People often describe foxes as cute, and with their beady eyes and long snout, it’s easy to see why. Unfortunately, between marking their territory, pawing through trash cans, and digging wherever they please, the swift-footed animals aren’t so cute when you’re sharing your property with them. Luckily, you might only need a little noise to reclaim your land.
Because foxes are sensitive to noise, you can reduce their activity around your home by creating a variety of sounds that scare foxes. Some noises that scare them away are yelling, loud music, sound machines, wind chimes, and whirligigs.
Join us as we take a closer look at foxes, including how to scare them off your property and why they might be there in the first place!
Yelling Can Scare Away a Timid Fox
Like most wild animals, foxes are easily scared away with a bit of yelling. Just be warned, you might not be the only one screaming!
Certain species, including the red fox, make screaming noises during mating season. Males often yell to mark their territory and warn other males to stay away, while males and females both emit screaming sounds to attract a mate.
Surprisingly, many species of fox remain in mating pairs even with all that yelling.
Hollering and clapping are both great ways to spook an unsuspecting fox. Just make sure you don’t wake up the neighbors!
You Can Whistle Foxes off Your Property
Most of us had at least one friend whose mom or dad could emit a whistle that stopped us dead in our tracks. Luckily, it works for foxes too!
Whistles can scare foxes off your property and prevent them from engaging in nuisance behaviors. They can work for other pesky wildlife as well.
There are several ways that whistles are used to help control animal behavior. For example, dog whistles are often used in training, and deer whistles can help prevent wildlife from jumping out in front of your vehicle.
Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy whistle to scare away foxes. These Lightweight Emergency Whistles are tremendous and can be attached to keychains or lanyards. And with five in a pack, you’ll always have one handy!
Of course, don’t rely ONLY on whistling, but it can startle them, causing the fox to skat in the other direction.
Music Might Keep Foxes Away
Yelling and whistling are great options, but nobody has the time to sit and wait for a fox to appear. If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, you might want to try music.
Radios can be used to keep foxes out of your yard and garden. Simply place a speaker near the area you want to keep foxes out of and let it do its magic.
There’s a reason why foxes are portrayed as cunning in stories, however, and they may become privy to the fact that nobody is around. You can prevent this by changing the volume and alternating between music and talk radio.
For a detailed practical method, take a look at our guide on using radios to deter foxes – the conversational tone can keep them away!
Use a Sound Machine to Scare Away Foxes
If you don’t want to sit around your lawn all day waiting to yell at a fox, but you’d instead not run a radio all day either, you might think about trying a sound machine.
Sound machines can be helpful because they play a variety of sounds that scare away foxes.
Thunderstorm sound machines might work to scare wildlife, as most wild animals seek shelter when they hear thunder.
Other sounds that may scare foxes away are spooky sounds! Sound boxes like this Infrared Motion Sensor Haunted House Scream Box are triggered by motion and can scare away unsuspecting wildlife.
The only downside to this is that you cannot pick and choose who triggers it, so make sure you let guests know about it before they accidentally set it off!
Foxes Don’t Care for Poppers
Poppers, otherwise known as snap-its, snappers, and cherry poppers, are tiny balls that make a snapping sound when thrown at the ground. These explosive little balls will send foxes fleeing instantly.
Foxes dislike loud or sudden noises, which is why fireworks, firecrackers, and poppers can be used to scare them away.
Poppers must be thrown at the ground on a hard surface, so where you can use them is limited. However, you need to be reasonably close to the fox for it to make an impact.
Additionally, they work well when trying to scare foxes out from under porches or out of a den.
Barking Dogs Might Keep Foxes Away Temporarily
Foxes make a variety of noises, including barking. This is how they can tell one another apart. Still, they tend to avoid the sound of other animals barking.
The sound of barking can scare foxes away from your home. That said, the clever animals might learn that the sound doesn’t pose a threat if your dogs are inside or have a limited range of movement.
Speaking of noises that foxes make, have you ever wondered what a fox actually says? Check out this list of sounds foxes make and how to identify them!
Use Wind Chimes To Keep Foxes Away
Who doesn’t like the sound of a wind chime tinkling softly in the wind? Well, apparently, foxes.
You can scare foxes away from certain areas of your property with loud wind chimes. This works because the animals don’t understand where the sound is coming from and think a human is nearby.
You can keep the animals from getting used to the noise by moving the chimes continuously so the sound comes from a different direction each time.
