Discover 6 Smells Foxes Absolutely Hate and Keep Them Out of Your Yard
If you have a garden and live in a rural area, chances are you’ve had to deal with foxes at one point or another. Foxes aren’t really pests, but they can sure feel like nuisances when they’re tearing up your plants.
Common Types of Foxes
Foxes are a member of the Canidae family which includes wild dogs and coyotes. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Canid Specialist Group recognizes 22 different species of foxes. Out of the 22 species, 12 of them are considered to be ‘true foxes’. They are more closely related to one another than other canine species, while the other 10 ‘false foxes’ are most closely related to wild dogs. Foxes live all across the world, on every continent except for Antarctica.
The red fox is the most common fox species in North America and the largest of the true foxes. It’s native to a few places including North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Red foxes were also introduced to Australia and quickly became one of its most invasive and destructive species.
Gray foxes are a little more skittish than their red relatives, but they will still take from your garden if given the chance. Gray foxes will often raise their kits in areas where food and shelter are available, so they may choose your garden for this purpose as well. The good thing is that they are not dangerous to children or pets unless they are rabid. Generally, gray foxes eat small mammals and birds, fruits, and vegetables.
How Do You Stop Them From Coming In Your Yard?
Despite the fact that foxes are not dangerous and don’t pose a threat to humans (unless they are rabid, which is rare), you may not want them in your yard. The good thing is that there are a few things you can do to keep foxes from coming into your yard.
First, you can block their entrances. Foxes travel to places that are accessible and provide coverage. Block any places they can crawl into under your home in a nearby shed. If you have a greenhouse, make sure it is sealed tight. Take care to repair fences and prevent any gaps they could crawl under.
If you have sources of water like ponds or bird baths, you’ll want to cover them. Foxes will stay close to a water source especially if it’s in or near a garden. If you keep animals outdoors like chickens or rabbits in pens, make sure the cages are secure.
After removing their food, water, and housing, if you’re still having issues, you can spread certain smells to discourage them from coming into your garden. Keep reading to discover 6 scents that foxes hate that will help keep them out of your yard.
Hot peppers like chili and cayenne contain a compound called capsaicin. It’s what gives them their spicy taste and burning sensation. For animals that have great noses, like most canines, the smell and burning sensations are heightened. While the spicy, uncomfortable feeling may be enough to scare foxes away, you can feel better knowing that it won’t actually hurt them. It may burn for a while, but it is non-lethal and a safe way to discourage the furry creatures from getting in your garden.
You can sprinkle dried chili peppers or cayenne powder around your garden or in problem areas. You can also mix the dried peppers with water to create a spray.
What do foxes and vampires have in common? They both really hate garlic! When you crush garlic, it releases alliinase. This unique compound is what gives garlic its long-lasting scent often referred to as ‘garlic breath’. However, in this case, you’ll be glad that garlic has such a strong stench. It might just be enough to scare off any creatures who were curiously looking to make your garden their home.
Similarly to the hot peppers, you can use crushed (fresh) garlic sprinkled around your garden and in any spots the furry creatures normally get into. You can also mix fresh crushed garlic with water in a bottle and spray it around your garden.
If you’re thinking of strong, nose-burning scents, white vinegar certainly must make the list. White vinegar gets its potent smell from acetic acid, the compound that gives it its acidic taste as well. You can even buy concentrated white vinegar that’s made to be used around the garden in a ready-to-spray form.
Along with spraying the vinegar, you could also soak rags in it and hang the rags around your garden. Additionally, you could leave bowls full of vinegar outside. Similar to the hot peppers and garlic, this is something you’ll have to refresh or reapply regularly. Some gardeners have found success mixing white vinegar with peppers or garlic to enhance potency.
The smell of humans is usually enough to keep foxes away, which is one reason you’ll rarely see them in highly populated areas. Spending time in your garden leaves your scent behind, but there are a few other things you can do to literally ‘mark your territory’.
The first and most effective is by using your own urine. It may be a dirty job, but human urine is one of the most potent smells to ward off foxes. It tells them that the area is occupied and since they will usually flee from humans, they’ll also flee from their scent. However, if using the bathroom outside or spreading your urine around makes you too uncomfortable, there are other options. You can also use human hair clippings to scare them off. Spread the clippings around the edges of your garden and in any entryways. Despite it being a little off-putting, human urine is one of the least smelly scents on our list and also the most functional.
Fox Repellent (Synthetic Urine)
Fox repellant, which is synthetic urine, is sold in stores and garden centers for the purpose of repelling foxes. It’s made to smell like another fox has already marked and claimed the territory of the area. That’s mainly due to a compound called ammonia, which mimics the natural ammonia present in urine.
Using essential oils, particularly strong ones like peppermint oil, usually has a mixed response. That’s because peppermint oil can be toxic to cats and foxes, especially if ingested. Some gardeners have found success with dipping old tea bags in the oil and then hanging them around the garden. Hypothetically, animals shouldn’t be able to reach the hanging teabags, which keeps them safe. While the method might work, you’ll have to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Summary of Scents That Repel Foxes
|1||Hot Peppers||Sprinkle dried peppers around the garden. The compound in them called capsaicin will burn foxes’ noses and deter them.|
|2||Garlic||Crushed garlic releases alliinase, a strong-smelling compound to ward off foxes.|
|3||White Vinegar||White vinegar has a strong acidic smell from acetic acid, which burns foxes noses and makes them leave the area.|
|4||Humans||Human urine and hair clippings make foxes think humans are there which scares them off.|
|5||Fox Repellent||Synthetic fox urine tricks foxes into believing the area is occupied by another fox, causing them to leave.|
|6||Peppermint Oil||A controversial choice, peppermint oil’s strong scent can be too strong for foxes’ delicate noses. It can also be toxic to them as well as cats.|