September 12, 2013
Fox Advisory, Area of Jockey Lane in the Fox Chase Development of Tinton Falls
Management of Fox Problems:
Problems associated with foxes include depredation on domestic animals, perceptions of danger to humans (healthy foxes pose virtually no danger to humans), and their potential to carry disease organisms. Foxes will prey on small livestock such as ducks, chickens, rabbits, and young lambs, but generally do not bother larger livestock. Cats may also be preyed on.
Potential food sources, such as pet food, meat scraps on compost piles, and pieces of bread left out for the intention of attracting or feeding wild animals should be eliminated. Foxes that travel into residential yards should be harassed or scared with loud noises to prevent them from becoming habituated. During the spring, disturbing a den site physically or with unnatural odors (or a natural deterrent, such as coyote urine) may prompt foxes to move to an attractive den which may be farther from houses.
Foxes, especially red foxes, commonly live in close association with human residences and communities. They frequently inhabit yards, parks and golf courses, especially areas that adjoin suitable, undeveloped habitat. Healthy foxes pose virtually no danger to humans. Foxes can grow accustomed to human activity but are seldom aggressive toward people. Expanding housing development, particularly in historically rural areas, increases the chances of interactions between humans and foxes, as well as other wildlife.
Many homeowners do not realize that their lawn may be a more attractive habitat to foxes than surrounding mature forest. Eliminating healthy foxes is not warranted based solely on human safety concerns. People uncomfortable with the presence of foxes should remove the attractants, exclude foxes with fencing and employ scaring techniques.
Foxes can carry the organisms responsible for several contagious diseases such as mange, distemper and rabies. Animals that appear sick or that are acting abnormally should be avoided. The following symptoms may indicate the presence of rabies or other neurological diseases in mammals: unprovoked aggression, impaired movement, paralysis or lack of coordination, unusually friendly behavior and disorientation.
Local animal control officers, police, or the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Control Unit or the DEP Hotline (877-Warn-Dep) should be contacted if assistance is needed with a diseased animal.
Advisory adapted in part from information provided by the NJDEP. See www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw for further information.