European red fox
The European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is listed in schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2014 (Biosecurity Act) as restricted matter, categories 3, 4, 5 and 6. This means that they must not be distributed, kept, given away, sold, traded, released into the environment, moved or fed.
European red fox generally:
- have reddish brown fur with white fur on underparts
- have large ears and long bushy tail
- has a pointed muzzle with slender skull
- adults generally weigh between 5kg (female) and 6 kg (male) but can weigh as much as 14kg.
European red foxes are common in the urban-rural fringe areas as they look for food around rubbish bins, barbeque and picnic areas in parkland and dig in backyard compost heaps. During the day they shelter in thick vegetation along gullies and creek banks, in hollow logs, under houses, in drainpipes and even old car bodies.
Problems caused by foxes
Foxes cause many problems as they are opportunistic feeders, known to prey on native animals such as small mammals, rodents, frogs, birds, beetles, moths, earthworms and fish. They are also known to be ‘surplus’ feeders meaning they can kill multiple easy prey animals despite an abundance of available food. They can also injure or kill poultry, livestock and small domestic pets, and have the potential to spread diseases which may affect human health.
Foxes are considered the greatest threat to the long-term survival of many small marsupial species in Australia.
Prevention and control
There are proactive steps you can do to help manage the negative impacts of foxes, as well as reduce your property’s attractiveness and accessibility to foxes.
You can construct a fox-proof enclosure for poultry, clean up uneaten pet food and excess fallen fruit from trees, and cover and secure compost piles and bins. Always keep your pets safely secured or inside. Under Council’s Animals Local Law 2017, owners are required to provide an enclosure for your animal to keep it on your property and prevent it from wandering at all times. Stay away from foxes and their dens and report any sightings to Council.
Council undertakes an integrated approach to fox management to protect Brisbane’s native wildlife, in accordance with the actions and objectives listed in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area. This includes monitoring, education, trapping and providing assistance to landholders to meet their general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act.
If you would like assistance managing foxes, or to register your property as a management location, you can use Council’s online Report it: Feral animal sightings form or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.