How To Keep Foxes Away: Smells, Deterrents & More

Deterrents keeping foxes away

For anyone who doesn’t live downtown in a large city, knowing how to keep foxes away is a valuable skill to have.

This guide will teach you about the most effective fox deterrents. From smells that foxes hate, to humane (but effective) methods for repelling them, you’ll learn it all!

1. Use Smells That Foxes Hate As A Deterrent

Like many other wild animals you might encounter in your neighborhood, foxes rely on their sense of smell to find accessible food sources. Thanks to their heightened olfactory glands, foxes are relatively sensitive to scent-based deterrents.

Here are several smells that foxes hate which can be used as an effective deterrent.

Human Scents

One of the reasons why foxes are so good at staying hidden is because they can detect our presence long before we see them. Those vulpine senses are robust! Foxes avoid the smell of humans as much as possible, making it easy for them to stay out of sight.

Foxes respond to human scent in the same way they react to other animal scents. They see it as a boundary and territorial markings.

For example, foxes will mark their “claimed” territory by urinating around the perimeter. It’s a way to tell other foxes to stay out. Creating your own territorial markings with human scent is a great way to send a clear message to curious foxes and keep them away.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to use urine to get the job done. Human hair does the trick just as well. Gather trimmings after cutting your hair or beard. You can also go to a local barber or hair salon.

Spread the trimmings around your property. They’ll produce a subtle scent that marks territorial lines. You won’t smell anything, but the aroma is quite apparent to foxes and other backyard pests.

Quick Tip: If you don’t want to use human hair, you can try using perfumes or body sprays as a fox deterrent. Artificial scents can provide similar deterring power, but the results are usually temporary due to the lack of natural human scent markers.

Commercial Fox Repellent

Commercial fox repellent products are widely available at most home improvement stores. 

They typically come in liquid form, which you can spray throughout your property for maximum impact. What’s the magic ingredient that keeps foxes away? For most products, it’s ammonia.

Ammonia mimics natural compounds in fox urine. As we mentioned earlier, foxes typically urinate along territorial boundary lines to keep other animals out.

By applying ammonia-based deterrent sprays, you’re sending a signal that will help repel foxes in your area. More daring foxes might ignore those natural scent warnings, but most will respect the perceived boundaries and stay out.


Vinegar is a fantastic item to have on hand when you’re trying to keep foxes away. While most people use vinegar in the kitchen, it’s a surprisingly versatile pest control product. Many insects and wild animals detest the taste and smell of vinegar, and that applies to foxes as well!

The effectiveness comes down to the acetic acid. It’s a smell that foxes hate because it messes with their sensitive olfactory glands.

You have a few ways to use vinegar to keep foxes away. The most popular solution is to mix white vinegar with water in a spray bottle. Spritz your property regularly, and you should have ongoing protection that keeps foxes out.

Alternatively, you can leave some vinegar-soaked rags in areas of your yard where foxes congregate. Even an open bowl of vinegar is enough to spread the smell around and repel these animals.

Hot Pepper

Love them or hate them, spicy peppers sure do deliver a punch to your senses. Hot peppers contain a compound called Capsaicin. It’s the compound that’s responsible for the signature heat.

As you can imagine, with their heightened sense of smell, foxes hate hot peppers! While not lethal in any way, peppers tend to cause discomfort that these wild animals want to avoid.

Results can vary wildly, as many factors come into play here. However, virtually any hot pepper can be used as a fox deterrent. From basic chili to cayenne, it all has the potential to work.

Quick Tip: The easiest way to utilize hot peppers is to sprinkle dried spice around key areas that foxes like to frequent. You can also mix it in with water or vinegar. Like other scent-based methods for repelling foxes, regular reapplications are a must to maintain results.


Believe it or not, foxes don’t like the smell of garlic. It might be something we humans use to add some much-needed flavor to dishes, but foxes aren’t too keen on the distinct aroma it produces.

Garlic might not repel foxes entirely, but it can certainly have an impact. The best way to use it is to crush the garlic up and boil it in water or vinegar. Crushing garlic releases the alliinase compound, which is what creates the distinct scent.

If you don’t want to create garlic spray from scratch, commercial products are available. Either way, all you have to do is spray it around your property. Keep in mind that garlic is something you can smell after application!

2. Use Lights

The vulpine strategy is to creep into your yard in the dead of night. While you can see foxes in the daylight, these animals prefer to use the cover of darkness to remain undetected.

When lights suddenly turn on in the vicinity, most foxes will flee as fast as they can. Why not use that aversion to light to your advantage?

One of the most effective ways to keep foxes out of your yard is to install some motion-activated spotlights. You can install them in fox-prone areas to have the most significant impact. 

Once the fox triggers the detection system, the lights will flash on to frighten the animal away.

3. Clean Up Your Yard

The more overgrown and unkempt your yard is, the more appealing it is to foxes and other backyard animals.

Foxes are always looking for new places to hide and nest. Areas with tons of cover are always enticing, as it makes things easier for the animal to navigate without getting seen. High visibility is their worst enemy.

Letting your yard become a mess only provides more potential hiding spaces.

Stick to a strict yard maintenance routine if you want to keep foxes away. Trim back overgrown bushes and trees, rake up yard debris, and pull up invasive weeds. If a fox can’t find suitable places to hide, it’ll likely move on and look elsewhere.

4. Set Up Sprinklers

Foxes usually try to avoid getting wet. Interestingly enough, these animals are capable swimmers, but a soaked coat can cause tons of comfort and health issues. As a result, foxes will steer clear of rain, large puddles, and natural bodies of water as much as possible.

