Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Choosing a Fox: What Species Is Best?

What species of fox makes the best pet? The answer depends as much on the owner as it does on the fox. As with breeds of dogs, there is no one "best" species of fox, only foxes with differing traits and needs. However, to make things a little more clear, I will offer a comparison on the different species to the best of my knowledge. In the interest of full disclosure, I have only personally owned reds, so I can only pass along what I've heard from the owners of other species.

Reds tend to have more laid-back and doglike personalities than the other species do (given how hyper Gizmo is, I hate to think what the -not- laid-back species are like.) The main downside to reds is their size (large compared to the other species; I know of a domestic red that's 25 lbs and not fat) and that they are one of the stinkier species.

Next up are Arctic foxes. I have heard more reports of aggressive behavior about young arctics than any other species; if I get an e-mail in my inbox saying "help! My fox kit is biting and I don't know how to make her stop", 9/10 times it's an arctic kit. I don't know if this is a specific stage that arctic kits go through, or if the aggression persists into adulthood. If anyone has more information on the temperaments of adult arctics, please let me know. However, if you are considering bringing home an arctic, it is worth noting that arctics are more temperature-sensitive than other species, so you'll need to make special arrangements for them in the summer to be sure they don't overheat. Arctics are also relatively strong smelling, from what I've heard.

As for fennecs, they tend to be a bit easier for new fox owners to handle because they are so small. 3 lbs of fennec is a lot less intimidating than 17 lbs of red fox. However, I have also heard that they are the most temperamental species, and have the biggest personality change as they get older. (They are also incredibly noisy. Not sure I could deal with this every morning.)

The remaining three species you can find in the pet trade are grey foxes, swift foxes, and corsac foxes. From what I've heard, all three are relatively well-suited to be pets. They're not as big or smelly as reds are, and aren't as high-strung as fennecs. I'll admit that I haven't personally kept any of these species, but I have heard nothing but good things about them. The breeder who I purchased Gizmo from has said that greys are her personal favorite.

More important than species, though, is that you get a bottle-raised kit. They need to be pulled from the mother before three weeks of age and bottle-fed by humans to imprint them on humans. Otherwise they will never be quite as tame or as friendly. For your first pet fox, it is very important that you get one from a breeder who bottle feeds.

75 comments:

  1. Happy to have an update. A fox has always been my dream pet, so when I found this blog I started checking every day. It had been a few months so I was getting worried. Glad you and Gizmo are ok!

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  2. My boyfriend is really into "exotic pets." Never thought of a fox, but I think that could count! Now I just have to prepare myself...thanks!

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  3. This is very helpful, I've been thinking about getting a fox (for the past 6 years) and this has really helped!

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  4. I plan on getting an arctic fox soon and the breeder I am getting him from says that they have no smell whatsoever which I hope is true because I would really like to have him mostly in the house. He also told me that they are the smallest and would do best as a mostly indoor pet. You've really got me rethinking my decision tho !

    Brianna

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    1. Your breeder was not entirely honest with you. Arctic foxes definitely have a smell to them (I've heard mixed reports on whether it's as bad as the reds smell. Some say it's not as strong, some say it's a lot worse.) As for being the smallest, that is a bald-faced lie. Arctics are actually one of the largest species of fox by weight.

      It sounds to me like the breeder was just telling you whatever you wanted to hear, so proceed with caution. If you do decide to purchase a kit from this individual, do an extremely thorough health check on the entire litter, and inquire about the breeder's USDA permit.

      If any of the kits appear in poor health (even if it's not the one you're taking), or the breeder doesn't produce some proof of their license, RUN. Even if it means losing your deposit.

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    2. Along with what Ragtatter said about if any of them seem poor in health, contact authority about it.

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  5. I've been planning on getting a fox or two someday, but I have no idea where to start looking. we do want reds, and in a more decent price range, but I don't even know where to start to find a decent breeder. how would you start looking, or do you know some breeders I could look into?

