Foxes are beautiful animals that have so much in common with domesticated animals like dogs and cats. If you’re someone that loves foxes as much as I do, then the question must have crossed your mind.
Can You Have a Pet Fox?
The answer is yes, in some states it is legal to have a pet fox. There are different laws for pet foxes in each state. Some states require a permit, some are rehabilitation only and others require 200+ logged hours in a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Pet Foxes | Video
There are a lot of people who successfully keep pet foxes. They are very loving creatures, and when you tame an animal a bond does form between you. However, keeping a pet fox can be a very hard thing to do.
A lot of work goes into having a pet fox or rescuing a fox. You must have a proper enclosure that is secure so they cannot dig out of it or climb over the fencing, you must feed them healthy food, and you must give them a TON of attention.
Some people keep their pet foxes inside, which opens a whole new set of difficulties such as damage to your home, the smells and more. Foxes have so much energy and that energy can oftentimes be destructive.
Do Foxes Make Good Pets?
This is the second question most people want to know. It’s a hard one to answer. For the most part, foxes do not make good house pets. By house pets, I mean pets that live inside the house or outside pets that have a yard.
Pet foxes have special needs that go beyond a regular pet. There are conditions and responsibilities that must be met.
While foxes are very lovable and tend to form bonds with their owners, they are still wild animals. They bite, they scratch, they damage things and they poop and pee everywhere.
Some foxes are escape artists and make a habit of trying to dig out of their enclosures or bolt off when they get a chance.
Have Foxes Been Domesticated?
There is a fox domestication program in Siberia that has been running for over 50 years. Through selected breeding and genetic experiments, they have domesticated, to some degree, a lineage of silver foxes.
The program was started by a man named Dmitri Belyaev, a geneticist who believed that animals could be domesticated in real-time, by selecting the calmest and most tame of the species, while using selective breeding.
The program is still ongoing even after his death, and when someone purchases one of their domestic foxes’ part of the proceeds goes back into the program.
Domesticated Vs Tame
Sometimes there is confusion between these two. There are only 7 animals in the history of human civilization that has been fully domesticated, but there are others like the silver foxes in Siberia who are also considered domesticated to some degree.
The seven main domesticated animals:
While there are plenty of other animals that can be considered domesticated such as rabbits, goldfish, rats, even llamas, many of these animals are wild animals that are tamed and not fully domesticated.
So, what is the difference? Domesticated animals, over a long period of time, have been bred to live alongside humans. They can live with us or be used for work and are tolerant of humans. Domestic animals would not survive in the wild without us, due to thousands of years of domestic breeding and genetics.
Tame animals are wild animals that can become tolerant of humans by being raised and cared for by us. These animals have not had the long period of genetic domestication that the others have had.
Tame animals can be raised as babies to form bonds with us, but the fact remains that their wild instincts can kick in at any time.
They will pee in your cat’s water dish; they will love you one second and bite you the next. Many exotic pets are tamed wild animals and not domesticated.
Are Pet Foxes Exotic?
Some pet foxes are considered exotic, and while all foxes may be considered exotic by pet standards, not all foxes are exotic by definition.
Exotic animals are animals that come from another region, in the case of foxes, in America, fennec foxes would be considered an exotic animal because they come from Africa.
Red foxes and gray foxes would not be considered exotic animals in America because they have populations in North America.
As a pet though, since they are not domesticated many people consider foxes to be exotic pets.
The legality of Pet Foxes
To know if foxes can be kept as foxes in your area you will have to do your own research. Every state in America has different laws, rules, and regulations.
It’s not just by states either, different counties, townships, cities and other countries have their own rules concerning the matter.
You will need to check on a local level if it is ok to keep a pet fox.
How Much Do Pet Foxes Cost?
A lot of different factors go into the cost of obtaining a pet fox such as the species, if the fox will come from overseas, and the price that an individual breeder will charge.
You should expect to pay anywhere between $1,000-$9,000 for a fox that you intend to keep as a pet. Breeders within the United States may charge less.
A few types of foxes that have been kept as pets in the US:
- Red Fox
- Fennec Fox
- Arctic Fox
- Gray Fox
There may be options for other species, but these are the most common. It can also be an option to rescue a fox, rehabilitate them, or purchase them from a fur farm.
Unfortunately, foxes are bred for their fur and are grossly mistreated by being overfed and kept in small cages. This can oftentimes create health problems for them, and in some cases, you can purchase them.
Can Foxes Be Litter Trained?
Foxes can only be litter trained to a certain point. Some fennec foxes have been able to learn to use a litter box, but even then, they do not use them all the time. In a broader sense, I would say no they cannot be fully litter trained.
Since foxes are tamed wild animals, their instincts kick in and they do what they do, they mark things with urine. In the wild chemical communication is used by animals to mark their territories.
This makes litter training very difficult for even the most tamed foxes. They have not been through the hundred and even thousands of years of genetic domestication.
Pet Fox Diet
In the wild foxes eat a variety of wild game animals, fruits, insects and vegetation. When keeping a pet fox most veterinarians suggest feeding a fox a raw prey-model diet that mimics their diet in the wild.
This means a balance of raw meat, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Other pet fox owners claim that you can feed certain foxes different types of wet cat food and grain-free dog kibble To find out more about what pet foxes such as red foxes and arctic foxes eat check out our article on fox diets.
Fennec foxes being from the desert regions feed mostly on insects, so many fennec fox owners feed their foxes roaches, silkworms, and other insects as well as raw meats, veggies, and fruits. To find out more about owning a fennec fox visit our article here.
Why Do I Even Want One?
I think most people who want a pet fox are fascinated by them, they believe foxes to be cute and cuddly without realizing the responsibilities and conditions for owning one.
Others may have done some research and know a little about the subject but not everything. If you are considering obtaining a pet fox, you will want to come to terms with the fact that they do not make the best pets.
They bite, they scratch, they pee in cups, they poop anywhere they want even on your kitchen counter!
If you are going to have a pet fox, you will want to have an outdoor enclosure for them or at least access to one if they are also going to be kept inside.
Think very hard about if you have the money, space, and patience to raise a pet fox before you decide that you absolutely must have one.
See more about Fox Behavior.
I love foxes, they are one of the most unique animals in the world. They have always had a place in my heart, they are mysterious, they seem to cross the veil between animal and spiritual beings, for me at least.
I think there is no doubt that some foxes could one day be fully domesticated. They want to be loved by us. Just look at any of the popular pet foxes on Instagram and social media and you will find that they are sweet, loving, and incredibly vulnerable.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”Antoine de Saint Exupery
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