Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were originally introduced to mainland Australia in the 1850s for recreational hunting and spread rapidly. Today, they are abundant in all states and territories except Tasmania, where they are still at low density.
Foxes are opportunistic predators and scavengers and have few natural predators in Australia. Red foxes pose a threat to livestock, as they prey on poultry, lambs and kids. In high density areas they may also be a health risk to humans and pets, through transmission of diseases such as distemper, parvo virus and mange.
Evidence suggests red foxes are a primary cause in the decline and extinction of many small and medium-sized rodent and marsupial species in Australia. They also prey on many bird species.
- IA CRC product status update - August 2015 update on status of IA CRC products in development
- Fox legislation in Australia - Current fox management strategies and techniques are governed or affected by various Commonwealth, state and territory laws. Fox predation as a key threatening process The Australian Government (under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and some state governments (New South Wales, Victoria) have proclaimed fox predation as a key threatening process. […]
- Foxes in Tasmania - Introduction Foxes pose a significant threat to Tasmania’s biodiversity and agricultural sector. The potential cost of an established fox population has been estimated at over $20 million annually, with more than 70 native species, including 12 species already listed as threatened and 34 with locally restricted ranges, at risk of predation or competition. […]
- Advances in the molecular ecology of foxes - Introduction Foxes are highly secretive and cryptic animals. They are wary of humans, highly mobile and occur at relatively low densities across the landscape. These factors make the collection of key biological and ecological data relevant to their control, such as density and survival, challenging. Management decisions are often made without a full understanding […]
- PestSmart Factsheet: Fox Bounties - Bounty systems offer financial incentives to hunt and destroy pest animals. Bounty systems offer what appears to be a simple solution to pest animal problems by providing financial rewards to reduce pest numbers. However, reviews of past bounty schemes from Australia and around the world show that they are an ineffective form of pest animal […]
- Fox – humaneness matrix - Matrix showing the relative humaneness of fox control methods. The ‘humaneness’ of a pest animal control method refers to the overall welfare impact that the method has on an individual animal. A relatively more humane method will have less impact than a relatively less humane method. (Sharp and Saunders, 2008) has been developed under the […]
- PestSmart Factsheet: European Red Fox - Biology and Ecology: Although 3 colour morphs (red, silver or black and cross) are generally recognised worldwide, the red morph is most common in Australia. In general, throat and abdomen are white, lower legs and ears are black and a bushy tail is tipped in white. This animal exhibits a wide geographic and sub-species variation […]
Understand your fox problem
Set objectives & develop plan
Choose your strategy
Control and monitor
There are many reasons to control foxes; for example, to protect native wildlife in your area, improve lamb survival on your property, help your neighbour out, reduce the risk of fox-borne diseases such as mange or tapeworm, or prevent the killing of your backyard chooks. However, fox control is not something you do after the damage starts. Foxes are widespread and numerous across the landscape. They are highly mobile and efficient breeders, and can quickly move in and recolonise areas where fox numbers have been reduced. ‘One-off’ or reactionary control programs may kill a few foxes in the short term but there is little change in fox population numbers and the level of fox damage over the long term.
The solution is an integrated fox management plan which takes a long term, landscape approach to controlling the impact of foxes. Integrated fox management is a planned approach, with clear aims, realistic levels of management, and the ability to monitor and evaluate the outcomes. You take advantage of the fox biology ‘weak spots’, and use your resources more efficiently and effectively, resulting in a long term impact on foxes and the damage they cause and maximising the outcomes for the prey species.
Generally, no single strategy or control technique will completely remove foxes from an area, so integrated fox management relies on a combination of strategies and techniques to keep on top of the fox problem.
- Best practice guidelines for the use of guardian dogs for the protection of livestock in Australia - Project to develop a best practice manual that provides examples of where guardian dogs have been used successfully to protect livestock.
- Trapping Introduced Predators for the Protection of Biodiversity and Livestock: an instructional DVD - Development of this instructional DVD for trapping introduced predators (wild dog, red fox and feral cat)
- Vertebrate Pesticides: An Australian Guide - This project has produced a publication containing relevant information on all the currently registered vertebrate pesticides in Australia
- Demonstrating the potential resilience of fox populations to coordinated landholder baiting programs for agricultural protection - The main goal of this project was to evaluate and demonstrate the ability of conventional baiting practices to suppress fox populations.
- Glovebox Guide for Managing Foxes - This glovebox guide is part of the PestSmart Toolkit for Foxes, produced by the Invasive Animals CRC. It is designed to provide current information on best practice fox management for land managers, pest animal officers and others involved in the management of foxes. This includes general information on: developing a fox management plan integrated approaches […]
- Baiting for fox control - Introduction: Poison baiting is currently the most effective broad-scale method of fox control. Toxins used against foxes in Australia must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Baits can only be obtained through licensed officers or designated government agencies in each state and territory, and there are strict guidelines relating […]
- Fencing for fox control - Introduction Barrier or exclusion fencing is a non-lethal method commonly used to prevent fox attacks on domestic livestock and threatened wildlife species. Although fences are commonly used to protect livestock (eg poultry) from fox predation on a small backyard scale, they have only recently been used on a larger scale in Australia. This has […]
- Fox shooting and hunting - Introduction In Australia, landowners are permitted to hunt and shoot foxes on their own land provided they are appropriately licenced. Recreational hunters and shooters need to gain permission from private landowners to hunt or shoot on their land. Hunting and shooting on most public lands is prohibited, although in New South Wales regulated hunting […]
- Guardian Dogs: Best Practice Manual for the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs. - Livestock guardian dogs are medium to large sized dogs that are kept with livestock to protect them from predators. In Australia they are mainly used to protect sheep, goats and poultry, but they can work with any type of livestock; for example, with cattle, horses, rabbits, deer, emu or ostriches. These dogs live permanently with […]
- Improving Fox Management Strategies in Australia - The European red fox was introduced into Australia in the 1870s for recreational hunting. Their subsequent spread was rapid and they are now responsible for environmental and agricultural impacts valued at over $200 million per annum. Despite greater public awareness about feral cats, foxes are considered to be Australia?s greatest predation threat to the survival […]
- Monitoring techniques for vertebrate pests – Foxes - The purpose of this manual is to provide details of the techniques available to monitor the fox in Australia. By providing a step-by-step description of each technique it will be possible to standardise many monitoring programs and make valid comparisons of abundance and damage across the nation. This is becoming increasingly important for the states, […]
- First aid – 1080 and your dog - This pamphlet has been designed as a guideline to provide basic first aid information for suspected 1080 poisoning of pet and working dogs.