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    1. There is a web site called TinyTracks were you have a variety of foxes to choose from. Also, many people who own foxes got there's from Tiny tracks and strongly recommended them as a supplier. They also give the option of purchasing a "starter kit" which gives you some of the things you may need for your fox kit. Hope this helped!

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    2. Please do not support Tiny Tracks. They raise their animals in very poor conditions and often are neglected. There is a reason why they won't let buyers see where they keep their animals.

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  6. If i wanted to have a red fox as a pet when i got my own house (i have wanted one for over 4 years) how would i start to find a decent breeder?

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  7. I have been consideering a fox as a pet for over a year now, I have seen a lot of fox for sale up on "exoticanimalsforsale.net" whether or not these are reputable breeders is hard to say without talking to the people, but many have photos up, descriptions, their personal phone number and email and most will have ssome sort of statement about their usda license... I've seen quite a few of these, and I'm considering a silver, any suggestions on whether this is a bad idea or not? Pros and cons of a silver?

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  8. I am planning on getting a fox very soon, but my community only accepts small to medium animals, would a red fox be considered a large animal?

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    1. They are small to medium. They can be compared to a small size dog, like a boston terrier.

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  9. How intense is the 'stink' of Red foxes in particular? is it comparable to a dog, or a cats musk- or is it more intense like that of a skunk?

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  10. the breeder that im looking at buying from also has breeds named Pearl, silver, fire and ice, and such like. How do these comare to the gray and red foxes?

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    1. Pearl, Silver, and Fire-And-Ice are just colors of red fox. They are the same thing.

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    2. Are fire and Ice together? My breeder has that too.

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  11. If you want to get an Artic fox is there a temperature that you should keep your house at if you want to have them as an indoor pet(mostly) and what suggestions do you have for maintaining a good temperature for them in an outdoor space? Would an AC shed be good enough?

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  12. How bad do the red foxs smell.? & are foxs as loving as dogs? Do they cuddle with you & would you ever sleep with one, or would that be too dangerous.

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    1. You should NEVER sleep with a fox! Yes reds stink, but so do most foxes. Foxes aren't cuddly so don't expect it to. Be sure to always keep it on a leash, or it might run away and be too fast to catch.

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    2. Why shouldn't you sleep with a fox?

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    3. I owned a pearl grey. Bottle raised her from a day old. Her "stink" was no worse than a cat, imo. She wasn't bad to litter train... I started her in a pet carrier as soon as she was old enough to be up and about on her own 4 feet, she also would walk on the leash to do her business like a dog. She walked on a harness and leash and rode in my car. I took her just about everywhere with me much like you would your dog. I would say that they are a cross between a cat and dog in their behaviors. She would cuddle on the couch with me, but only on her own terms. If she wasn't in the mood, you weren't going to make her stay there. They also like to ferret away anything that catches their fancy and unless you are "their human" it may not be too easy to reclaim it from them while they are still interested in it. My Athena had a fascination with my mother's crystal goblets and would scream like a mad monkey if you tried to take one from her before she was ready. And where the whole dangerous to sleep with thing comes from, I'd like to know. I slept both with and in close proximity of this "dangerous" animal for a year and came out unscathed. Sadly, I had to rehome her when my work schedule became such that I couldn't spend the time at home with her like I had and couldn't take her with me. Owning a fox is alot like having a special needs child... they depend mainly on one person and can make life difficult for anyone else. This was the case with mine. When I wasn't at home as much as I had been, she would act out and Noone else could handle her. Btw... she was a 100% indoor fox. She went out when I did and was in her harness and leash. I would not recommend walking one on a collar alone because they can hurt themselves or get loose from one.
      My boyfriend and I are currently shopping for one. I am self employed now, so the time away factor has changed greatly.
      I would advise that if you won't have the time for a new born child then you don't have the time for a fox. Also, if you feel they cannot be trusted enough to be slept with or cuddled, then look for a hamster

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    4. This is helpful information. Thank y'all! I am just beginning my search for a fox. I have been doing a lot of research. That's what brought me to this page. I would like to know where I can find a baby that I could take home from the beginning. I have looked at several breeders online, Tiny Tracks included; however, pickup isn't until they are older. Some say nothing about bottle feeding. How would I find someone that as ERR said, "the breeder wasn't raising and selling them to the pet market, that was something he did to those that were interested in having one as a pet." Could someone help me?

