Feral Friday: foxes
03 October 2019
This month MLA is putting the spotlight on invasive animals and the tools available to help manage them. Week four’s feature looks at a common pest animal threat: foxes.
Foxes prey on lambs, goat kids and poultry – as well as many native species – and are also potential disease carriers. This means foxes present major productivity and biosecurity threats to farm businesses.
- The overall national wool and sheepmeat production loss cost of foxes is estimated to be $28 million.
- The cost of controlling foxes is likely to account for a significant portion of the $46 million estimated to be spent by broadacre farmers and livestock producers on vertebrate pests each year.
What can producers do?
As foxes are highly mobile and efficient breeders, one-off or reactionary control programs are ineffective in the long term.
Successful fox management relies on a combination of strategies – such as baiting, shooting and trapping – delivered in a coordinated way.
Working in a pest control group with your neighbours is the best option. Ask your local agriculture or land services department for information about group control programs in your area.
IPM key to avoiding unintended consequences
PestSmart’s Glovebox Guide for Managing Foxes recommends using integrated pest management (IPM) to avoid unintended consequences of fox control.
For example, rabbits are a major food source for foxes. Controlling foxes without also controlling rabbits can lead to an increase in rabbit numbers, which can then allow for a more speedy recovery of the fox population.
Record fox activity in FoxScan
Record and map sightings of foxes, fox damage and control activities in your local area using the FoxScan website or app.
The local data can help you decide where to undertake control and coordinate with your neighbours.
PestSmart fox control toolkit: pestsmart.org.au/pest-animal-species/european-fox
PestSmart’s Glovebox Guide for Managing Foxes
Standard operating procedures for fox control techniques:
- Ground baiting with 1080
- Aerial baiting with 1080
- Ground shooting
- Fumigating dens using carbon monoxide
- Trapping using padded-jaw traps
- Trapping using cage traps
- Baiting with PAPP
FoxScan app and website: feralscan.org.au/foxscan