When it comes to animals that pose a risk to your children, the chances are you may not have immediately thought of foxes – at least, not until recently, anyway. With fox attacks hitting the headlines recently, we explore the issue of whether or not foxes are a danger to children and what parents can do to reduce the risk of harm.
Of all the animals that parents have traditionally regarded as posing a potential danger to children, foxes are unlikely to have been high on the list. But reports of foxes attacking children – in some cases causing serious harm – may have changed that view for some parents. No one wants their child to come to any harm and it’s understandably worrying to hear news of a potential predator that could be a risk.
Where do Foxes Live?
Foxes aren’t an unusual occurrence and neither are they only confined to country areas. In fact, it’s suggested that in urban areas of towns and cities in England there are approximately 27 foxes per square mile. In addition, families of foxes are likely to be living close to human families, even if you’re unaware of them. Figures gathered by the Mammal Research Unit at the University of Bristol estimate that there are 33,000 urban foxes in Britain and 225,000 foxes in rural areas.
Are Fox Attacks common?
The official view from the RSPCA is that fox attacks on humans, including children, are extremely rare. However, as reports have shown, they’re not entirely unheard of.
Foxes have always been known as having the ability to attack other animals, such as chickens, cats, lambs or even dogs. Foxes that live in the country have a tendency to grow larger than urban foxes, meaning that they have more ability to be a risk of animals such as lambs and sheep.
In most cases, fox attacks are attributed to instances where the fox fears their cubs are at risk and acts to protect them. But in some reported cases there’s no particular evidence that a fox was acting in protection and appeared to just attack for no reason.
Protecting Against Fox Attacks
If you live in an area where you’re aware there are foxes, or are worried about the potential dangers for your children, then there are practical steps you can take to help protect them against fox attacks.
If urban foxes hang around your garden, avoid having any scraps of food left around in the garden or by your bins, to help discourage foxes. It’s also a good idea to ensure any doors or windows are shut at night, especially in ground floor rooms.
As cute as some foxes may look when they’re playing with their cubs, or curled up in the sun, it’s advisable for people to keep their distance and discourage foxes from becoming tame.
If you’re concerned about any particular fox activity, or notice a lot of foxes hanging around the outside of your home or garden, then contact your local council. They may be able to send a licensed pest controller to assess the situation if need be.