Lots of places on your land has the potential to become a cosy new home for the average passing wild critter, and this is definitely the case for the space under your shed, porch, decking, or stairs. Foxes love these areas, alongside a wide range of other wild critters, and that's why you should look at making those space animal-proof, if you haven't already. If you haven't had a wild animal invasion yet, it will only be a matter of time before it happens.
If you think you might have a den of foxes under your shed or porch, the best thing you can do is wait it out, if you have the option to do that. If the shed or porch is at the bottom of the garden, for example, you don't need to get too close, and you can keep all pets away from that area for a while, as well as any kids you have living in the same household. After about eight or nine weeks, any mother foxes will have had her babies and weaned them to a point where they can leave the nest and start looking for food of their own. You can wait for just the right opportunity — after they have left one night, and then seal the area up, making sure there is no way for the animal to come back.
Once the animal has left, we would highly recommend looking at fencing options, which is going to be your first line of defense against ALL wild animals. If you have a space, such as under the shed or porch, that is relatively open and the perfect hiding place for a fox and her cubs, you have two options. You can either open that space up entirely, or seal it off entirely. When you open it up, free the area from clutter and hiding spots, the fox and her young won’t have anywhere to hide. If you seal it off entirely, you’ll be sealing off the area form all wild animals, and that is never a bad thing.
You will need to first make sure that you have removed the animal, or the animal has left of its own accord, before you take any action. Certain fox species are endangered and protected, and this means that the removal of them will need to follow certain laws and regulations. These laws will change from state to state, and they may even change from year to year or season to season too. If you aren't sure of the correct laws and regulations in your area, give local wildlife removal experts a call. We are happy to give you free advice over the phone, especially when it comes to making sure an animal is evicted in a safe, humane, and lawful way.
How to get foxes out from under a shed or porch
You have a couple of options here. You could use scare tactics — bright lights, loud noises, that kind of thing. Alternatively, you could look at using repellents, such as smell or taste aversion therapies or high-frequency sounds. You will often find that making a noise or shining lights into the area will cause the critter to run away, but it could also bring about an attacking action from the animal. If it's a mother and she believes you are going to harm her young, she will defend them using any and all forces necessary. If that means going for you with her sharp teeth and claws, she’ll do just that. Wouldn’t you do whatever it took to keep your children safe too?
You could look at using traps, baited with a tasty treat, with the intention of luring the fox out and into a safe, confined place. This comes with more disadvantages than benefits sadly, and also poses you with quite a large problem at the end of it. It is generally not lawful to release an animal that has the potential to carry rabies, back into the wild. You can't release it on private property, without permission from the land owner. You can't release it on public property, without permission from the land owner. You won’t be able to gain permission from the local authorities to be able to release the animal on public land, because of that rabies threat, and you will be left with a fox in a cage that you don't know what to do with.
That’s just one of the reasons why trapping is a job best left to the experts.
How to deal under a shed or porch once a fox has left
As we mentioned at the beginning of this piece, you can either seal the now-vacant space up entirely, using chicken wire or hardware cloth, as well as looking at simple property modifications that will prevent the animal from coming back. Fencing around your property will stop all manner of critters from being able to get in, and if you make sure you take away the things that are attracting them in the first place, the animals won't actually have a reason to come closer. If you don't have food, water, or shelter readily available, you have nothing to offer. The creature will simply move along, to a home or building that does offer food, water, or shelter.
Just removing the animal is not going to be enough. You will need to look at preventative measures to stop the fox from coming back and starting up the same problems all over again. This is why sealing the spot works, and is a process that should be taken for all wild animal invasions. If you don't seal the holes, and wild-animal-proof your home and land as best as you can, it will only be a matter of time before these creatures come closer and closer. And, once they're in, they're oh-so-difficult to get out again.
Read aboutHow to get rid of fox
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.
Animals in the attic - read about the common species.
Noises in the attic - how to identify critters by their sounds.