Are Foxes Dangerous? What Should You Do If One Approaches You?

Deepthi Reddy
Mar 01, 2024 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Nov 10, 2021
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Red Fox looking at the camera
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

Once, a fox liked to loiter around, wandering out of the forest into urban areas, looking for food.

He loved to lie on the warm gravel and never to fight for prey. There was food in trash cans, and there was food in the kitchen; why wouldn't he fetch it?

He loved to stretch like cats, but he didn't like to fetch. The rogue fox tried to trick humans and get their food. Foxes are crafty, and they are pretty slick too. The term sly seems to be synonymous with foxes. But foxes look so tame and easy to love. Fox puppies playing outside on the grass, rumbling and tumbling in the dirt, aren't they adorable? Let's find out if these little orange foxes are dangerous.

Science says foxes belong to the family Canidae. They are omnivore mammals and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. The most popular fox is the red fox. Foxes have long been the fulcrum of folklore as they have been described as being sly and cunning creatures. Foxes are often perceived as nuisance animals as they are very diligent and unforgiving when it comes to hunting because of their opportunistic hunting behavior. Foxes are often categorized as pests. In contrast, some foxes are employed as guards on fruit farms as they hunt down pests, leaving fruits intact.

If you enjoy reading this, we are sure you will enjoy our other exciting information that answers questions like are foxes omnivores and are foxes nocturnal?

Has a human ever been killed by a fox?

All foxes are dangerous as they are wild animals. All wild animals are dangerous to a human as they can attack humans. If it is a fox with rabies, on contact, it can transmit dangerous diseases to humans and their pets.

Most domesticated foxes carry contagious diseases. If you see a fox approaching you, it would be an excellent choice to flee the scene and find cover and protection. However, most foxes are harmless and wary of humans. Foxes often run away and hide when they see humans. It is unnatural for a fox to approach humans; if a fox is approaching you, it could mean that the fox may try to attack you.

Generally, foxes do not harm humans, but there have been reports of non-fatal attacks on humans. One attack occurred at night as foxes are more active at night time. In this report, the fox found a door open, entered the house, and attacked baby twins. One of the victims suffered injuries on the face, and the other was hurt on the arm.

Dangers Foxes Can Pose

Generally, fear is the most common factor that leads to attacks. A wild animal will be in attacking mode when it is afraid. It may have a fear of being threatened and defends itself for the survival of the fittest. Also, if the wild animal feels its territory has been infringed, it will be worried, may perceive danger, and attack you. When faced with the danger of an aggressive wild animal, to avoid being bitten, the most common solution is to not be worried and calmly move away.

Typically, foxes do not harm humans, but if the fox has rabies and is captured and handled by humans, it can be dangerous for humans. Secondly, foxes are omnivores and prey on small pets like rabbits, chickens, or guinea pigs. However, they usually don't hurt adult cats as the cat is as big as the fox and can scare the fox away. But a little dog like a puppy may be attacked by foxes. So if you see foxes wandering near your backyard or garden, it would be a good idea to keep your cat, dogs, and pets indoors and housed in cages. Some foxes may eat fruits from the garden, as famously narrated in 'The Fox and the Sour Grapes' story. Foxes often make a nuisance and create a mess around trash cans near your house, as they may be feeding on spilled garbage.

Diseases Foxes Can Carry

Diseases cause specific signs and symptoms that affect the normal functioning of the body. Diseases foxes carry include rabies and mange. When a rabid fox bites, it can lead to infection. In some cases, it has been observed that even when a fox doesn't bite, the infection is caused by fox feces.

Mange is another contagious disease that may cause hair loss and excessive itching in your pets. If your pet dog has been infected, you can take it to the veterinary doctor for treatment.

Fox jump on the grass

Wild vs. Tame vs. Domesticated Foxes

Humans and animals coexist in various associations that are mutually beneficial. Some people talk about love and friendship between humans and animals. Love indeed knows no bounds, is not confined to a shape or form, and some of the most beautiful bonds of love can be observed between humans and animals.

There are various types of foxes: wild foxes, tamed foxes, and domesticated foxes. Wild foxes are solitary animals often sighted at night time. They stay away from humans and sneak in during the night, get their food and disappear swiftly under cover of darkness. There is a minimal threat from wild foxes. Tamed foxes are those foxes that were captured as kits. They grow up in captivity and are tamed as pets. They are friendly with humans and appear to be tame. However, domesticated foxes are selectively bred with the aim of domestication. These foxes are trained for domestication. Pet foxes found in local pet stores are tamed fox breeds.

Are foxes dangerous to people or pets?

Wild animals are indeed dangerous to people and pets, but part of being human is understanding this difference and treating wild animals well. It is best to leave wild animals alone, and if you are very interested in wildlife, you can observe wild animals from afar.

Foxes do not attack humans or pets unless they are threatened. When a fox seems aggressive, it would be a good idea to calmly walk away and not try to approach the fox to pet it. Foxes, when aggravated, may attack humans and pets. They are omnivores, but they can be a nuisance on a farm, especially as they love hunting rabbits, chickens, and guinea pigs. A rabid fox may pose a threat to you and your pets, like dogs and cats, as it can spread contagious diseases.

Are foxes dangerous to pets or farm animals?

In rare cases, foxes are often preferred as pets on a farm as they hunt pests trying to eat fruits from the farm. Foxes are omnivores and eat fruits and hunt small animals like chickens, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

If you have these pets, you should keep them indoors along with the children, safe and far away from foxes. A fox will not bite a pet unless it is a rabid fox, and in rare cases, your pet can be treated if the fox does bite a pet. If you have small-sized pets, it's better to not to take a risk and keep them indoors and secure. It's good to avoid the risk, but foxes will not attack large dogs or grown cats. Foxes on farms make the house messy and can urinate anywhere, and it may smell awful. Foxes are dangerous for farm animals as they attack birds and chickens in their coops. Adult foxes also hunt wild rabbits and eat eggs of birds lying in the open. Therefore, farm animals must be kept secure from foxes and other predators. If farm animals are bitten and injured by foxes, these farm animals must be taken to the vet for treatment.

What do you do if a fox approaches you?

If a wild animal approaches, it may pose a threat to pets or small children. Sometimes wild animals may be infected, and animal bites pose the risk of dangerous diseases.

Keeping this in mind, it would be best to avoid going anywhere near these animals to avoid disease. Keep in mind if a fox approaches you that it may be aggressive and try to hurt you. It may be a fox carrying infectious diseases like rabies, and it would not be safe to get anywhere near the infected animal. The best solution would be to keep a safe distance from the fox, observe it from afar and thus avoid disease.

Are urban foxes friendly?

According to statistical studies, it has been revealed that the population of urban foxes in London may be at least 10,000. Therefore, there are more chances of humans coming across urban foxes looking for prey.

Urban foxes may be friendly but they are extremely unpredictable and unreliable too. If you come across one be very cautious.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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