From the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation:
People are seeing adult foxes near their homes and becoming alarmed. What they don’t realize is that foxes are coming in close to people to raise their families because coyotes are in the further out areas. If a coyote finds a fox den, it may dig up the den and kill all the young. Foxes know this so they choose what they believe to be the lesser of two evils and come in closer to humans and away from the coyotes to have their litters. Please be kind and “rent” out your space to momma fox. You will be glad you did.
Foxes may have a den under your shed, porch, barn or in the back yard in a hill. The family will likely be moved in a few weeks to a new place. When the pups are older (July, August) they will start to be seen less and less. By September, the fox family will be gone and everything will be back to normal. Red foxes will not live in a den year round. They only den to raise their families. Out of a litter of 6, it is likely that only two or three foxes will live to see September.People are often alarmed, thinking their family pets and children are being stalked or will be attacked. Not so. Foxes do not want to kill or eat your child, cat or dog.They eat primarily mice, rats, rabbits and woodchucks. They may certainly watch your pets with concern, bark at them and may even chase your cat back into your yard or up a tree if it goes near the den. Of course, thankfully, many cat owners realize the many risks of allowing their cats to roam free, and that cats kill young wildlife, so hopefully, they keep their cats supervised when outdoors. Your 16 pound kitty will be able to hold his or her own against a fox, and in fact, foxes and cats often develop friendships and play. Remember, it is the nature, and the fox belongs there.
Please allow the mother fox to raise her pups in peace. Do not hire someone to “relocate the family” this will not work! The most that will happen is that one or two pups will be caught (and surely killed by the hired person) and the mother will get scared and move her family. Most states have laws that state captured wildlife must be killed. Be patient, enjoy the fox family. it is a lot of fun to watch the pups scampering and tumbling with each other. In fact, it is a lot better entertainment than most TV shows on these days. Enjoy the breath of fresh air and the beauty in your back yard- it may be a once in a life time event for you.
Many people are afraid they can’t let their animals out to go potty now. keep in mind that before you realize the family was there, you let your pets out and everything was OK.
Red foxes are Not nocturnal! Momma works very hard to feed her family. She will work all day and night catching rodents, snatching roadkill and bringing it back to her growing babies. Foxes also eat a great deal of grasses and insects too. They are omnivores.
If you really can’t have a fox family in your yard, you may place an object such as a punch balloon, chair or a bucket near the den, but not too close as to scare momma away from grabbing her pups and moving them away from the scary object. About 10 feet from the den should be enough to concern her. Think about this though, momma felt safe enough in your yard to have her pups there. Where else will she be able to move those pups where they will be safe?
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