Foxes have inhabited Barnet for at least sixty years. They are now seen frequently in suburban gardens, parks, cemeteries and other open spaces throughout Barnet. In recent years they have become more urban as they adapt to living closer to humans.
Although many people are happy to see a fox, many regard them as a nuisance, even a pest, especially if they occupy a den under a building or undertake certain activities too close for comfort. Complaints from the public include fouling, digging up of lawns or flower beds, and causing a disturbance by barking, or shrieking as some people refer to it, at night.
Foxes are very adaptable animals and can be found in a wide range of habitats. The fox is primarily a carnivore, but also eats a variety of invertebrates and fruits. They can find plenty of food in towns where there are small mammals, like rats and mice, for them to prey upon. They are also highly effective scavengers. Waste food can be plentiful in towns. Late at night, the occasional fox can be seen scouring the area for discarded fast foods! In urban areas, about a third of their diet is scavenged waste or food deliberately provided by householders. Increasingly, some people are deliberately putting out food to attract foxes into their gardens. The easy availability of food is one of the reasons that urban foxes are abundant.
In urban areas foxes pose few problems other than being an occasional nuisance; in fact it could be argued that they perform a useful scavenging role by clearing up discarded take away foods at night, as well as keeping rodent numbers under control.
Although a few foxes can become relatively quite tame, the average fox is very timid and will flee from any person who approaches it. It is important that no attempt is made to encourage foxes to become tame, which could lead to problems for foxes and people alike.