A number of Oak Lawn residents have noted a ginger nuisance in the Village this year, but the Presidential election isn’t to blame. While The Donald is giving some people fits, locally another red-haired creature is being blamed for property damage.
The red fox is getting some attention this year in Oak Lawn. Vulpes vulpes, also know as the red fox, is making a bit of a comeback, and some residents aren’t thrilled by it. Neighbors have spotted multiple foxes crossing through their yards.
Foxes aren’t typically a danger to people. But sometimes, they do a little damage on their route. According to Trustee Robert Streit (District 3), one family of foxes has been blamed for digging up lawns in his district.
Foxes are excellent diggers. They’ll dig for grubs and earthworms, mice and other rodents. Foxes eat a large number of worms and larvae. These only come near the surface in wet weather, so this sort of damage is usually seasonal. It will occur mainly in a wet spring or warm and wet autumn. With this year’s wet weather, it’s no surprise that a fox will be digging.
Sometimes, a fox will dig a larger hole in a lawn. If you use a blood or bone-based fertilizer on your lawn, it could entice a fox to dig as deep as two feet. The fox will smell the blood or bone in the fertilizer and think that there’s a corpse buried nearby. Being scavengers, the fox will dig frantically to find the food it smells.
They’ll also dig to create dens, though that’s not common in the middle of a lawn. Foxes will dig to create dens under a shed, a porch, or any other outcropping that could make suitable protective shelter for their kits (young foxes).
The most common advice for getting rid of a fox den is to scare them away with mild harassment. Among the most humane suggestions are to: loosely pack leaves, mulch, or soil into den openings; place urine-soaked kitty litter near the den opening; mount shiny objects on poles a few feet off the ground outside the den; spread capsicum-based repellent around the den.
There are a few other tactics that a person can use to discourage a fox from visiting. If you spot a fox digging in your yard, turn a hose on it from a safe distance, or throw tennis balls at it. Foxes are generally wary creatures. If you harass them, they’ll find a more conducive area to forage.
As with any other species of scavenger, don’t leave your garbage exposed. If you leave pet food outside, bring it in. If you have bird feeders with feed that ends up on the ground, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. A free meal is a free meal.
The key is to outfox the fox.