The fox can be found throughout Europe. In Northern Ireland it can be found in a wide variety of habitats including moorland, woodland, farmland and urban and other suburban areas.

Foxes are mainly active at night and during the day time in urban areas they lie in thick cover such as alongside railway lines, in parks, cemeteries, on derelict land or in overgrown gardens.

They may go to ground in earths or dens. Earths may be specially dug or they may use dens under sheds or other buildings.

Life cycle

The main breeding season is January to February. Fox litters are born late March and early April, with the average litter size being five.


Signs of foxes

Signs that foxes are using an area include:

  • Hair: left on thorns and barbed wirefences.

  • Droppings: pointed at the ends and twisted in appearance containing undigested food remains.

  • Footprints: four toes on both fore and hind feet with claws.


Prevention of damage

If damage is occurring it will probably be more effective to look for a means of prevention rather than to engage in a prolonged campaign to destroy foxes.

It is illegal to lay poison baits for foxes, as is the gassing of foxes.

Fencing which is at least 2 metres high and 30cm buried in the ground would keep foxes out of property.

There are a number of commercial animal repellents approved for use against foxes on the market. The manufacturers instructions must be followed.

Creating noise and disturbance can discourage foxes from using dens.