Additionally, you might consider alternating between deep-tone wind chimes like this Outside Deep Tone Sympathy Wind Chime and ones that make more unique sounds, like this Classic Zen Bamboo Wind Chime.
Or, you can make your own wind chime with pots and pans!
Keep Foxes Away With Pinwheels and Whirligigs
They aren’t the noisiest things in the world, but pinwheels prove that sometimes even the slightest sound can scare an unsuspecting fox.
Streamers, pinwheels, whirligigs, and anything else that moves in the wind can scare foxes away from gardens and outside living areas. The movement and noise will reflectively send the fox running.
Of course, this only works if there’s wind to move the items, as the pinwheel itself probably won’t scare a fox away.
Outdoor decorations like these Cute Garden Pinwheels can be placed in gardens and near compost piles to keep foxes out of these areas.
Overall, this method isn’t as dependable as other methods on this list, but it’s worth a shot if you’re in a pinch!
Other Ways To Deter Foxes
As their natural habitat becomes scarce, many fox species have had to adapt to a more urban way of life. Sadly, this means they’ve also adjusted to living amongst humans. So what can you do when dealing with a fox who’s comfortable with the sound of humans?
Keep Foxes Away from Your Garden with Motion Activated Sprinklers
Although foxes are technically part of the canine family, they have a feline-like aversion to water and getting wet.
Motion-activated sprinklers can be placed near areas you want to keep foxes away from. Although they can and will swim when necessary, foxes tend to avoid getting wet whenever they can.
This aversion to water is likely because of their thick coat. Thick coats take longer to dry and don’t retain heat as well when wet. Additionally, the extra weight makes it harder for the usually nimble animals to escape predators.
Are you looking for a natural and humane way to keep foxes away from your garden or trash cans? Check out this Motion Activated Repellent Sprinkler from Havahart, which can detect animal movement up to 60 feet away!
Bright Lights Make Foxes Wary
Red foxes are nocturnal, and this is true for many fox species. Because they’re most active at night, you can use lights to deter foxes from your property.
Motion sensor lights scare foxes because it gives the impression that someone is nearby. Foxes don’t understand that the lights are triggered by motion, so they believe a human is around.
Check out these Solar Powered Predator Deterrent Lights to protect your garden or livestock from foxes and other predators. Not only is the flashing light visible for up to a mile away, but it can ward off foxes, lions, tigers, and bears—oh my!
Fences Can Slow Down Foxes
Fences have long been used to protect lawns from pesky wildlife. And although foxes are quite skilled climbers, a wall can slow them down.
Metal fences that dig into the ground and stand at least four feet tall work best to keep foxes out. The animals can scale wooden walls quickly because of their sharp claws and will dig or shimmy under a ground-level fence.
Additionally, according to The Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, most foxes can jump up to three feet, so taller fences work best.
It’s worth noting that fences are more successful when temptations on the other side are removed because if there’s something the fox wants badly enough, they’ll work tirelessly to find a way across the barricade.
Repel Foxes With Fox Repellents
Sometimes scaring a curious fox once is enough to keep them from returning, but what can you do if the fox decides to share your property more permanently?
Repellents that contain scents and tastes that foxes dislike can be sprayed around your property to ward off foxes. Repellent can keep foxes out of certain areas, scare the animals away from a den, and even chase them off your property for good.
Foxes are territorial animals who often mark their territory with scat and urine. By spraying predator urine near these areas, you can fool a fox into thinking there is a dangerous neighbor nearby.
Additionally, if you’re having trouble with a fox eating your garden, try spraying the plants with a mixture of chili peppers and water. Foxes dislike the taste and won’t likely return to eat from your garden again.
Speaking of things that foxes hate, check out this list of the surprising smells foxes can’t stand and use them to make your own fox repellent.
What Attracts Foxes To My Yard in the First Place?
The best way to ensure your yard remains fox free is to remove the things that call them to your property in the first place. But what is it that attracts foxes?
Foxes Need Food
Like most animals, foxes need food to survive. However, foxes aren’t as picky as other animals about what they eat.
According to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, foxes are omnivores whose diets often depend on the season. The skillful hunters prey primarily on small mammals but will also eat birds, amphibians, vegetables, berries, nuts, garbage, and pet food.
Securing your trash in heavy-duty trash bins like this 33 Gallon Locking Garbage Can help you keep wildlife away from your trash. You can also remove compost as a food source by storing it in bins that sit up off the ground.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to safeguard any livestock pens and keep pet food cleaned up and put away at night. Since foxes feed on various rodents, reducing rodent activity in your yard can also minimize fox activity.