- Managing Vertebrate Pests: Foxes - Introduced to Australia over 100 years ago as an animal for the hunt, the European red fox is now common through most of southern Australia and is one of the country’s most damaging pests. Foxes prey on native animals and are believed to be responsible for the decline or even extinction of several species. Foxes […]
Standard Operating Procedures – fox control
- GEN003: Trapping using soft net traps - Soft net traps consist of a flexible metal frame and netting and/or bag which collapses over the animal when triggered. Soft net traps rely on entanglement to secure and hold the targeted animal, potentially reducing the risk of injury. Soft net traps are used to trap feral and nuisance domestic cats and dogs, foxes, birds […]
- GEN002: The care & management of dogs used in the control of pest animals - Dogs are used for a range of pest animal control operations. This procedure provides advice on first aid and basic care for dogs used in these situations. It is written to prevent harm to dogs, and encourage their humane treatment. This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override […]
- GEN001: Methods of euthanasia - The word euthanasia means an easy death and should be regarded as an act of humane killing with the minimum of pain, fear and distress. Euthanasia of a range of animal species is often necessary during pest animal control programs and occasionally in research involving the capture or restraint of pest animals. Therefore, all researchers […]
- FOX006: Trapping of foxes using cage traps - The introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has a significant impact on native fauna and agricultural production. Fox control methods include lethal baiting, trapping, shooting, den fumigation, den destruction and exclusion fencing. Trapping may be useful for the control of nuisance animals but is not effective as a general fox control method. Cage traps are […]
- FOX005: Trapping of foxes using padded-jaw traps - The introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has a significant impact on native fauna and agricultural production. Fox control methods include lethal baiting, trapping, shooting, den fumigation, den destruction and exclusion fencing. Trapping of foxes is undertaken in areas where poison baiting is unacceptable and other methods can not be used e.g. semi-rural and urban/residential […]
- FOX004: Fumigation of fox dens using carbon monoxide - The introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has a significant impact on native fauna and agricultural production. Fox control methods include lethal baiting, trapping, shooting, den fumigation, den destruction and exclusion fencing. Fumigation of breeding, or natal dens with carbon monoxide (CO) gas is sometimes used to destroy young cubs. Although den fumigation may locally […]
- FOX003: Ground shooting of foxes - Shooting of foxes is undertaken by government vertebrate pest control officers, landholders and professional or experienced amateur shooters. Although shooting may reduce the local number of foxes or problem animals, it is labour intensive and is not effective as a general fox control method. Shooting is usually done at night from a vehicle with the […]
- FOX002: Aerial baiting of foxes with 1080 - Poisoning with sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) on native fauna and agricultural livestock. Lethal baiting is considered to be the most effective fox control method currently available. 1080 is an odourless, tasteless white powder that has a special dye added for identification of […]
- FOX001: Ground baiting of foxes with sodium fluoroacetate (1080) - Poisoning with sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes on native fauna and agricultural production. Lethal baiting is considered to be the most effective fox control method currently available. 1080 is an odourless, tasteless white powder that has a special dye added for identification of […]
- Model code of practice for the humane control of foxes - The aim of this code of practice is to provide information and recommendations to vertebrate pest managers responsible for the control of foxes. It includes advice on how to choose the most humane, target specific, cost effective and efficacious technique for reducing the negative impact of foxes. This code of practice (COP) is a guide […]
- Northern Sydney regional fox baiting program - Case study on a cooperative fox control program conducted across urban areas in NSW
- Goonoo fox baiting program - Case study on the effectiveness of a group fox baiting program on land surrounding the Goonoo State Conservation Area of NSW
- Declaring the fox a pest in New South Wales - Case study on the usefulness of legislative powers to improve fox management
- Foxes on Phillip Island - Case study on the current attempt to eradicate foxes from Phillip Island off the Victorian coast
- Bounceback — fox control in the Flinders Ranges - Case study of fox control as part of a major conservation program aiming to protect and restore the semi-arid environment in South Australia
- Coordinated fox shooting program - Case study on a group program of fox shooting in the Milton–Ulladulla region of NSW
- Coordinated group fox programs - Case study on the effectiveness of using coordinated group programs for fox management on farms
- Development of new toxins for wild dog and fox control - Video overview of new toxins and baits being developed for wild dog and fox control
- PestSmart DVD: Introduction to using foot hold traps for the capture of wild dogs and foxes - This DVD is a snapshot of proven tips and techniques from a variety of locations across Australia. With guidance from professional trappers, the DVD will provide you with insight and skills to confidently undertake trapping as part of an integrated control programme. Containing 2 hours of videos, the DVD also contains helpful information when placed […]