Be aware of urban fox problems in London schools

Steve Barron

IMS Expert in urban fox control in London Schools

Steve is the Director of Pest - Go Limited Urban Fox Control London who are an established industrial leader in the field of urban fox control.

Website: www.pestgo4u.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Urban fox activity in London schools is on the increase. Problems occur when foxes start persistently fouling, urinating, damaging property and harbouring underneath classrooms or even in roof voids above classrooms.

The main risk of having fox activity around a school is the risk of disease transmission. As foxes are part of the dog family, they can harbour many contagious diseases. Most foxes will carry external parasites such as fleas and ticks; but the most common disease which foxes are most likely to transmit to man is Toxocariasis (Roundworm).

Unlike domestic pets, foxes are not routinely de-wormed or treated against parasites or immunised against disease. Toxocariasis is caused by a parasitic roundworm in the fox, namely Toxocara canis. Toxocara can cause blindness in young children.

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Human’s become infected following the ingestion of Roundworm eggs in the soil contaminated by fox faeces. The appeal to young children to place objects in their mouths and immature hygiene behaviour puts them at particular risk for picking up roundworm eggs. Fox faeces found in the playground, sports field or pathways should be immediately removed when found and contaminated surfaces disinfected. Gloves and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment should be worn at all times. Children should always be encouraged to wash their hands before eating.

Foxes carry many other notifiable diseases that can infect both native wildlife and domestic animals including Hydatids, Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Canine hepatitis, Lungworm, Heart worm and Sarcopic mange. Urban foxes will eat almost anything. Rubbish and left-overs may be found throughout the school grounds in the morning. Being opportunistic; urban foxes will take smaller pets such as chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises; all of which are regularly kept at schools.

It is well noted that urban foxes are becoming much bolder and tamer. This is partly due to the foxes living in such close proximity to us and the abundance of food available to them. Feeding urban foxes is strongly discouraged.

It must always be remembered that urban foxes are wild animals and extremely unpredictable. The uses of ‘fox’ deterrents and approved chemical products have limited usage. Urban foxes quickly become accustomed to deterrent devises and approved deterrent chemicals and will eventually ignore them. Urban foxes are losing their fear of humans and do not look upon us as a direct threat.

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Since local Councils do not provide a fox control service; you will need to source a professional and licensed Pest Control contractor that is capable to take up such a job. Many Council’s claim that if you remove a fox, another will take its place. In a rural setting where one fox will have a mile square territory, this may be true. This is why ‘dumping’ urban foxes out of the town or city would be cruel. However, in an urban environment, due to the fact that many foxes from different parentage live in such close proximity, territorial behaviour is rarely seen in towns and cities. Very few Pest Control companies are prepared to carry out this type of specialist pest control due to Firearms Certification and public opinion.

When selecting a professional fox control contractor, you will need to ensure that the appointed contractor holds a valid ‘Open’ Firearms Certificate, is CRB checked, holds adequate insurances and is Trading Standards Approved. A typed quotation with method statement should be provided before any decisions are made to proceed. Any doubts should be investigated before authorisation. You can confirm your potential fox controller’s Firearms Certificate by noting their certificate number and checking it with your local Police.

The trapping of nuisance foxes coming onto school grounds is seen as the most controlled, effective and safest method. Trapped foxes would be dispatched safely on site with the local Police Control Room being informed. Due to animal welfare and disease management; it is not appropriate to ‘relocate’ nuisance foxes from one area to another. It is a misconception that if you move a fox from one area to another, it will simply settle down and live a happy life. Unfortunately, nature is not that kind. ‘Dumped’ foxes in most cases would starve to death, be attacked or killed by territorial foxes, transmit disease, kill endangered species, kill or injure farm livestock or simply be shot by gamekeepers or farmers. Since the ‘dumping’ of foxes like this is clearly inhumane; such action could well be an offence under The Animal Welfare Act 2006 & The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

These are the reasons why foxes need to be excluded and controlled in schools and educational facilities.

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