Friday, April 9, 2010

The Fox Fiasco

While we don't live in a heavily wooded area, and we DO live in an urban area, we seem to have quite a bit of wildlife around our house. We often have bunnies and saw a woodchuck/groundhog in our yard once. Last June I saw a fox in our backyard, and I had NEVER seen a fox before. I was so surprised!

Well, this year we'd heard some "cat-in-heat" noises outside that our neighbor informed us were fox-in-heat noises and that there was a fox den 2 blocks east of us. We started to see a fox in our yard occasionally and we thought she was really cute.

On Tuesday, I was preparing our backyard for playgroup when I noticed a dead duck by our back shed... Gross! I suspected the fox, of course. When the kids and I were headed out the door to take them to school, we saw the fox again. Then Hannah noticed fox BABIES with the big fox... I counted five babies, and they were piling out from under our shed!! They were SO cute, and we just couldn't believe it.


After more dead animals in the yard, and not feeling safe about letting our kids in the backyard, we decided we would have to get rid of them.

Pete called animal control, but they only deal with domesticated animals. He was given some other phone numbers to try but came up with nothing. Two people suggested he talk to someone at the local nature preserve, and that ended up being the most helpful. It's illegal to disturb a fox den, so we would have to discourage the foxes from hanging out in our backyard. After a little online research I decided to sprinkle cayenne pepper around the shed. I was coughing and hacking, but guess who it didn't seem to bother?


Yep, this I took this picture a few hours after peppering the yard...

Next on the list was to remove their shelter, so we decided to board and brick up the openings under the shed. Previously, we'd thought that there was a hole dug under the shed, but I was happy to find after further investigation that it was sitting on a concrete pad. We were very noisy and made sure the foxes weren't around, then Pete cleaned up two more dead ducks and a smaller bird (boy did they STINK!!). After that we started putting bricks around the shed to block the openings. We had four, 8 foot fence posts behind the shed and they were PERFECT for blocking three of the sides. We took the bricks from our landscaping, so we didn't have to buy anything except the cayenne pepper.


Pete also took the opportunity to clear out the area between the shed and fence (something that should have been done when we bought the house... probably BEFORE we bought the house, but we were stupid.)

So far, no more foxes! I'm sure we'll see the mama fox around, but hopefully she'll keep her babies somewhere else and FEED them anywhere but our yard!


Laura McIntyre said...

Aww i love foxes , we had a 3 legged one at my parents house that always hung around and visited everyone was so cute.
Glad you got the nest sorted though