target the nose and tongue and may consume the head o small prey. Red oxes are noted or carrying small carcasesback to their dens to eed their young, which may accountor some poultry, lambs and kids that disappear and arenever ound.One way to distinguish ox kills rom wild dog attacks is thatoxes rarely cause severe bone damage to stock. Poultrycan, however, be badly damaged through ox attacks.
Both in Australia and overseas oxes readily survive andprosper in urban environments. Fox densities in Melbourneare reported to be as high as 16 per km
compared todensities generally less than 2 per km
in most semi-aridgrazing areas.The distribution o urban oxes depends on the availabilityo suitable daytime hiding places. While oxes in urbanareas are generally ound in remnant bushland or parks,oxes can nd reuge under railway platorms, houses or sheds, or in quiet gardens. The availability or distributiono ood supply in any given habitat will also aect thedistribution o urban oxes. Bushland areas in and aroundcities provide ideal shelter.In urban areas, oxes eat a diversity o ood typesincluding small birds, worms, insects, ruit and ood putout by residents.Urban oxes will rarely attack people. However, any urbanox is a wild animal and should be treated as such.Urban oxes can be a nuisance by:
attacking poultry and livestock in people’s yards
raiding garbage bins scavenging or ood
digging holes in lawns while scavenging or ood
causing domestic dogs to bark.
Foxes, along with other eral animals, have the potentialto spread diseases such as rabies, should such diseasesever be introduced into Australia. They would also providea reservoir o inection, making rabies almost impossibleto eliminate.Rabies is a contagious disease o virtually all mammals,including humans. Once symptoms o rabies appear, thevirus is almost always atal to both humans and animals.This deadly virus is not established in Australia but ispresent in Asia.However, we should not be complacent about the rabiesissue. All oxes are capable o contracting and spreadingrabies. In the Northern Hemisphere red oxes are theprincipal vectors and victims o the disease. Millions o oxes have been culled overseas in unsuccessul attemptsto control the disease.
Current options available or control o oxes in Queenslandinclude poisoning, trapping, shooting, guard animals andexclusion encing. The choice o control method shouldsuit the individual circumstances. The potential o M-44mechanical toxin ejectors and ertility control, such asimmunocontraception, is also being researched.
Presently there are two poisons legally available or oxcontrol in Queensland—sodium monouoroacetate (1080)and strychnine.1080 poison baits are the most economical and eectivemethod o controlling oxes. Processed (FOXOFF®) or reshmeat baits can be laid quickly by hand, vehicle or romthe air, with population reductions o greater than 90%recorded rom some baiting campaigns.Baits should be placed along track and ence lines200−500 m apart, 8−10 cm underground and covered withloose soil. Burying baits has the advantages o reducingnon-target bait take (more baits or oxes) and protectingbaits rom the elements. All property neighbours shouldbe notied at least 72 hours prior to baiting, and baitingsignage should be erected at every property entranceand let or at least one month ater baiting. Based on oxbiology, the optimum time to bait is in November ollowedby June/July when ood demand is highest (this coincideswith lambing on many properties). Foxes are also otenkilled by 1080 baiting programs that are designed primarilyto control wild dogs or eral pigs. FOXOFF® or meatbaits can only be obtained through licensed BiosecurityQueensland ofcers and local government operators.Queensland and Western Australia are the only two statesthat have not outlawed the use o strychnine or controllingoxes based on target specicity and humanity issues.
3 European red fox