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  13. A lot of places I have looked at have said that fox's (ALL fox kind) are wild and not trust worthy plus in the top 10 BAD pets is that true I REALY want a fox but I don't know what to trust! Even finding someone who can breed them sounds totally dangerous and a little scary WHAT SHOULD I DO!????!??

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    1. you could adopt from tiny tracks:
      http://www.tinytracksexoticanimals.com/fox.html

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    2. Personally, I would talk directly to private people that own them. Not breeders, not bloggers (present blogger excepted ;) )... actual people that have them as pets.
      When I bought mine a while back, the breeder wasn't raising and selling them to the pet market, that was something he did to those that were interested in having one as a pet. He was someone I knew and trusted outside of the purchasing of a fox and was a wealth of information. He told me to not even consider one that is less than 3 generations donesticated. And the more generations they are domesticated (kept in captivity), the less wild they will be. Also, look for ones that have been bottle fed. I saw recently on a website where they were saying that the foxes have not imprinted before 6 weeks old. I don't know if I buy that. I got mine the day she was born and bottle fed her from then until she was ready for solid foods... just like a newborn child. It's a lot of work. But worth it. They become accustomed to your feel, smell and biorhythms and you are the first thing they see when their eyes open. THAT'S when imprinting happens.if you're not that committed to the whole process, the next best thing is to find a breeder that bottle feeds the babies. At least that way they are accustomed to human interactions and bond with humans even if it's not directly you.
      All I can say is to do as much research on each breeder as possible as well as talking to as many foxie parents and then make as informed a decision as possible.

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    3. There is a factual flaw in your breeder's advice. If you take a wild fox and breed it with another wild fox you get wild fox pups. You can attempt, and have success, at taming these wild fox pups but they are genetically identical to the wild fox and therefore be no more easily tamed then the parents if they had been tamed at birth. If you continue to breed these foxes with other similarly bred foxes you will continue to get have genetically similar foxes to their wild counterparts who are no more easily tamed then their a wild one. Unless you use selective breeding to breed only the most easily tamed foxes from one generation to the next then it makes not difference if they are one generation or fifty generations tames. There is a difference between a tamed animal and a domesticated animal. You tame an animal such as a fox by removing from its parents at birth or while its young and raise it yourself and attempt to teach it behaviors that make more suitable to a pet. Domestication requires generations upon generations of selective breeding for the desires behavioral traits. The only true instance of fox domestication comes from Russia where they have been selectively breeding them for over 60 years to achieve the desired behavior. Breeders in the states may or may not have attempted to selectively breed for their foxes for a few generation, you will have no idea if you purchase a fox from one, but either way they will not be domesticated. If you purchase one it will be your burden to tame it, and how easy or difficult this is will be pure dumb luck of the draw. Some foxes are more easily and fully tamed then others. I raised two foxes from birth, a red and an artic, both were terribly behaved compared to dog, had a much stronger sent than a dog, were much more destructive than a dog, much less friendly than a dog, and not what most people would consider good pets. They are a lot of work and require a lot of attention. They are genetically programed to exist in a wild environment, contrary to dogs who have been selectively bred for thousands of generations to exist in a human environment. I cannot stress enough that these animals are not domesticated and if your looking to purchase one be prepared for what that entails and do not believe a breeder trying to sell them as being good pets.

