Gardening animals such as squirrels and guinea pigs do not need to have their fur covered by an enclosure or a fence, a report has found.

The research, conducted by the British Association of RSPCA (BARC), found that the public have been “satisfied” with the way gardens and woodland animals are treated, with the majority of respondents having “great” or “excellent” feelings about the issue.

However, the report, commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), found there are “a range of reasons” for why the public do not want to see foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs, cats and dogs living in gardens.

“The research has identified some areas of concern, such as foxes being housed in enclosed or terraced garden enclosures, and hedgehog and cat enclosures being located in public parks,” said a Defra spokesperson.

“However, most people are satisfied with the general welfare of these animals and the public are reassured by the number of complaints about foxes in gardens.”

The BARC survey found that of those who wanted to see a fox in their garden, 57 per cent agreed with the sentiment, with only 15 per cent opposing the idea.

Of those who were concerned about fox and hedgehog in their gardens, 40 per cent were satisfied and only 15 percent were opposed.

“These numbers show that foxes do not face a significant risk of being exposed to the elements or of being killed by other animals, while hedgehorses, rabbits and cats are protected,” the BARC report said.

“People have an understanding that fox and hogs are protected from foxes and hedge hogs and are not aware of the wider issues around foxes’ and hedge-hog-related issues.”

However, many people are “not convinced” that foxing will be safe for the animals, said the spokesperson.

The report, which was published on Wednesday, said there are also concerns around the long-term impact of foxing on animals.

“There are concerns that fox hunting will not be seen as an acceptable solution to the problem of fox population decline,” it said.

The survey also found that most people do not think foxes will be killed by humans and do not believe that fox-hunting should be banned altogether.

“A number of people do believe that it should be regulated,” the report said, adding that fox protection is a “core public interest”.

“The majority of people who said they were satisfied with foxes living in the garden did not think it was appropriate to hunt foxes.”

Gardening animals were also found to have “great or excellent” feelings for foxes when they are not being chased, the study found.

Gardens in the country are not the only places where the public feels a strong affinity with the animals.

In 2014, a petition was launched on calling for the banning of fox hunting, arguing that the practice is “dangerous, cruel and wrong” and should be stopped.

The petition, which has since attracted over 3,000 signatures, claimed that fox meat is “considered by many people to be the main cause of the disease foxes”.

“Foxes are not wild animals, and do in fact have a high degree of socialisation with humans,” the petition said.