RALEIGH, N.C. (August 11, 2010) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding residents that foxes sighted in urban and suburban settings are not necessarily rabid or dangerous, and residents can take a few simple steps to avoid conflict with the animals.
Simply seeing a fox is not a cause for alarm. Catching a glimpse of one can actually be a rewarding experience in that it provides an opportunity to witness one of North Carolina’s most adaptable species. However, people still should not approach foxes or fox dens, even if they seem harmless. If the fox makes a den for pups, do not disturb them. Do not approach, touch or feed the fox or its pups.
In most cases, citizens that simply see a fox do not need to take any action. However, some action might be necessary in situations where foxes have become habituated to people. In those scenarios, people can and should take steps, such as yelling, banging pots and pans and setting off legal fireworks, to chase foxes from yards and neighborhoods. Be aggressive and repeat these actions if the foxes do not leave.
In order to prevent a situation where this type of action is needed:
- Don’t feed wild animals – they can lose their fear of people.
- Make sure you are not indirectly feeding wildlife – by cleaning up pet food, securing trash in an animal-proof container, keeping barbecue grills clean and removing bird feeders.
- Establish protective barriers to keep wildlife from entering basements, crawl spaces, attics and beneath decks, where they might build nests or dens.
- Secure pets or keep them indoors. Dogs can disturb dens, prompting aggressive behavior from the foxes.
- Clear overhanging tree limbs or other means of access that wildlife can use to enter a structure.
- Clear fallen fruit from around trees.
- Encourage neighbors to follow these same methods.
If the above solutions fail to remedy the problem, contact the Commission at (919) 707-0010.
If a fox exhibits signs of rabies, such as aggression, stumbling, and foaming at the mouth, call your local animal control office.