Pet foxes have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their adorable appearance and charming personalities. Foxes are known for their intelligence and playful nature, making them a delightful addition to any household. However, owning a fox as a pet comes with its own set of unique challenges. In this article, we will take a closer look at pet foxes, exploring their diet, behavior, appearance, health risks, and habitat requirements. Whether you're considering getting a pet fox or simply curious about these fascinating animals, this guide will provide valuable insights into the world of foxes and what it takes to properly care for them as pets.
Distinctive Features of Fox
|Scientific name||Vulpes spp. (different species have different scientific names)|
|Lifespan||3-4 years in the wild, up to 14 years in captivity|
|Color||Varies by species; typically reddish-brown with white underbelly and tail tip|
|Size (inches)||14-22 inches at the shoulder|
|Health risk||Moderate; can carry diseases such as rabies|
|Unique trait||Long bushy tail and sharp senses|
|Famous for||Being intelligent and playful|
|Temperament||Can be unpredictable and may not be suitable as pets|
|Adaptability||Low; require specific habitat requirements and diet|
|Behavior||Not recommended as pets for children due to potential for bites and scratches|
|Personality||Nocturnal and active, intelligent and curious|
|Social||Generally solitary or live in small family groups|
|Domesticated||Not commonly kept as pets, and in some places, it may be illegal to keep them as pets.|
Foxes are small to medium-sized mammals, belonging to the Canidae family. They have a pointed snout, upright triangular ears, and a bushy tail. The most distinctive feature of foxes is their beautiful fur coat, which can vary in color from red, gray, black, and white depending on the species. Foxes have keen senses, especially their sense of hearing and smell, which help them hunt prey and avoid predators. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws, which allow them to catch and kill small animals like rodents, rabbits, and birds. Foxes are also known for their agile and fast movements, which make them excellent hunters and escape artists.
Are Pet Foxes Friendly?
Foxes are acknowledged as friendly and inquisitive. They play with each other with cats and dogs as well. They suffer from a symptom called neophobia. It happens when it reaches the age of 14-16 months. They begin to trust the caretaker and are phobic of strangers. They run in panic for hiding. Moreover, they are territorial creatures. If challenged they bite first and think later.
Pet foxes will require extraordinary mental stimulation and if it is not forthcoming, they get bored. The pet fox will have its moods if its body language suggests that it does not want to be petted stay away and leave it alone otherwise it will snap. The owner must be careful least it lands in the hospital with injuries. As babies’ foxes are pretty and cuddly. They show aggression as they become older. They are unlikely to attack the owner.
Friendly foxes under observation in labs display different body language. They keep their tails curled. Young foxes’ ears are floppy. However, domesticated foxes show more duration of floppy ears for a longer time. Fennec fox is more suitable to be kept in the house as a pet fox. They are as playful and cute as a dog.
In case a pet fox owner decides to go on vacation where vet care is less known, those vets who give them boarding charge a high rate.
Various Pet Fox Breeds
Foxes can be kept as pets in some places, but it is important to note that laws and regulations regarding fox ownership vary by country and state. Some fox breeds that are commonly kept as pets include:
- Fennec fox - a small fox breed that is native to the Sahara desert in North Africa. They have large ears and a sandy-colored coat.
- Red fox - the largest of the true foxes, with a reddish-orange coat and white underbelly. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere.
- Arctic fox - a small fox breed with a thick, white fur coat. They are native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
- Grey fox - a smaller fox breed that is native to North and Central America. They have a grayish-brown coat and a distinctive black stripe on their tail.
It is important to note that foxes are wild animals and should only be kept as pets by experienced and knowledgeable owners who are able to provide appropriate care and living conditions. It is also important to research local laws and regulations before considering fox ownership.
How to Take Care of Pet Fox?
It is important to note that keeping a fox as a pet is not legal in all states and countries, so be sure to check your local laws and regulations before considering a pet fox. If it is legal in your area, here are some tips on how to take care of a pet fox:
Setup Habitat for Pet Fox
Foxes require a large outdoor enclosure with secure fencing to prevent them from escaping. The enclosure should include shelter, such as a wooden dog house, to protect them from the elements. The enclosure should also have plenty of room for them to run, play, and dig.