What better way to repel foxes and keep them out of your yard than getting them wet?

Once again, motion activation technology comes to the rescue! Set up some detection sensors on your property. When foxes trip them, your sprinklers will spring to life!

It catches the foxes off guard, soaking them in the process and turning them away.

5. Seal Up Trash

Don’t assume that your outdoor garbage cans are safe from foxes. The wild canines are surprisingly agile. They can easily remove unsecured lids and rip through bags.

Your trash cans are rife with food sources, and the smell of the contents gets stronger as it continues to rot. It doesn’t take long for foxes to notice the aroma.

A critical step in keeping foxes out of your yard is to seal your trash cans. Invest in a garbage bin with secure, snapping lids. If possible, spring for airtight models that don’t allow smells to waft around.

At the very least, you should use airtight garbage bags.

Make sure to take your garbage out for collection regularly to ensure that smells don’t fester for too long.

6. Don’t Feed Your Pets Outside

Our last tip is an important one. Don’t leave pet food out in the open.

If possible, bring your cats or dogs inside to eat. Foxes can detect the food you provide. It’s just as appealing to a fox as it is to your pet. Whether you’re feeding dry kibble or tasty canned food, it’s all enticing to foxes!

Feeding your pets outside will only cause the smell to spread and attract unwanted pests. Do the feeding inside to save yourself the trouble.

If you must feed pets outside, make sure to clean up afterward. Give your pets all the time they need to finish meals. After that, bring in the dishes!

Never leave food outside overnight. Doing so will only train the foxes to return every evening for an easy snack.

Why It’s Important To Keep Foxes Away

Spotting a fox in your backyard can be a sight to behold, but these wild animals are anything but cute and cuddly. They can be a significant nuisance, wreaking havoc on your property and garden.

Curiously, foxes are distantly related to dogs. However, they lack that human familiarity, adopting a nervous temperament that keeps them out of sight. Masters of evasion, the critters keep to themselves and wait to cause destruction under cover of night.

Foxes can cause all kinds of trouble. Natural omnivores, these animals survive on a mixture of plant-based foods, meat, and carrion. 

It’s essential to keep foxes away if you have livestock, because these animals can be dangerous. They’re more than capable of killing smaller farm animals like chickens or rabbits. Slow and predatory, foxes find sneaky ways to prey on any animal they can sink their teeth into.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the livestock they will eat. Foxes can also hunt down pets, creating a serious safety risk for small dogs and cats.

Even if your pets are too big for a fox to prey on alone, they can still turn your property into a danger zone. The wild animal can become aggressive in the face of confrontation. Most are easier to repel because they’ll become afraid at the mere sight of danger, but older foxes tend to hold their ground and become hostile around humans and pets.

As if that weren’t bad enough, foxes also spread diseases. They are known carriers of the rabies virus, infection-causing coccidia parasites, and sarcoptic mange mites. All of those issues can affect you, your family, and your furry friends.

That alone should be enough to make anyone want to repel any foxes in the vicinity. But if you need a little more convincing, there’s also the matter of widespread property destruction.

Ultimately, foxes will upturn every corner of your yard to find food. They might start in easy-to-access trash bins, rummaging through your garbage to find tiny morsels of rotting food. Then, the wild animals can move onto your compost pile, making a mess that you’ll have to clean up later.

Have a carefully cultivated garden? If foxes infiltrate your yard, it’s only a matter of time before they destroy it! Whether you’re growing seasonal vegetables or have thriving fruit trees, foxes will consume it all and destroy the plants in the process.

Even a single solitary fox can cause a lot of headaches. That’s why using fox deterrents to repel these animals is such a good idea. Otherwise, these creatures might end up becoming an ongoing hassle that prevents you from enjoying your property at all.

How To Keep Foxes Away From Chickens

Chickens are a prime target for hungry foxes. They’re the perfect prey animal. Not only are they easy objectives, but an adult chicken provides plenty of meat to keep these pest animals going.

If you have chickens on your property, it’s only a matter of time before they attract foxes. The best way to keep foxes away from chickens is to make your yard as unappealing as possible. Use some of the tips we went over earlier to your advantage. They will act as your first line of defense.

Even then, it’s a good idea to take other precautionary measures. Give your chickens nighttime protection by keeping them in a coop. You can still let them roam free in a confined area with perimeter fencing. But a secure enclosure is a must to prevent attacks at night.

Don’t assume that simple fences will be enough to repel foxes. Chicken fencing needs to extend deep into the ground, as foxes can dig underneath to hunt their prey. Many recommend using thicker wire gauges for the fence, too.

Foxes are cunning enough to make their way through standard chicken wire, so you need to cover all your bases. 

If you want to go one step further, consider investing in an electric fence. 

Keep an eye on your chickens and address any damage to the fence or coop. Foxes have a knack for leaving behind very few signs of their presence. As a result, many don’t even notice they’re dealing with foxes until a significant number of chickens are gone.

Maintain the coop and fence to ensure that your chickens have as much protection as possible. Along with standard deterring methods, you shouldn’t have any issues keeping foxes away from your chickens.


Knowing how to keep foxes away will make your life a whole lot easier. And fortunately, there are many effective methods you can choose from!

We hope you found this guide helpful and feel prepared to repel foxes. Whether you decide to do it with smells they hate, or more proactive methods, these creatures shouldn’t bother you anymore!

Previous Post
A raccoon making sounds

What Do Raccoons Sound Like? All Noises & Vocalizations

Next Post
A scorpion found in the house on the floor

What To Do If You Find A Scorpion In Your House (Safest)