Fox are prevalent throughout the United States. There are four main fox species active in North America. This includes the the Swift and Kit fox, which is found in the western part of America and the Gray and Red fox which is found on both sides of the country. Like the coyote, fox have learned to live amongst man. They have adapted well to urbanization and have learned to take advantage of man while living in our backyards. Here is a short video showing a red fox foraging around day break in a subdivision just outside the city of Atlanta.
Fox will feed on a variety of food. This includes carrion, rodents, insects, fruit, vegetables, small animals like pets, livestock and birds. Fox tend to be more solitary and only are found in pairs during mating season. Fox are most active at night between dusk and dawn. Only in remote rural areas will they forage during the day unless it is either young or a particularly hungry fox. Fox are not known for their speed but rather their ability to move about undetected and silent. They are able to stalk the smallest of prey with precision eyesight and deft hearing. Female fox will have 3-10 pups from March to May, depending on the part of the country. Fox are solitary. Their den will only house a female and her young.
Fox become a problem when their feeding leads them to our gardens, livestock or pets. Fox damage may be hard to find. Though fox will readily eat pheasant, quail, chicken and turkey they will also eat eggs and can cause huge financial losses to both the commercial farmer as well as the weekend gardener. As people build ponds stocked with fish, turtles and other live animals, fox find these areas and quickly learn to feed on the bounty. Such private fisheries provide a quick meal; these small “ponds” offer no protection for the fish and wildlife man tries to keep as pets. It is hard to blame the fox for their actions. In the wild, their feeding serves a purpose. However, in urban areas, conflict is an ever growing problem. This video features a young red fox which is perfectly comfortable coming into the back yard of a home in a residential neighborhood and bedding down.
Homeowners are now more likely to see a fox than in any other time of our countries existence. These animals are fun to watch and many times welcomed when first found. However, be aware of their presence. Small vulnerable pets are no match for a wild fox. Both cats and dogs are easy prey as well as all the beautiful birds, squirrels and chipmunks around the bird feeder. If you are seeing a lot of activity by a fox in your yard, be careful. Neither is a “dog” which wants to be petted and you should never feed them intentionally. Because of the damage they do, fox need to be removed and relocated when encountered in many urban communities. This can be done with the use of several types of traps and lures. These traps can be used in many ways and over the years, furriers have developed some great ways to trap even the most wily fox. If you have fox causing problems on your land, it may be time to start trapping them.
The most common type of trap used for fox over the yeas has been the leg hold design. This includes both the COIL and the LONG SPRING traps. These traps are used many ways. If you are an experienced trapper, than you know how to make a set and what to use to make successful sets. If this is a new activity for you, this article will not be able to detail enough information in order for you to go out and trap successfully. We suggest you get our FOX AND COYOTE BOOK which goes over several methods and sets which are the most effective methods and sets known. Simply put, they work. The handbook is both easy to read and explains the details clearly with illustrations. There are two “lures” or “scents” that are needed when working with any leg hold trap as you will learn in the book. These is FOX URINE and either RED or GRAY FOX LURE . These special formulations enable you to make good sets which will be both free of your scent and alluring to either species. For the more experienced trapper, you may want to try FOX SNARES. These are less expensive to use for start up costs, but to be effectively used, many more must be put afield. These are precision traps and must be set along trails, pathways, holes or in exact locations where you know fox travel. In the end, you will probably spend as much time and money making effective snare sets as you would making leg hold sets. Traditionalists use leg holds, modern trappers have adopted snares and a good balance is probably a good idea.
Another method of trapping which used to be thought of as impossible to do is live trapping. Recent trap design combined with “step trapping” will enable you to live trap a fox. Step trapping is the process of putting a trap out unset with the door wired open. Food is then presented to the target animal over a period of nights. It is recommended that you offer food outside the trap the first night, at the traps entrance the second night and then in the trap the third night still without actually setting it. It is also suggested that the trap is disguised by covering it with landscape on the sides, top and bottom. One very effective way to camouflage the trap is to utilize pine straw bales, leaves and sticks. The trick is to completely surround the trap which includes the sides, the back and the top. Pull straw through the mesh from inside the trap. Be sure to use either mud, dirt or more straw to cover the bottom of the cage. The cage should appear as a small hollow in the side of a stacked quantity of pine straw when the set is made properly. Fox are accustomed to seeing straw stacked this way as they are accustomed to seeing wire in farm areas so you don’t have to cover every exposed piece to have success. Fox urine can be used on and around it or maybe a specific food if you know they are coming to feed on something close to where you are making the trap set. By making the trap appear to be a “cage” rather than a trap, you can catch a fox in a live trap. Here is a video showing how a professional might make such a trap close to a home where fox has been seen.
Remember, making a live trap set close to where you suspect the fox is feeding is key. Fox will be wary of a live trap which is placed in the woods where such a set is not natural. If you want to successfully live trap a fox, you will need to do so by making your set where the animals are currently active and causing destruction. Instead of trying to build a stronger better fence, try making a live set at or near the entrance path you know the local fox is using. Either a LT151842 or the LT152248RD will usually be big enough. Remember, the bigger and taller the trap the better.
