Identifying fox dens and fox holes: guide & pictures

fox out of fox den during the day
Foxes make holes to search for food, like worms and insects, bury food to save for later, and make dens. Foxes create multiple entrances to their, each are usually a hole about 4 inches.

Foxes are active at night but could be seen hunting during the day. They usually spend the daytime sleeping in their dens or another location.

Baby foxes, known as cubs or kits, dig holes while playing. Sometimes adult foxes will dig just for fun. Cubs also dig holes to practice living on their own.

Foxes create holes for many reasons. Foxes bury their food, dig to find food, and create dens. Homeowners can use natural repellents to get rid of foxes.

How do you get rid of fox holes?

Eliminating fox activity is the way to get rid of fox holes. It is ineffective to cover a fox hole since foxes will simply dig another hole.

Foxes are naturally timid creatures, so scaring them is an effective and humane way to repel them from your yard. You can install motion censored sprinklers or motion censored lights to scare them.

If you happen to hear or see a fox, yelling at it and making loud noises should scare it away. Property owners can also scare foxes away by using lights and sounds to eliminate fox damage to their yards.

Another good way to get rid of foxes is to use smells they dislike. Predator urine can be purchased and applied to your yard. This product will make foxes believe there is a predator nearby, and they should leave.

Coyote urine can be used to scare foxes. You can also spread vinegar, garlic, or chili pepper around your home and garden. Essential oils also produce aromas that repel foxes.

Peppermint and eucalyptus are strong-smelling essential oils that should deter foxes when applied to the perimeters of your home. You can call a pest control company to help remove foxes from your yard. 

large fox hole with baby fox stretching next to it

How do you tell if a fox has been in your garden?

Foxes are known for causing damage to gardens. Homeowners may find fox holes from where a fox has dug for food. They dig to catch earthworms, grubs, and insects. Foxes will dig up bulbs in search of food.

Below are signs a fox has been in your garden:

  • A pungent smell
  • Fox scat
  • Trampled or ruined plants
  • Holes in the lawn or flowerbed
  • Dug up flower beds
  • Half-eaten fruits and vegetables 
  • Damage to fences or wire mesh
  • Trash spread across the yard
  • Canine footprints
  • Chewed up items

Why are foxes digging holes in my garden?

Foxes may be attracted to your garden if you use organic fertilizer with blood, bone, or fish meal. The smells make foxes think there is a mammal buried there that they can eat. 

Foxes bury food to save it for later, which is known as caching. They may use gardens for caching. Foxes bury their food away from their territory to not reveal their location.

They also bury their food away from their den because foxes are lazy hunters that don’t want to go through the effort of protecting their territory. Foxes create shallow holes to bury food, such as nuts and small mammals.

What time do foxes come out at night?

Foxes are nocturnal and are most active at dawn and dusk. The times that foxes come out depending on location, time zone, and time of year.

Generally, foxes come out around 8 or 9 p.m. They will return to their dens around 5 to 6 a.m.

fox den entrance with a fox

How can you tell a fox den?

Den locations vary, but many fox dens are found at the bottom of trees. Other locations are near caves, walls, or other structures.

A den opening is about four inches in diameter. Foxes usually create their dens close to a water source, such as a creek. Den sites may be near homes, such as under decks.

Do foxes use the very same den every year?

Foxes use the same den year after year. They only stop using their den if a predator takes it over or if a predator threatens their safety in the den.

Foxes often have more than one den so they have somewhere to go in case of a threat. The same den may be used for multiple generations. 

Where do foxes go during the day?

Foxes may sleep in their den during the day or in a different location. Instead of their den, they may sleep under a brush, in hollow trees, or under a ledge.

Sometimes they sleep in a covered spot with dense vegetation. Other times they just simply sleep out in the open.

Foxes remain in their dens during the day if it is raining, extremely hot, or if they are protecting their young. Foxes are solitary creatures, and unless they are female foxes caring for their fox kits, they will be alone.

What do you do if you find a fox den?

If you find a fox den, action is only needed if the den is on or near your property. If a wild animal is not causing harm to anyone or anything, it is important to let it be.

A den found in a wooded area or an isolated grassy area can be left alone. However, since foxes can cause damage and pose health concerns, you should take action if the den is in your yard. 

Do not cover the entrance to a fox den. The adult fox and young foxes may be inside and may get trapped. 

Below are some ideas to humanely scare foxes away from their den:

  • Place lights or strobe lights near the den
  • Play loud music from a speaker near the den
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers near the den
  • Throw small twigs and rocks at the den if you see activity
baby foxes in a fox hole

What attracts foxes to your yard?

There are many reasons a fox may be attracted to your yard, and most of the reasons have to do with food. If you have open patches of dirt or soil, urban foxes may dig holes there to eat worms and insects.

If you keep pet food outside or have a bird feeder, foxes may use these as a resource. If you have buried a deceased pet in your yard, foxes may smell it.

Odors may lure foxes into your yard, and they may try to dig to locate the source . Also, if you have a water source, such as a pond or a fountain, foxes may be attracted to your yard to drink water.

Do fox dens have two entrances?

A fox den has multiple entrances. There may be three to eight den entrances.

Foxes create multiple entryways to make a quick escape from predators. Their dens can also be so long that multiple openings make it easier to get to the area of the den they are trying to reach. 

On average, a red fox creates a den around three to eight feet deep. It can be up to fifty feet long.  A small den has one to two entrances. Small dens are about three feet deep and about twenty feet long. 

How can you tell the difference between a fox hole and a badger hole?

Fox holes are generally significantly smaller than badger holes. If you see coarse black and white hairs near the hole, it is a badger hole.

Another way to identify which animal made the hole is to search for tracks near the hole. Fox tracks have four toes, and badger tracks have five toes. 

Foxes sometimes bring back leftover food to their dens. If bones and feathers are found near the hole, it probably belongs to a fox.

fox tracks in sandy soil

Do foxes come out during the day?

Sometimes foxes come out during the day. Foxes feed on small animals, and some of those animals can only be found during the day, such as birds and chipmunks.

Therefore, foxes could be seen during the day while hunting for food. Foxes may also be active during the day if traveling or making a new den.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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