Foxes Need Water As Well
In addition to seeking food, foxes commonly wander into yards searching for water. If you have a pool, stream, fountain, pond, or large puddle in your yard, a fox will likely find it.
Although removing water from your yard is difficult, you can start by covering standing water at night. Pools, fountains, bird baths, and small ponds can be covered to reduce fox activity. Also, check any hoses and faucets to prevent leaking water.
Larger water sources can be protected with repellents, fences, and several of the deterrent ideas listed above.
Foxes Need Shelter Too
Despite their reputation, foxes are pretty vulnerable and need shelter to hide from predators, remain warm, and raise their young.
Although foxes typically reside in dens, urban foxes will sometimes reside in sheltered areas such as under porches and buildings. Many times, the animals will move into a previously abandoned burrow.
You can deter foxes from living around your property by fencing off porches, stairs, and sheds so the animals cannot get underneath.
For a more in-depth look at what might be drawing foxes to your property, check out this list of the things that attract foxes to your yard and how to fix them!
How Do I Know If There’s a Fox Nearby?
Although several species of foxes exist worldwide, they share many of the same characteristics. And when you know what to look for, it’s fairly easy to determine if you have a fox living nearby.
Some signs to watch for include:
- Musky smells
- Digging sites in gardens and lawns
- Disturbed garbage or compost
- Damage to garden plants
- Missing pet food
One of the most notable signs of fox activity is digging. Foxes dig for several reasons. They dig burrows to live in and raise their young. They dig in lawns and gardens for grubs and earthworms to eat. And the sly creatures will even dig holes to hide uneaten food for later.
Unfortunately, all of this digging is often unwelcome. Especially when they start digging up flower beds and garden crops!
Are Foxes In My Yard Any Reason For Concern?
Foxes have earned a bad reputation over the years and people often worry about sharing their lawns with them. But are foxes always bad neighbors?
Generally, foxes prefer to avoid humans. Even those who have grown up in urban areas (and are more accustomed to humans) try to avoid us when they can. That said, there are times when they can become a nuisance.
Foxes Eat Your Plants
Foxes are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals.
One of the biggest threats foxes pose to a household is the destruction they may cause while searching for food.
They might dig up or trample a garden, and they commonly paw through compost piles and trash cans—without cleaning up after themselves!
Foxes Target Livestock
Hungry foxes may also target livestock and pets if the opportunity presents itself.
Although they don’t usually bother larger animals, foxes sometimes attack chickens, ducks, rabbits, kittens, lambs, and other small mammals.
On the other hand, they will also commonly eat mice, rats, gophers, woodchucks, and other nuisance pests!
Are There Any Good Things That Foxes Do For My Yard?
Okay, we’ve listed various ways to scare foxes off your property, but is it possible for foxes and humans to co-exist?
As we’ve already mentioned, foxes can damage gardens, and wreak havoc on an unsecured garbage can. That said, foxes can provide free rodent extermination and be a lot of fun to watch from a distance.
At the end of the day, foxes aren’t out to hurt you. They’re wild animals who are just trying to survive.
As long as you keep an eye on small pets, secure your trash cans, and find a way to keep the critters out of your garden, foxes can be quite enjoyable neighbors.
That’s a Wrap!
If something has been tipping over your trash cans or pawing through your garden at night, there’s a good chance you have a foxy visitor. Luckily, since foxes are often quite timid, you can typically scare the skittish creatures off with a bit of noise.
Foxes dislike the sounds of:
- Sound machines
- Firecrackers or bang-snaps
- Barking dogs
- Wind chimes
- Pinwheels and whirligigs
Because foxes are smart, changing the noises frequently or using a variety of the methods described above works best to ensure the critters stay away. Otherwise, the animals may become accustomed to the sound and ignore it.
Remember, if you are unsure how to tackle your fox problem, use our article to call a local professional to ask about removal options.
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Kamler, J. F., & Ballard, W. B. (2002). A review of native and nonnative red foxes in North America. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 370-379.
Saunders, G. R., Gentle, M. N., & Dickman, C. R. (2010). The impacts and management of foxes Vulpes vulpes in Australia. Mammal Review, 40(3), 181-211.
Smith, G. C., & Harris, S. (1989). in urban fox populations. Mammals as pests, 209.
Towerton, A. L., Kavanagh, R. P., Penman, T. D., & Dickman, C. R. (2016). Ranging behavior and movements of the red fox in remnant forest habitats. Wildlife Research, 43(6), 492-506.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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