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  14. please tell me what to do!! I really want a fox but there in the top 10 BAD pets list some one tell me the truth about fox's please I DONT KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

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    1. Who do you trust more about how foxes do as pets? Someone who has never owned a fox making a list of animals, or someone who has a pet fox and is very up front about the good and bad aspects of it.

      Also, you should quit abusing punctuation. what'd it ever do to you?

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  15. TammyHand@mindspring.comJanuary 10, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    I have a Gray fox , /Roxie is female and about 5and a half years old. She was not a pup and didn't come from a breeder . Now that being said she loves me and Robert but is always shy and spooky. She sleeps under my bed and will come out when when she wants to play or get petted. She is not a lovie dovie animal at all. She will let you pet her but not pick her up or crate her. She has little or no smell and is litter box trained. I had to get a permit to keep her. She was hurt by a dog and can never be released to the wild. She nips is you do not do what she wants, she nips if you make her afraid and she will bite you if you go under the bed in her space. I do not suggest you get a fox from the wild unless you are a rehab person and plan to spend the rest of your life as her caretaker.
    She hates other people and will not come out when anyone is around. She doesn't have a smell like I was told by the zoo vet that she would have. I love her and she loves me but she if far from the best pet animal. I would not suggest a wild Fox as a pet to anyone but a professional. Thanks Tammy

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    1. I'm sorry, but having a wild fox is extremely risky. I got a domestic red fox and it's pretty good. Generations and generations of tame foxes were put into it. Very pricy though paid more then $8000. Not as good as a dog but the next best thing. I keep it in my garage and have a fenced in backyard. I needed to put a mesh on the top and digged down one foot cemented it, the covered it back with dirt. I also got a lot of sand and covered a whole corner with it. Lots of preperation goes into owning a fox. I love her, but I wish I had just been able to settle with a newfoundland. With a Newfoundland, you basically get a gigantic cuddly Teddy bear. They are also great with kids. The fox is tolerant to a point. My sister owns a Newfoundland and my kids love her. I think as soon as Misty, my red fox, dies I will get a Newfoundland. And name her Emily. I'm sorry I just love Newfoundlands I just realized that! That's crazy!

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  16. I want to get a domestic fox. The ones form Russia that are $8,700. What should I do to prepare for that? I want an arctic fox, while my friend wants a red, we live together, but we don't want two. What do we do?

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    1. I'd recommend first deciding which one would be easier and fit you two better. If this would be your first time owning a fox, definitely check out Fennecs, as said above.

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  17. I saw you could own a fox and was Like OMG! I totally need one. I found this info very interesting and desisted to get a fennec fox. They seem cute and easier. I'm gonna need a litter box though. And a cage. I also don't know if my chihuahua will like it. Do dogs and foxes get along?

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  18. I am sad that so many people are willing to spend $8,000 or more on a vanity pet. The shelters are full in America with dogs, cats, rabbits and nearly every other animal species. Dogs have proven their designation of "Man's best friend" for hundreds of years. If you have an extra $8,000, adopt a shelter animal, then give the rest to the Humane Society to use in its work to stop cruelty and neglect. But please, don't use it to purchase a "look at me, I'm so cool, I have a fox" pet. Be bigger than that.

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    1. I have a fox that I got for $200, which is LESS than my local shelter charges for a large dog. Just because one person spent a ton of money on an animal doesn't mean they're ALL that expensive. Compare a million-dollar racehorse to a hobby-farm pony.

      Also, before you start singing the praises of the HSUS, please check out this website, and don't give any more of your money to those criminals:
      http://www.humanewatch.org/

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    2. You're not going to make a lot of friends bringing up HSUS. I paid a $180 adoption fee for my rottie from a shelter, and I have seen shelters charge $600 for a dog. A red fox is in the $200 to $500 range depending on breeder and color. The foxes shipped from Russia are in the $7000-$8000 range, but there are only 3 or 4 in the entire country.

