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  • Fox on drugs? 13 January 2015 | Comments (0)

    I am often used as a sub-contractor by some of the National Pest Control Companies that have prestigious contracts up and down the country.

    One morning I was called to a North London Hosptial where a fox had managed to access a high security pharmacy department.

    When I say 'high security' I think a ground floor window was left open but nobody was prepared to take responsibility.

    After alot of damaged and items flying around I managed to corner the fox in a small cupboard and place the dog handler's pole noose around the foxes neck in order to safely restrain it before putting it into the carrier cage.

    Needless to say the pharmacy was closed for the rest of the day whilst a deep clean, insecticide treatment and stock take was carried out.

    It goes to show what can happen if a window is accidentally left open and a fox manages to get in.

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    Whilst Urban Foxes do carry a number of parasites and diseases that are relevant to the health of humans, there is little evidence to suggest that human infection directly from a fox is common.

    The majority of the infections and parasites carried by foxes are also prevalent in dogs.

    Both animals carry the toxicara canus worm which can be transmitted to humans via the faeces, and which can cause blindness, amongst other serious illnesses.

    Foxes are also susceptible to Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis) which can be passed to both humans and domestic pets via the fox’s urine. Weil’s disease causes high fever, vomiting, muscle aches, chills and jaundice, amongst other symptoms.

    External parasites that live on the fox itself often include fleas and ticks.

    Fleas can infest properties leashing unpleasant bites and irritation where as Ticks are blood sucking parasites capable of transmitting Lyme disease which is a crippling and life changing disease.

    It is these reasons why fox issues should be dealt with professionals and swiftly.

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    Whilst Local Authorities still have legal obligations to rodent pests; they have NO obligation to control Urban or Rural Foxes.

    Local authorities did carry out fox control many years ago but ceased due to Government financial restraints and some public opinion.

    It is now the landowner's responsibility and right to carry out fox control on their land provided that what ever they do is legal and humane if the need is justified.

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    There is no doubt that urban foxes can cause considerable nuisance.

    They can damage lawns and gardens when digging for worms, they scent mark their location with strong smelling droppings and urine, and at certain times of the year their mating calls can be very loud and distressing.

    Urban Foxes also raid rubbish bags and bins spilling the contents all over the pavement and road; but is that really the fox's fault or the person that put the rubbish out.

    However, despite this many people positively enjoy the experience of encountering the urban fox even to the extent of encouraging them to gardens by deliberately feeding them.

    This human/urban fox interaction is usually where problems and issues start.

    Urban foxes that become to bold, sure and opportunistic because they do not see human's as a potential threat are more likely to push the boundaries and this is when human/fox conflicts occur.

    Enjoying wildlife is a great pass time; but trying to change it's behaviour is something that can lead to a whole load of trouble and is therefore best avoided.

    I recently visited a property in Winchmore Hill North London whose previous tenants persistently fed the neighbourhood's foxes for the past year.

    Last week the tenants moved to Scotland and new tenants moved in with infants.

    Since the new tenants have moved in the foxes have been banging on their back door demanding to be fed at all hours and persistenly hanging around their property.

    The previous tenants have created this issue; not the foxes.

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