Outdoor PestsWildlife

What Smells Do Foxes Hate?

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Foxes are known for their keen sense of smell, which they rely on for hunting, communication, and survival. While this heightened olfactory ability is crucial for their survival in the wild, it can be a nuisance for homeowners who find these creatures in their gardens or backyards. However, understanding what smells foxes hate can be a humane and effective way to keep these animals at bay.


Foxes are known to hate strong, pungent smells. The top smells that repel foxes include peppermint essential oil, citrus scents like orange peels, white vinegar, used tea bags, hot and chili peppers, garlic, cinnamon, curry, human scents, dog and wolf urine, mothballs, ammonia, and commercial fox repellents. Using these scents around your property can help deter foxes.

The Power of Smell in a Fox’s Life

A fox’s sense of smell is incredibly robust. They use it for a variety of purposes, including hunting for prey, communicating with other foxes, marking their territories, and detecting potential threats. Their acute olfactory senses allow them to detect even the faintest of scents, making them highly effective hunters and survivors in the wild.

Smells that Repel Foxes

Foxes are known to dislike a variety of strong, pungent smells. Using these scents around your property can help deter foxes and protect your garden, livestock, and pets from potential harm. Some of the top smells that foxes hate include:

  1. Peppermint essential oil: Foxes dislike the strong smell of peppermint. Dipping old tea bags in peppermint oil and placing them around your garden can deter foxes.
  2. Orange peels: The citrus scent of orange peels is another smell that foxes dislike.
  3. White vinegar: A solution of white vinegar and water can be sprayed around your property to keep foxes away.
  4. Tea bags: Used tea bags can be spread around your garden. The smell, particularly of strong teas, can deter foxes.
  5. Hot and chili peppers: The capsaicin in hot peppers is a major deterrent for foxes. Sprinkle ground peppers around your garden for best results.
  6. Garlic: The robust smell of garlic is another scent that can repel foxes.
  7. Cinnamon: Foxes dislike the smell of this spice. Sprinkle it around your garden to keep them at bay.
  8. Curry: The strong smell of curry spices can deter foxes.
  9. Human scents: Foxes are usually wary of human scents. Leaving items that carry your scent, like old shoes or gloves, can deter foxes.
  10. Dog and wolf urine: The smell of larger predators can scare off foxes.
  11. Mothballs: The strong scent of mothballs can repel foxes.
  12. Ammonia: Soaking rags in ammonia and placing them around your property can deter foxes.
  13. Commercial fox repellents: These products often contain strong smells that foxes dislike.

Remember to reapply these smells periodically, especially after rain or when the smell starts to fade.

Commercial Fox Repellents

Commercial fox repellents can be an effective solution for keeping foxes away from your property. Products such as Scoot, Get Off My Garden, and Wash and Get Off contain strong, pungent smells that foxes dislike. However, their effectiveness can vary, and it’s always best to address what’s attracting the foxes to your property in the first place.

Smells to Avoid

Just as there are smells that repel foxes, there are also smells that can attract them. Foxes are drawn to strong-smelling or sweet foods, such as fish, chicken, meat, and sugar-coated vegetables. To avoid attracting foxes, it’s best not to leave food outside and to secure your garbage cans.


Understanding what smells foxes hate can be an effective and humane way to deter these creatures from your property. By using a combination of natural scents, commercial repellents, and good hygiene practices, you can keep foxes at bay and protect your garden, livestock, and pets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I reapply these repellents?

The frequency of reapplication can depend on a few factors such as the weather and the type of repellent used. As a general rule, reapply natural repellents every few days or after a heavy rain. Commercial repellents may last longer, so follow the instructions on the packaging.

Can these smells harm or irritate my pets?

Most of these scents are safe for pets, but it’s always best to consult with your vet before using them, especially if your pet has a known allergy. Capsaicin, found in hot peppers, can be irritating to both humans and pets, so use it with caution.

Can human activity deter foxes?

Yes, foxes are usually wary of human activity. Keeping your property well-lit at night and making noise when a fox is spotted can help deter them.

Are there other ways to deter foxes from my property?

Yes, other than using repellent smells, you can also install fencing, keep your garden clean and free of food waste, and use ultrasonic devices designed to repel foxes.

Will these repellents work on other wildlife as well?

Some of these repellents may work on other wildlife. For instance, many animals dislike the smell of vinegar, mothballs, and commercial repellents. However, the effectiveness can vary depending on the animal.

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