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    3. The Russian domesticated foxes that cost upwards of $8,000 go to fur farms and get made into coats if no one buys them. So you're still rescuing an animal :)

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    4. Believe it or not. Racehorses are worthless ones they're racing career is over. They're only valuable as a broodmare or stud if they made good winnings. A million dollar horse to a $200 horse. Just had to point that out.

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  19. Foxes in America are raised by humans trying to get them accustomed to humans. If you get a good breeder and train them well they can be good pets. However, there are places in Siberia where foxes have been GENETICALLY domesticated to TRULY be tame, not just raised in a human household. There is a difference, y'know. (These Russian foxes can be 9000 dollars though, so not really in your average budget.)

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  20. How do i go about finding a breeder near my location? I live near chicago.

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    1. I just purchased a red fox. 16 days old. She is fabulous! Bought her from Lost River game ranch in southern Indian. Google the ranch name for their ph#. It was an all day drive to get there but worth the trip.

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. Nosense Nonsense.May 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    I've dreamed of being the proud owner of a beautiful fox ever since I was young. One of my very favorite animals.
    However, as I've gotten older it's become less practical. Now, I have 2 cats. I would still love to add a Fox to the family some day, but I worry that they could become too aggressive with my cats.
    The most beautiful breed in my opinion is the Red. I think Fennecs are cute, but I prefer larger breeds (just as I prefer larger breeds of dogs).
    Of the larger breeds, which do you think would be the least aggressive around other animals?
    Also, what do you do to keep the fox odor under control and how frequently do you bathe them on average?

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  23. I've really just gotten into the idea of getting a pet fox. Mostly because while I've always liked them, it never occurred to me that I could have one as a member of my family, and partially because today I got my first up close(ish) look at a wild one who seems to have made the wooded area near my home, their home. As for the breeds, I know I want a red, and a silver, or two arctics. The first two due to an anime obsession I have that would center around their names, and the second because anything albino, or arctic has always appealed to me. Albino pythons, snow leopard, white siberian tiger, etc. I have a potential solution for people interested in arctic foxes that live in areas where it can get hot and humid during the summer, I personally live in the obscenely random weathered state of North Carolina. Our summers can start early and drag on. Fortunately our hot and humid season started this month instead of last month because winter didn't quite finish with us on time. There are plenty of things out there made for bigger dogs, and long haired dogs, who can't take the heat in the summer. Unfortunately not all of it works for an animal that loves to dig and gnaw on any/everything, but for an arctic who seeks cool temeratures it's worth a try. They make pads, kind of like water beds, designed to keep the water in them cool. All that's needed is to change out the water every once in a while to prevent stagnation. They also make collar/neck wraps that follow the same principal. Wet them down with ice cold water and put on your pet's neck to keep them cool. Of course a nice shady spot is always recommended when keeping an animal outdoors for a longer period of time, and apart from exercise and fresh air , my pets are indoor only. My cats do NOT go outside, for fear of predators and cars, and my dog does NOT stay outside for more than fifteen minutes unless I'm doing a lot of in/out through the front door. I can see my dog from my driveway so that's not a big deal for her. For indoor spaces, I recommend keeping a fan going even with the AC on. And just because it's nice out for you to cut it off and open the windows, doesn't make it okay for your pets. Keep an eye on their behavior. An animal like a fox who is usually bursting with energy should not be lethargic if they are enjoying the temperature. Also ice cubes as treats are probably a good idea. Just my two cents taken from years of experience with dogs who dislike the heat.

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  24. i am a younger fox lover and i have been doing hours on end of research so i can be the perfect fox owner when i am older and have enough room in my yard to have the proper space for my fox....... but do you know what a champagne fox is like..... that is like my all-time favorite but you didn't say anything about them and i was curious on your point of view on them.

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    1. "Champagne Fox" is just another color of Red Fox. They're the same thing.

