s a good place to hide their food. If there are lots of places for foxes to hide food, they’re more likely to use your garden as a larder. To stop this from happening, keep your garden tidy. To keep your garden tidy and fox-free, here are a few tips.

  1. Keep your lawn clipped and free of long grass. This will not only make it harder for foxes to hide but also make it easier for you to spot them if they do decide to sneak in.
  2. Keep your bushes and trees trimmed. Again, this will make it harder for foxes to hide and make it easier for you to spot them.
  3. Get rid of any junk or debris in your garden. This includes things like old tires, building materials, or anything else that might provide a hiding place for a fox.
Overgrown Untidy Back Garden
Overgrown Gardens Can Create Loads of Hiding Places for Foxes

3. Block Up Gaps in Fences

To block up gaps in fences, you can use a variety of materials, including chicken wire, hardware cloth, and even old rags or towels. Simply stuff the material into the gap, being sure to pack it tightly so that there are no spaces for foxes (or other animals) to squeeze through. If you’re using chicken wire or hardware cloth, you may want to secure it in place with staples or wire ties.

If you have a particularly large gap to fill, you may need to use more than one piece of chicken wire or hardware cloth. You can also make your own DIY fence gaps filler by cutting a piece of plywood to size and attaching it to the fence with screws or nails.

Hole in a Damaged Fence
Foxes Can Get Easy Access Through Holes in Fences

4. Strong Odours

Foxes have a keen sense of smell, and we can use this to our advantage. There are several things that give off very strong odours that foxes will not like. Sprinkle a strong-smelling spice, such as curry powder or chilli powder, around the perimeter of your property. This will create an unpleasant scent for foxes and deter them from entering. Place a few drops of essential oils, such as peppermint or citrus, on cotton balls and scatter them around your yard. The strong smell of these oils will mask the smells that attract foxes and keep them away.

Soak some rags in vinegar and place them around the perimeter of your property. The sharp smell of vinegar will deter foxes from entering.

Citrus Spray Fox Deterrent
Citrus Spray Fox Deterrent

5. Ultrasonic Deterrent

You may want to consider using an ultrasonic deterrent (Amazon link – opens in a new tab). Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are designed to deter animals from entering an area. Place the ultrasonic device in your garden and turn it on. Most devices have a range of up to 30 feet, so you may need to experiment with placement to find the best spot. You should also make sure to keep the device in any areas where you do not want animals to go, such as near your vegetables or flowers. Check the device regularly to make sure it is working properly. If you notice that the foxes are still pooing in your garden, try moving the device to a different location. You may also need to increase the frequency or intensity of the sound waves.

Note: Ultrasonic deterrents are not a guarantee that foxes will stay out of your garden, but they can be a helpful tool in deterring them.

Ultrasonic Device for Scaring Foxes
Ultrasonic Device for Scaring Foxes

6. Motion-Activated Lights

Foxes are notoriously skittish creatures, and one way to deter them from your property is to install motion-activated security lights (amazon link – opens in a new tab). These lights will illuminate whenever the foxes come into your garden and immediately make them uncomfortable. These lights will startle foxes and they will learn to avoid the area altogether. You also have the added bonus that the lights are likely to keep other pests away too.

Motion Sensor Security Lights
Motion Sensor Security Lights

7. Motion Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinkler systems are another way to keep the foxes at bay. They work in much the same way as the security lights and capitalise on the fox’s skittish nature. Instead of a bright light illuminating the area, the sprinkler will spray the fox with a jet of water until it leaves – which isn’t usually very long! Again, this device will also keep other pests away from your garden which will keep the area clean and poop free.

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

How to Clean Up Fox Poo

Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you handle and dispose of fox poo safely and effectively.

What You Need

  • Rubber or disposable gloves: These are essential to prevent direct contact with the mess and any potential contaminants.
  • Dog poo bags or plastic bags: These are useful for picking up and containing the scat.
  • Paper towels or old rags: Useful for cleaning up any residues.

Safety First

Before starting, ensure you’re wearing your gloves to prevent any direct contact with the fox poo. If you’re using a mask or protective eyewear, put them on to avoid any splashes or accidental contact with your face.

Pick Up the Fox Scat

Using a dog poo bag or plastic bag, cover your hand and carefully pick up the faeces.
Turn the bag inside out, so the feces is contained within, and seal it tightly.

Dispose of the Waste

Ensure the poo bag is tightly sealed and place it in an outdoor bin or designated waste disposal area. Avoid using indoor bins to prevent any potential spread of contaminants.

Sanitize Your Hands and Equipment

Even if you’ve worn gloves, it’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you’ve used any reusable equipment, like a bucket or trowel, ensure they’re cleaned and disinfected before storing them away.

Conclusion

Foxes pooing in the garden can be a nuisance, but there are a few things you can do to deter them. By making your garden less attractive to foxes and taking steps to prevent them from getting in, you can help keep your garden clean and safe.

Note: If you are not sure if it is a cat or a fox doing their business in your garden, we have an article explaining how you can tell.

Red Fox Curled Up at The Bottom of My Garden
Red Fox Curled Up at The Bottom of My Garden
Reasons Foxes Poo in Gardens Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“When using ultrasonic devices, it is a good idea to point them at entry/ exit points!”

“Keep motion-activated sprinklers pointing into the garden and not towards the house!”

“Keep your garden clean and clear of debris to prevent foxes from using your garden to hide in!”

“Once you’ve blocked up the gaps in your fence, be sure to check it regularly to ensure that the foxes haven’t found a way around your barrier!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do foxes poo on grass?

Foxes will poop on the grass, and this is often in an open space like a field or a garden so that the scent can be carried away by the wind. Foxed also like to poop in an elevated spot like a tree stump.

Do foxes bury their faeces?

No, foxes do not bury their faeces. They defecate out in the open because they need to be able to smell their droppings so they can identify and defend their territory.

Do foxes poo in the same place?

Yes, foxes will often poo in the same areas in their territory, known as latrines. These latrines are often located near the edge of their territory and serve as a way for foxes to mark their territory.


Author

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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