Spotting a fox in an urban setting, or out in the wild, is exciting, especially when they approach you. However, you may be wondering, are foxes friendly?
Foxes can be friendly and are not a threat to humans. However, foxes are wild animals, they are unpredictable and will always revert to their wild nature in a situation where they feel threatened. Even if a fox appears to be friendly, you should not approach it up close.
Foxes that are raised in captivity, as pets or rescues, are friendly for the most part. These foxes are tamed, which means they are still wild animals and are not domesticated.
Tamed foxes do bond with their owner, and even more so if they are with their owners from the time that they are kits (baby foxes.) Even then, their wild nature can cause them to scratch, bite, and urinate on just about everything.
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Wild Vs Tame Vs Domesticated Foxes
All foxes are the same right? Wrong. There is a big difference between wild animals, tame animals, and domesticated animals. Believe it or not, there is a program that has been domesticating foxes for over 50 years.
A wild fox is a solitary creature, who prefers to avoid people and other animals. They sneak around in the night, do their business, and return to their dens. Wild foxes could be considered dangerous around pets, and people, but the threat is low.
A tame fox is a fox that has been raised in captivity, by either a person or a rescue. Some foxes, such as pet foxes, go into the care of humans while they are still kits (babies.) This creates a bond, that makes them friendly with their humans, and other pets.
Domesticated foxes exist, from a program that was started in Siberia, over 50 years ago. These foxes are still bred today. Foxes in general, exhibit behavior that suggests they could be domesticated. The domestication program has used selected breeding over a long period, with results.
Only a select few breeders, from overseas, allow these domesticated foxes to be bought or adopted. Most foxes in the U.S. are tamed foxes, sold by pet fox breeders.
Are Foxes Aggressive?
Foxes are high energy animals, they can be aggressive with the way they show affection and other emotions. They will scratch, and nip at you with their teeth. A wild fox could show aggression if they feel they are in danger.
In an urban setting, an urban fox is most likely just curious. They will come around, hoping to find scraps of food. They could be friendly, or they could be more aggressive, depending on the situation. Use caution when approaching an urban fox.
Pet foxes are aggressive in another way. Tame animals are still wild animals, even though they have been raised in captivity. They get excited, and their energy takes over. They will bite, scratch, and pee on just about anything.
Another thing to consider, with wild animals, is the diseases they could carry. Foxes have been known to have mange and could also carry rabies. This is one of the biggest reasons you should approach foxes in the wild with caution.
Some people have reported that foxes in the daytime, can sometimes mean they are rabid because they are most active at night, and in twilight hours. However, foxes adapt their behavior to survive. It’s not that unusual to see a fox out in the daytime.
There is still a risk, if you interact with a wild fox, that it could have rabies or some other disease.
What to Do If a Fox Approaches You
If you are anything like me, when you see a fox, you want to run to them, and scoop them up in your arms. Or, you may be someone who can’t stand wild animals and are in fear of them. Either way, it is not the best idea to let a fox approach you.
They are probably friendly enough, however, you should not take the chance of them getting scared, and becoming aggressive with you. Loud noises, your smell, just about anything could set their wild instincts in motion.
My advice is to admire them from a short distance. If they are wild animals, they can be admired, and marveled over, from just a few feet away. A fox will most likely not attack you. They are going to be afraid of you if anything. Just keep cool, and take a look at them.
Are Foxes Friendly to Dogs?
From what I have seen, from people who own pet foxes, tame foxes are friendly to dogs. They can form a bond with their humans, and other pets in the household. Wild foxes, on the other hand, are unpredictable.
This doesn’t mean that they are dangerous to dogs or other house pets, but you should beware, just in case. I have read in forums and on apps like Nextdoor, where people have reported fox sightings, as well as reports of foxes attacking pets.
In some of these reports, they were unsure if the animals were foxes or coyotes. A coyote is much more likely to attack a house pet and should be avoided, and considered dangerous. Use your own discretion when it comes to letting a fox have any contact with your dog or other housepets.
Are Foxes Good as Pets?
A lot of people wonder what foxes would be like as pets. The harsh truth is that a lot of responsibility comes with owning a pet fox, or a rescued fox. They are high energy animals, that need a lot of attention.
They need room to run around and an outdoor enclosure that has been “fox proofed.” Foxes can be escape artists and love to dig, so you will need to have special fencing to keep them in.
Pet foxes are tame foxes, so they still have tendencies to bite, scratch, and do things that a wild animal would do. They are hard to clean up after, and some of them have a bad smell. A pet fox marks things with its urine and feces, they will poop on the countertop, and pee everywhere.
The smell can be very hard to get out of carpet, and they must be cleaned up after constantly. Are they completely adorable? Yes. Are they lovable? Absolutely. Are foxes good as pets? Not so much, in the traditional sense. For some, it’s worth the sacrifice.
Are Urban Foxes Friendly?
Urban foxes are wild foxes. They may be friendly, however, they can be unpredictable. If you approach an urban fox, or one approaches you, you should be cautious. Many people will interact with foxes that come to their home. Watch them from the windows, set food out for them at night.
People like foxes, and want a glimpse into their world. They give them food, or scraps, which is not always the best idea. They can become dependent on you for a meal. This can have positive and negative effects. Urban foxes present a unique situation, where they have adapted, to tolerating human behavior.
Even though they have made their homes among us, they are still wild. If you are going to interact with a fox, try to keep your distance. If you are brave enough to touch a wild fox, you do that at your own risk.
See more about Fox Behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pet foxes are usually friendly. They are tame, and still have wild behavior, which makes them unpredictable. They can be aggressive with their affection, but they are very loving creatures.
Wild arctic foxes are going to react to humans in different ways. They may be friendly, or they could be frightened and feel threatened by you. Approach them with caution.
Most animals are friendly when they are babies, they are playful and full of energy. This doesn’t mean that you should approach them or play with them, always use caution.
Red foxes can be friendly. Any animal can be mostly friendly, however, anything can set a wild animal off. Even if they seem friendly, use caution when approaching a wild fox.
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