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5 ways to outfox foxes in Adelaide

Wednesday 06 October 2021

Foxes are a threat to many of Adelaide’s native animals, along with pet chickens, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits. Here’s four ways to reduce their threat.

Foxes are everywhere in metropolitan Adelaide. You can find foxes more-so around cities than rural areas for the simple reason that city life suits them. This is because there is plenty of food and shelter in urban areas.

Are foxes good or bad?

Foxes are an introduced and pest species in Australia.

Adelaide has a widespread population of them, and this is bad because they can:

  • hurt and kill Adelaide’s native animals
  • prey on pet rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and other pet birds, and
  • carry a diseases like mange that can spread to pet dogs.

    As foxes have been around since the 1850s, most of our remaining native wildlife have adjusted to their presence, so eradicating foxes from our suburbs and cities is not realistic, we instead need to reduce their threat to native wildlife and our pets in metropolitan Adelaide.

    Here’s five ways you can reduce the threat of foxes across Adelaide:

    1. Keep your chicken coop secure

      Foxes are good climbers and can climb pens. So the best way to protect your chickens from raids is to fox-proof them in a fully enclosed pen or coop. A fox-proof enclosure should be made from material that foxes cannot jump over, chew through or dig under.

      2. Avoid leaving fox food lying around

        Foxes living a city life become scavengers and feed on anything – rubbish, food left out for pets, even fruit that’s fallen from backyard trees.

        3. Reduce fox access to potential shelter

          Foxes don’t need much living space and can build a den under a house, or a quiet part of a neighbourhood. Things like wood piles, old tires and green waste make great homes for foxes.

            4. Don’t feed wild native animals

              When you feed native animals this makes them less wary of others and this includes being less wary for foxes. So keep those snacks at home.

              5. Record sightings in FoxScan

              You can help control foxes in metropolitan Adelaide by recording sightings in FoxScan. Anyone can use FoxScan to record information about foxes. Information you record can be used to manage foxes more effectively to reduce the damage they cause. The more information you record, the more useful FoxScan will become for fox management.

              Fun fact: native animal tactics to outfox foxes

              Some native animals can outfox a fox, like possums and native water rats.

              Possums are known to race up tree tops and move around on rooves and power lines to keep safe. Whereas, native water rats (or rakali) keep safe by living in rivers and lakes and foxes prefer to stay dry.

                Ringtail possum. Picture: Martin Stokes

                Remember, though some may look cute, it’s illegal to keep foxes as pets in South Australia.

                  This story was originally published in May 2021.

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