From Dora the Explorer to Zootopia, media has never given foxes a favorable reputation.
Despite their cute little faces, foxes have always been accused of being smart thieves and most people fear they might also be violent and dangerous.
However is it really the case, are foxes known to Attack Humans -Especially at night?
Do Foxes Attack Humans at Night?
No, Generally Foxes Do not Attack humans at Night.Their poor reputation has surely spread some fear around, but the truth is that fox attacks to humans at night are very uncommon.
Foxes are actually evasive creatures that will avoid fighting situations unless provoked or encouraged. So rule says that if you won’t bother them, they won’t bother you either even if you see one during the night when they are the most active.
Urban foxes are still considered as wild animals, and while eradication or interaction with them is off-limits, here are a few recommendations when it comes to dealing with them. Keep reading to find out more!
Are Foxes Dangerous To Humans At night
Foxes belong to the same family as dogs, which also relate them to coyotes and wolves. Maybe this is where their bad reputation began. On the contrary of their close cousins, foxes do not hunt in packs and as talented hunters as they might be, against popular belief, nor humans nor domestic animals are their target.
Foxes might actually be more afraid of us than humans of them. In fact, the National Welfare Society reassures that foxes are shy creatures that will avoid as much as human contact as possible.
Their flight before fight policy makes foxes a very rare threat to humans, and even if such interaction happened, foxes will not commonly attack unless they are unwell or cornered.
Vulpes Vulpes– their scientific name- are actually considered one of the least aggressive mammals found in urban locations. However, they are still wild animals and panicking or distress situations can unpredictably alter their behavior.
Foxes’ anatomy was made to hunt only small prey and they would naturally stay away from bigger predators, including humans.
In the unfortunate and rare event that a fox attacked someone, the main concern would not be the inflicted wounds (which would be similar to those provoked by a dog or a cat) but the fact that foxes could carry diseases and parasites that would require medical attention and a tetanus vaccination, like with most of any other animal bites.
According to The Fox Project a fox bite would be painful, but the chances of infection are less than those transmitted by domestic animals. Even if rabies has been eradicated in the UK, canine rabies can be amongst the common diseases a fox carries. Toxoplasmosis, Toxocara, mange, and flees are some others.
Can foxes eat humans?
Media has surely given them a poor reputation, but the truth is that these solitary predators are only a menace for small creatures and a few livestock. Against what most people think, foxes are not carnivores.
Foxes are actually omnivores, meaning they have a diverse diet based on plants, fruits, and other small animals–birds, eggs, rodents, insects, lizards and rabbits. Like any other wild animal, their natural surviving instinct will protect them from danger while hunting, so they will probably stay away from most cats and dogs too.
Urban foxes cannot eat humans, but they can become dependent on food sources provided by humans. A fox eats about 1 pound of food per day, and they are actually opportunistic eaters that will take advantage of leftovers in rubbish cans, pet’s food, and other fruits and vegetables they can find in gardens.
Do Foxes Go out at Night?
Yes, foxes are nocturnal creatures and they go out at night, meaning they usually go out hunting in dawn and go back to their lairs to sleep before the sun comes out again.
While research shows that 86% of foxes activity starts happens as soon as light goes out, from early summer to mid-autumn daylight activity can be registered because adult foxes go out more in search of food for their young, and also teach them how to hunt.
Their nocturnal conduct has to do with their hunting patterns. Like many other nocturnal creatures, foxes prefer to go out when less competition, distractions and activity interrupt their cunning skills to hunt.
Foxes have extraordinary smell and hearing capacities (they can identify possible prey as far as one kilometer, even underground) and they have an acute night vision that makes darkness the perfect haunting scenario. But scientists believe human activity contributes to nocturnal behavior.
Just like foxes do not want to be seen by their prey, they do not want to be seen by their predators, which in this case are mostly human. Foxes survive up to 15 years, but life expectancy of an urban fox is just of 2 years before they are killed or injured by a human.
What time do foxes come out?
Well, foxes can start their activity a few hours prior to sunset and return to their dens before dawn. This is usually by 8 or 9 p.m. and before 5 or 6 a.m. but it really depends on your location and time zone.
Foxes are territorial and solitary hunters who will most likely follow a predetermined route close to their dens than encounter another group member.
Foxes spend around six-hour total outside; the first part of their night they will monitor and search their territory to identify the best feeding spots. In the winter, while mating season, it is more common to spot two or foxes haunting together.
Do Foxes Attack Humans at night?
While foxes go out hunting at night, unless the fox is feeling threatened, ill or motivated by human contact such as offering them food, healthy foxes will not attack a person. On the few reports of fox attacks, specialists confirmed that they involved a rabid creature or human trying to catch or feed them.