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    2. The link below is to someone who owns a Champagne fox.she updates her sight regularly so you can ask Her about her pet Fox Miko. :D
      http://livingwithfoxesblog.tumblr.com/

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  25. I went to an exotic pet store today and they had an arctic fox kit there that I got to pet. She did not smell too bad. Hell the ferret smelled worse, and I use to have one that didn't nearly smell as bad. If you live in a household with a cat and two dogs I can bet you would barely notice the smell. Yes she did have a bit of a temperament but that is because she is shy and does not like a retail environment. I am sure if raised by a loving family that already has pets, it would be not much different than owning a dog or a cat.

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    1. The lack of smell was because she was a kit, not a mature animal. This is the case for most mammals, even humans. Compare the smell of a 7-year-old who has been running around outside all afternoon to an adult who has been jogging all afternoon.

      As for the temperament, given that almost all arctic kits have one, it is much more likely that she has a bit of attitude because she is an arctic, not because she doesn't like a retail environment.

      Also, being raised by someone who has pets will not make the fox be like a dog or a cat. It is still a fox and will act accordingly. In fact, allowing too much contact between a fox kit and a dog is ill-advised because the kits often instinctively bond to the dog instead of the human, resulting in a kit that is shy and hostile towards humans but friendly with dogs.

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  26. Is there a way to make red foxes less stinky?

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  27. My girlfriend has always wanted to own a fox, but I never knew which species would be suitable but now I do. Thank you so much!

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  28. What breed should I get and can I dress it up in dog clothes from time to time?

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    1. If you are the kind of person who dresses up pets in clothes, then you are not the kind of person who should keep any exotic pet. Unless they are being put on for the comfort of the animal (i.e. the booties they put on sled dogs, for example), applying clothing is selfish on the part of the human and stressful for the animal.

      To keep a fox, in many ways you have to meet it "half-way" and recognize it's wild nature and strive to meet it's needs in the most complete way you can. The fact that you would even consider dressing it up makes it very clear that you lack that level of maturity or interest in giving it the proper care--you just want a toy.

      A fox is not a toy. Please do not get a fox.

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  29. I'm going to get a male fox when I move out and I would get a female fox later on. When could I introduce her to him? Please leave an answer.
    -Vineflower

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    1. What makes you so sure you want two foxes when you haven't even had one yet?

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    2. Ragtatter is right. Do some research and make sure you are ready for a fox. they aren't like dogs or cats, and they have different needs then dogs or cats. be sure you are ready before you make any decisions.

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  30. Keeping foxes less stinky: bathe once a month
    Introducing foxes: I've learned that if the foxes are used to others they tend to be less shy or territorial if you introduce them slowly and carefully supervised eventually they may or may not get along.
    Those who support tiny tracks may or may not notice the cages have wires on the bottoms and are elevated putting pressure on the feet that isn't pleasant to anybody. Do they have a great variety yes but foxes aren't just something you buy and expect to be loving like a dog. They are naturally shy in the wild domesticated or not so unless you get veery lucky odds are you will get a fox that will not sleep next to you but under the bed or couch and will come sleep next to you. I've noticed the smell is kind of a musky smell but it is a predominate smell to someone who isn't used to it just like when you go to someone's house who has cats dogs guinea pigs ferrets... you get the picture. Just please choose carefully when you get an exotic pet.

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    1. Thank you. this has been extremely helpful, as I am looking into getting a fox. I still have a lot to learn though.

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  31. what about a cross fox

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  32. I was thinking about getting a pet fox. Should I get a pup or an adult? I was also told their urine smells like skunk. Is it worth getting a pet fox?

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    1. If you want the fox to trust and bond with you get a pup and spend LOTS of time with it

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  33. u forgot the kit fox

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  34. I am trying to find a fox breeder near me. They don't have to be in the same state but I was hoping to not have more than a days drive if possible. The only type of fox I can own in Virginia is a marble or pearl red type fox. If anyone has any info please let me know. Otherwise I will have to drive for 2- 3 days to get to tiny tracks.

