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How to deal with red fox dens in suburban areas, from the DEC

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Red fox

A fox prowls a parking lot in Provincetown, Mass, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Capital Region is home to many red foxes, and ’tis the season for coupled foxes to burrow into dens to raise families. As flowers bloom and songbirds migrate to the area, the Department of Environmental protection starts to get calls about foxes digging up gardens or nesting under decks.

The red fox is endemic to the area, and especially prevalent in rural and suburban parts of the region. Though once overhunted for their beautiful fur, the wild fox’s biggest threat today is a car speeding down a highway. Small and opportunistic predators, they typically weight just over 10 pounds, the size of a large house cat.

Fox seek out den sites in the spring to raise their young called kits. For some homeowners, fox den are not in ideal locations, including under sheds and porches. If you encounter a fox den in your yard, the DEC says you have a few options:

  • Do nothing: Leave the foxes alone, and enjoy watching kits grow up and play in the yard. They typically outgrow dens by the end of June.
  • Scare it away: Disturb the den with loud noises to threaten the fox parents to relocate to another den.
  • Remove food sources: Do not store, feed, or leave food outside for wild or domestic animals. Secure your garbage to eliminate easy pickings.
  • Mend fences: Build a secure barrier around your yard and plug up inviting holes or hollows (provided there are no foxes already inside).

The DEC also says that foxes are commonly active during the day throughout the spring and summer, and a kit left alone in a den is usually not abandoned. Instead, the parents are typically hunting for small wild creatures (not pets or children).

If you see an animal that seems sick or rabid, contact the DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife.

The DEC suggests setting up a game camera to watch the foxes or other wildlife from afar. Otherwise, leave the animals alone.

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