If you have a fox preying on live animals like chickens or some other small bird, consider getting the LT152248RD with a Bait Cage. We will wire the bait cage into the trap and it makes a great set when filled with a live bird or other small animal. Fox cannot resist entering and this setup will almost always result in a fast catch.
Fox are distributed all throughout the United States and are becoming more and more of a problem. They are causing destruction and damage to gardens, livestock and other wildlife. Though essential to the balance of nature, fox will readily take advantage of easy prey. Homeowners, weekend gardeners and farmers are finding more and more damage being caused by these canines. To control local nuisance animals, use Coil or Bridger leg hold traps. Snares are also an option though they demand some skill and experience to become effective using them. Live trapping is now an option and with the right bait, live catching a fox is possible.
Is it legal to trap a fox and keep it as a pet??????????????????????
Tech Support says
@ashley: Probably not. In most states it’s prohibited from keeping wild animals as pets but you’ll need to check your local ordinances to see for sure. Call your local “animal control” office; the one funded and run by your state. I’m pretty sure most every county in the USA has one. If you’re not able to find a local office, contact your local Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Game or whoever handles the local hunting and fish regulations. I’m sure they’ll be someone there who can answer for sure.
We have a -ton- of foxes running around our area (a neighbor was keeping them as pets in her culvert)… now that the babies have grown and have had babies of their own they are becoming an enormous headache for us since they are eating our chickens like crazy!…. We’ve been able to catch 2 of the 3 pups by our place but the mom fox seems way too smart to go near a trap… any ideas??? We’ve tried the raw meat (hamburger) leaving it by their den opening… and have had no luck! Any other suggestions????
Tech Support says
@Jacey: Don’t waste your time with meat. Use something alive along with the live bait cage we talk about in the post above. Fox get hypnotized by prey animals like rabbit, rats, mice and other small animals. Using one in live trap like the ones we have featured above will work hands down; using lures and meat will tend to catch young, immature animals only so your experience thus far is to be expected.
Bait Cage: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/cage/live-bait-cage
Last night my cat was ripped apart by either a fox or a coyote all that was left of her was her back legs is the above trap the best way to go? Plus was curious what I should do when I do catch the predator that likely killed my cat? What do you think killed and ate her? Can a fox really catch a mid aged fit cat? Or was it likely a coyote? Thanks for the time anyone!
Tech Support says
@adam: Without knowing what predator animals are active in your region, it’s hard to say. I do know fox, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, cougar, bear, badgers, fisher cats and raccoons have been known to attack cats but I’m sure there are more possibilities. And if you only found the hind legs, it was most likely consumed by the killing animal.
well I live in Englewood Colorado all likely hood it was fox or a coyote and I was told a lot of cats in the neighborhood have been missing lately so I take it it’s a good time to trap the culprit?
Tech Support says
@adam: We deal with many subdivision residents and other small communities that get predators and in most cases, the kidnapping of pets will continue until the feeding animal is removed. These communities will sometimes hire a service company to do the work or get from us the equipment to do the job themselves. It sounds as though some action will be needed in your community if you wish to stop the behavior unless this animal runs out of food and moves on. In most cases, once a predator gets established, they tend to stick around so if you choose to “wait and see”, it could prove costly.
A coyote or fox killed our two cats. We were new to the area and did not know about the predators in the area. We let our cats out during the day and kept them in at night. One night they did not come back and were killed. Then we found out that many cats in the area were killed or missing. And we found out that there are a lot of fox and coyotes in the area and we have seen them. We have been trying to trap them but have not had any luck. I need some tips on how to trap them. Thanks!
Tech Support says
@Rich: If you read the article above, you’ll get a bunch of tips and guidelines on how to trap a fox. No doubt there are certain critical things that must be done like having the right sized trap. We actually have many people contact us who are using a trap that’s just not tall enough and fox won’t enter anything too small. So for starters, make sure it’s at least as large as as the traps we have listed above.
The second thing you need to do is cover the trap as demonstrated in the video above. Ideally, the trap should be somewhere you know the fox has been foraging. Once such a location is found, set it up by covering it like we did in the video. When done properly, the trap should be presented as a potential den or other natural bit of landscape so the fox is curious to inspect it and not to be wary of it.
Next, use the “step trapping” method explained in the article. This is done by first baiting just outside the trap, then at the trap entrance, then slightly inside the trap and eventually deep enough inside the trap so that the entering animal will set it off and get caught. This method will “teach” the fox to be comfortable with accepting the food close to the trap which over time will build trust. And once he gets comfortable being around the trap and feeding, it will be easy to get him to enter.
Now if you don’t have the patience to step trap and get the fox acclimated to the trap, get one of the Bait Cages we have listed and use this to hold a rat, squirrel or chicken inside the main trap. Using live bait is very effective for fox, coyote and bob cat and in most cases, you’ll be able to get them to enter with a lot less effort.