If you spot a fox that presents abnormal behavior such as falling, going around in circles, or convulsing, they can be infected or injured. Please keep children and pets away, and contact local authorities so they can take care of it the best way possible.
So, will a Fox attack you at night if they see you? No. Actually, they will most probably run away. Both grey and red foxes are elusive animals that will always try to keep their distance from larger animals, including humans, that does not mean they are friendly animals so you should always try to stay away from them too.
Foxes are most likely to live in burrows during most time of the year, especially from December to September while mating and raising their cubs, but sometimes they can seek temporary shelters with easy access to food and water.
Some people promote feeding and providing shelter for them, which can lead to creating an unpleasant habit and encourage a bolder attitude. Martin Hemmington, the founder of the NFWS, firmly advises to not treat them like pets to reduce the risk of town foxes getting used to human interaction and depending on food sources. This means you should not feed or approach them–especially because their wild nature exposes them to diseases and parasites.
Will red foxes attack humans at night?
No. The red fox is the most common species in Britain, but just they are only on the hunt of small prey, not humans or domestic animals–unless they are small rodents such as hamsters, which are always advised to keep indoors.
They are frequently found in the countryside, but they have adapted their lifestyle into urbanized cities. Red foxes are considered a bit of a nuance because they tend to trash rubbish cans, gardens and dig holes, but they represent no actual danger to humans.
Will grey foxes attack humans at night?
Grey foxes are less common in cities but still have made their way through our urbanized areas. Still, these slightly smaller and darker foxes prefer more lonely territories abundant in water and trees such as forests and woodlands where they can put to use their excellent swimming and climbing aptitudes.
They rarely represent a treat to humans either. Being smaller than a house cat, they are shyer and less adaptable than red foxes; so establishing any interaction will even be rarer. Grey foxes are excellent rodent hunters and love to feed on eggs, but just like the red fox, they are opportunistic omnivores.
Do Foxes Come Into Houses At Night?
It is not common, but it is possible that a fox can come into your house at night. While foxes have a natural fear for humans, they are still opportunistic hunters who will take advantage of any free food, water and warm shelter–especially during the winter.
Those spoiled foxes who have been fed and sheltered before, will most likely become dependent on that food source and even lose their fear of humans– which can cause a more daring attitude approaching other people for food.
However, experts agree that most home-breaking reports have younger foxes in common. Around August, cubs will be naïve and self-sufficient to explore and investigate the world on their own, causing more trouble than adults; that does not mean they are more aggressive, they are just curious teenagers exploring new independent food resources.
As John Bryant, an urban wildlife expert commented to BCC “I’d not leave my door open as young foxes are all over the place at the moment and they’re a bit like teenage hooligans – and very curious”
What To Do If A FOX Approaches you At Night
The first recommendation is to keep calm. As established before, foxes are not naturally violent, and, like any other animal, foxes will only attack if they feel threatened, cornered, or in need to protect their young.
Watching them from a safe distance will not provoke them and you might as well enjoy the visit from this furry little friend. Just remember to avoid any kind of interaction with them, especially hand-feeding them.
However, if you do not find these nocturnal animals’ company pleasant, there are a couple of recommendations to keep them away from your garden and home:
- The Human Society reassures that loud noises can scare foxes away since they would rather hunt in silence and have a sensibility to certain frequencies. A proven method is to leave a radio on all night to dissuade them.
- Consider blocking or fencing all possible entrances to your garden. Keep in mind that from March to September fox cubs are born and raised, so if you find a den it is recommended to wait until autumn to block that entrance with sand to avoid evicting the cubs. Dens are identifiable because it will be a 30 cm hole in and have a musky odor.
- Remove or cover all sources of food and water. These include pet’s leftovers, accessible rubbish bags, and bird feeders. Spraying garlic and chili pepper, it’s said to be a natural repellent.
- Do not leave unattended toys or shoes outdoors. Foxes, especially cubs, can be playful and be attracted to rubber and leather items.
Is a Fox Dangerous to my Dog?
It is common for pet owners to be worried about their loved creatures being in danger. The brief answer is that foxes rarely represent any danger to dogs; actually they are no match in size and strength for most domestic animals and will more likely run away. They usually ignore each other, but research shows it is more common for dogs (and cats) to chase after foxes, than the other way around.
Due to their size and strength, reports do exist on foxes attacking smaller breeds, kittens, and puppies, so it’s better to keep a close eye on them.
In the uncommon situation that foxes and domestic pets interact, take them to the vet or call animal control. It’s highly recommended to always have your pet’s vaccinations up to date, just in case.
Will a Fox eat a Burried Pet? – Yes. Foxes love feeding on corpses because they are an easy catch, it’s in their nature and it’s not personal. Since it can be a delicate subject for some family members, a solution can be to put a big stone above the ground where the pet is buried, making it harder for foxes to get to it.