Know What to Feed Pet Fox
As an owner of a pet fox, you will require to feed them through stimulation in which they madly search for food. You need to hide the food and it will rip it apart. Feeding is a big responsibility for the owner. Foxes require enough taurine, in the absence of which they develop blindness get seizures and even die. Good sources of taurine are fresh chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers. Urban foxes feed on earthworms, cutworms, insects like beetles, vegetables, and fruits. They also relish wild birds like pigeons as well as mammals. You can also select commercial nutritionally complete food as the foundation of the diet.
Grooming and Training
Foxes require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition. This includes brushing and bathing as needed. They can also be trained to do simple tricks, such as sit or come, using positive reinforcement techniques. However, it is important to note that foxes have a strong prey drive and may not be reliable off-leash in areas with wildlife.
Understanding the Responsibility
Most of the time foxes stay silent. They make different types of calls through which they attract the attention of other foxes. It is in winter that they frequently make a call. It happens once in three nights. In autumn it is once a week. Their call is mostly in the form of a scream. The screams are blood-curdling. Foxes make a loud noise if curtailed all day indoors. Adult foxes are tiny. The male weighs about 6 kgs and females 5 kgs. They can push themselves through small openings. Different fox breeds have distinctive personalities care needed.
Foxes breed anywhere in places like a garden shed. Foxes do not prepare beddings for the babies and deliver them on hard ground. At a time 4-5 litters are born. The apex mating season is in January and cubs arrive in March. Cubs begin to move around in April.
Foxes urine and stool have a strong smell like skunk blended with ammonia. Urine leaves behind a stain. The smell lingers on carpet and furniture. Your pet fox will destroy furniture if kept indoors. By nature, they are destructive and hyperactive. They love to explore, dig and chew. You cannot curtail them in the living room. Smaller-sized foxes are more suited for indoor habitats. Those owners who go in for medium or large breeds will need outside space to rear them.
What are the Health Issues for a Pet Fox?
Pet fox is liable to get canine diseases such as rabies, distemper. Vaccines are available against these diseases. If an unvaccinated fox bites a human, the law of the state has provisions to get it eliminated. Foxes are likely to get livestock diseases such as bovine TB, Darling disease, leishmaniasis, etc. These diseases are transferable to mankind. Consult an exotic vet on your safety and that of the pet fox. Fox stools left in surroundings like parks or gardens can lead to eye problems and even blindness in children if contact is made.
Foxes are also a carrier of internal parasites including roundworm as well as Echinococcus which develops into hydatid disease. Mange disease in foxes is not transferable to humans.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Fox
Some generally asked questions are answered below:
Can you have a fox as a pet in the UK?
Legally there are no constraints in England and wales in keeping foxes as pets. There is no special license for it. Captive fox is protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. A pet fox may be covered through various categories in different state legislation such as small canines, wild canine non-domesticated species, native, etc. Do your research well to the extent of calling state officials for local laws. Exotic pet laws change frequently. Take neighborhood association into confidence and discuss the matter. There could be yearly inspections as well. Some states permit foxes as a pet in case you are a breeder and selling agent or run a fur farm. Charities strongly advise not to keep a fox as a pet.
How much exercise do pet foxes need?
Pet foxes need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They should have access to a large, secure outdoor enclosure with plenty of space to run and play.
Do pet foxes require vaccinations?
Yes, pet foxes require vaccinations to prevent certain diseases. It is important to consult with a veterinarian who has experience working with exotic animals to determine the appropriate vaccinations for your pet fox.
Do pet foxes need to be neutered or spayed?
Yes, pet foxes should be neutered or spayed to prevent breeding and aggressive behavior.
Can pet foxes be litter trained?
Yes, pet foxes can be litter trained but it may take time and patience to train them.
Yes, foxes are social animals and can form close bonds with their owners. However, they may not get along with other pets in the household.