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City foxes are no longer a rarity in this country either. Because the clever animals have learned that life can be good among humans. However, if you have discovered your own garden, you should only drive the fox away with gentle measures.

In a nutshell

  • Foxes consider the garden a good source of water and food
  • Foxes may not be killed, tortured or captured
  • You should be suspicious of particularly trusting foxes (risk of rabies)
  • Taming red foxes is prohibited


Foxes are carnivores of the canine family. In Central Europe, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the only representative of the true foxes (Vulpini). Therefore, he is often just called "fox". Foxes have a body length of about 70 centimeters. The tail length is between 30 and 40 centimeters. The fur is reddish on top and white on the underside. The silver fox is a color variant of the red fox. Its fur is dark gray to black.
The food opportunist makes no special demands on the habitat. Forests, fields or grassland are its home. Since the 1980s, however, foxes have also been increasingly sighted in large cities. Because cities offer the so-called city foxes various offers:

  • rich food supply (compost heaps, garbage cans, leftovers, rabbits, fruits, insects, mice, rats, dog and cat food)
  • safe retreats (piles of wood, sheds)
  • Disturbance-free spaces (parks and cemeteries at night)

In addition, a large-scale fox hunt in the populated areas is hardly or only poorly feasible. The size of the home ranges varies. One to two fox families per 100 hectares are considered low density. For the rearing of young animals, the female likes to occupy garden houses, tree stumps, rock crevices, sheds, garages, sand heaps, compost or piles of wood.

foxes in the garden

From the fox's perspective, your home garden has many enticing offerings. These can be roughly divided into four categories:

  • food and water source
  • security and protection
  • game options
  • favorable location of the garden

As sources of food and water, the fox sees:

  • fish ponds and pools
  • irrigated lawn (earthworms)
  • the grill
  • fruit trees, berry bushes and vegetables
  • Pets (tempting smell)
  • cat and dog food
  • Bird bath, bird bath or bird seed

Dense shrubs and trees give the red fox cover and protection. For an ideal shelter foxes consider:

  • scales (including below)
  • space under the terrace
  • garden shed

Foxes like to play with toys for dogs and cats that are lying around. Shoes and gardening gloves made of leather also invite them to play. But the trampoline or the garden lounger also encourages the red fox to play. Foxes see the following as a favorable location:

  • direct access to the other three points
  • direct neighborhood with a park, a forest or allotment gardens

protection of species

The red fox is a nature reserve in Germany. Therefore, private individuals are not allowed to catch, poison or otherwise kill the fox in the garden. In addition, no dogs may be set upon foxes. Chasing away is permitted as long as the wild animal is not harmed.

drive away foxes

If a red fox has discovered your garden for itself, you will usually only see the traces of the visitor. However, should you encounter Master Reineke, you can drive him away using simple means:

  • loud shouting
  • loud clapping
  • vigorous trampling
  • jumping up and down repeatedly

A short, cold shower with a garden hose also drives foxes away. Under no circumstances should you intervene if the red fox has cubs. Because in this case he can see you as a threat from which the boys must be defended. You should therefore inform the responsible authority (forestry office, nature conservation authority, game warden).
Since taming wild animals is prohibited, you should not lure foxes or even offer them food. If the red fox loses its shyness, it will soon not only visit your garden, but also walk into the house. If he feels cornered there, the animal will defend itself. Also, in general, you should keep in mind that foxes are wild animals and not pets.

Attention: If the red fox appears trusting, then you should exercise caution, as this is not typical behavior. It is therefore best to keep your distance. In areas where there is a risk of rabies, the animal may also be infected with the disease and transmit it through saliva or a bite.

keep foxes away

remove food sources

Since foxes are undemanding omnivores, they will eat anything that is easy to catch. That's why they attack the garbage can in the garden. But an uncleaned grill also attracts foxes. In summer, fruits such as cherries, plums or plums are on the menu. Therefore, you can keep foxes away by depriving them of food sources:

  • Weight and/or fasten rubbish bins
  • Clean grill after grilling
  • remove fallen fruit from the ground
  • Do not put dog and cat food outside
  • Cover compost heap
  • Place bird seed fox-proof (at least 1.5 meters high)

Deprive other attractions

In order to scare the fox away permanently, you should make your garden as unattractive to the fox as possible. This includes:

  • don't leave toys behind
  • Stow garden utensils well
  • Clear away garden loungers
  • Secure trampoline

Because as long as foxes find attractions, they will keep coming back to you. Therefore, these measures also include a certain amount of detective work to find out what attracts the fox so magically.

outdoor lamps

Outdoor lights that respond to movement at night will repel foxes as they will be startled by the sudden light. However, motion detectors are not a permanent solution, as the foxes soon get used to them.

human voices

Foxes are shy animals. When people are around, they usually move away. Therefore, you can simulate human presence with human voices. A radio that is set up and tuned to a station with little music and a lot of speaking voice helps. Here, too, you should expect that Master Reineke will only be deceived for a short time.

Tip: To avoid conflicts with the neighbors, you should announce this measure in advance.

frequently asked Questions

How to protect rabbits and hares from the fox?

Since foxes are very good at climbing and digging, you should secure the enclosure accordingly. Also make sure there are no holes in the fence. Foxes can squeeze through a hole eight centimeters in diameter.

The fox in my garden eats my berries, what to do?

It's best to reap the rewards. But it is also recommended to cover the bushes with a special mesh. So they can keep foxes away from berry bushes.

I miss dog toys. Was that a fox?

Since foxes find dog and cat toys interesting, they may take them with them. Or maybe it was the neighbour's cat.

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