The subject of deterring Mr Fox is one (as you can imagine) that crops up all too frequently here at the League. But one highly effective method that sprung into the public eye recently is taking a more cultured approach...
Humans have a had long term love hate relationship with the fox. The pro hunt movement will have you believe the fox is vermin, a vicious conniving killer that needs to be exterminated in order to protect other mammals or livestock.
But the fox has no motive, neither is it evil or out to cause people misery. He (or she) is a clever carnivore, hunter and opportunist. If you have a fox ‘problem’ then you are best looking at what the attraction is first (rubbish, small pets, shoes, chickens…), and removing the temptation, disguising it as best you can or using a deterrent. The range of mammal deterrents on the market are literally endless, and range from chemical, acoustic and sonic repellents to light emitting objects and various kinds of fencing.
Recently, a friend who had constant problems with an ‘urban’ fox defecating on his doorstep was advised to leave a bunch of lavender by his door. Sure enough it worked, and there as been no sign of his visitor since.
For larger landowners the most effective method of predator exclusion is the electric fence. I appreciate this to be costly for some, but there are always options for isolating areas such as chicken coups.
But the story of using the power of Radio4 blasted at top volume is without doubt my favourite.
As reported widely a few weeks ago, workers at Abbotsbury Swannery say playing Radio 4 at full volume has proved successful in keeping the foxes at bay. The idea came from a Devonshire farmer who had accidently made this discovery and continues to use this as his preferred method of fox control.
The theory goes that the fox believes the constant chatter of human voices to be real and therefore stays away. The Swans are not affected as they are accustomed to human chit chat, and who knows maybe they even enjoy it – genius!
It just goes to show that thinking outside the box does pay off sometimes. Killing foxes will rarely make a difference to the local fox population as they are territorial. Once a fox has been ‘removed’, another will replace it within weeks. Fox populations grow in accordance to food supply, so less available food means less foxes.
We are always keen to hear of new, humane approaches to predator control so if you have tried and tested anything new that works then we would love to hear from you. Please email your ideas to : firstname.lastname@example.org