|Whiskers bristled forward can be a sign of interest.|
Having a good knowledge of canine body language is generally a great help in understanding foxes. While not all fox signals are the same as dog signals, there is enough of a similarity to allow you to learn quickly if you're used to dogs.
One very important signal, however, that I have not seen discussed much in regards to foxes is the position of the whiskers.
By watching what your pet fox does with his whiskers in different contexts, you can use them (along with the rest of his body language) to very accurately read his mood and intentions. For example, Gizmo often bristles his whiskers forward when he is very interested in an object, or ready to pounce. If I'm drumming my fingers on the table, and Gizmo freezes, stares at my hand, and raises his whiskers, I know I have about two seconds to stop that or he's going to pounce my hand.
On the other hand, if Gizmo is defending a new toy, he will also raise his whiskers along with other defensive signals (gekkering, pinning it beneath his forepaws, hip-slams, etc.) The important thing isn't just the way the whiskers are being held, but the context.
As a very rough, general rule, raised or bristling whiskers are a sign of a more excited or agitated mental state, while whiskers laid smooth against the muzzle indicate a calmer more relaxed fox. Watch your pet fox's whiskers, and learn to read them like you read the ears and tail! Every little body language cue you pay attention to and master will help you in understanding your fox.
I've had a bit of a schedule change, so The Pet Fox will be updated on Tuesday and Thursday for now (and, of course, Photo Of The Week each Saturday). Come back next Tuesday, when I'll be discussing the difference between playing and teasing.