Foxes have been present in many towns and cities for a long time, so their presence is not a novelty. However, their arrival in some urban areas, particularly in northern England, is relatively recent.
They are generally fearful of people and try to avoid both adults and children. Occasionally, they are a little bolder and will enter gardens in broad daylight to search for a quiet place to rest, look for food scraps or just because they are curious. This boldness isn't a sign of aggression - a healthy fox would only attack a person if provoked.
Many people get great pleasure from watching foxes in their garden but it's important to remember they're wild animals that could carry disease. Therefore, you shouldn't try to touch or tame them.
If you choose to feed foxes, they'll eat meat in almost any form - cooked or raw - and cooked vegetables too. Only put out enough food for one meal, otherwise leftovers may go off and cause sickness or attract other unwanted animal visitors.
The RSPCA has in the past funded scientific research into foxes in urban areas, the general conclusion of which was that they were for the most part only a minor nuisance and that most people enjoyed seeing them. The size of fox populations in urban areas is held in balance by the foxes' own system of spacing themselves in family territories. The territory sizes are linked to the availability of food supplies.
Some people suggest that relocating or destroying foxes that are present in one part of town is the answer. However, this will simply encourage other foxes to move in from other areas and take their place. Therefore, this option is not only disproportionate to the problems the animals are alleged to commit but is also ineffective. It also conflicts with those who gain a great deal of pleasure from seeing foxes and enjoy the idea of wildlife thriving in a seemingly hostile urban environment. In the past destruction of foxes has been undertaken by some local authorities but was stopped because of greater awareness of the animals, the ineffectiveness of such a policy and the expense of such a policy. Additionally, moving foxes from one area to another is not appropriate and not considered humane.
Read our information sheet: Living with foxes (PDF 228KB).