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  35. I am interested in getting a fox, but I'm not sure I am completely ready for one. If any of you have suggestions on where I can find out more about how to take care of foxes, I would greatly appreciate it. I want to be the best possible owner, so even if it takes me years to know all I have to, I won't get a fox until I am completely sure I can make it happy and keep it safe. Please let me know about any information you think I should know. Thank you.

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  36. Im planning on getting a red fox at some point. I use to have one but my was giving to me by my dad and she was wild caught. I was youg so i didnt know that was bad. I had her for a long time and she was a handf
    handfull.. they like to dig.. carpet is bad the have spot and dig and dig. She didnt like strangers at all.. but she would cuddle. Would a domestic fox be any different then that red i had? Or are the temperamently the same as wild cought. P.s. he got her for me when the pup was around 2-3 weeks and we bottle fed her

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  37. Just found this website while looking for food that may be toxic to a fox. I am not looking to own a fox but... I live in Melbourne Australia and foxes are now living wild in quite urban environments, particularly along railway lines.

    I have two rescued dogs; Joe (Roti) and Sasha (Standard Poodle). I walk them at night and a small grey fox has become quite enamoured with Sasha and follows very closely on our walks now.

    So I have begun leaving food for the fox in a safe secluded spot; watered down milk and a mixture of high quality cat and dog food. So I am happy to see, reading info on this site, that this is ok.

    I'm still not sure why the fox is so bold with Sasha, she is off leash, and it is lovely but Joe, he is always on leash, would absolutely attack if it got within his reach. So the best I can do is feed the little thing and hope it stays safe and off roads.

    Thank you for the info on your site.

    Regards F

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  38. Part 1: I have had a grey fox, arctic, and red. So i can give you guys my experiences with them. I have a two year old male Blue Arctic fox. He is the best! He did go through a aggression phase when he was just a kit. He grew out of it. He loves to ride in the cvar in his dogfy car seat and stick his head out the window. He is much happier in the winter months here in MN. More moody in the summer. I can't imagine living some place warm with arctic foxes. He is very smart. He "sits" "highfives" and does opsticals like jumping over things and going through tunnels. Walks on a leash great! I bought him from a fur farm at 6 weeks old. He was not socialized with people during that time. He is smart and we have a good bond. He does not like to be handled or snuggled but enjoys the occasional belly rub. I spent a LOT of time trying to litter train him when he was a pup. Arctic foxes are the most difficult of the foxes I have had to potty train. He is happy as only a outdoor fox. Neutering did not change his bad potty habits, he was neutered as early as allowed. I had a male grey fox growing up (untilb I was about 15), their temperament is probably my favorite. He was potty trained but he only used special potty pads. He had a weird thing where he liked to only potty on his beds. So we would buy circular dog beds where the fabric can be unzipped. We would put the stuffing in a garbage bag and put it back into the bed and zip it up (so the stuffing would stay clean) then we would just wash his beds each night. We would let him outside (no leash or fence) and he would come back in whenever he wanted. Went straight to his potty pad to go to the bathroom. He alway came when called when he was outside. I remember him running up to me squealing and swishing his tail. Of all my foxes he was most excited to see me and loved to cuddle! I don't remember him being very stinking. We used "fabuloso spray" (purple all purpose cleaner) to clean his potty pad beds and that seemed to work very well for grey fox smell. He walked on a leash pretty good. My bond with him seemed the strongest (does not mean I don't love the other fox breeds just as much!) I did bottle raise him with my mother.
    --M

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    1. Thanks for the information. I'm looking at getting a male blue artic and this information helped a lot. How do you crate / cage them when you are not home?

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  39. Part 2:
    Now red foxes! These are the newest breeds of foxes I have owned. I bottle raised my female red fox, had her litter box trained by the time she started walking. The key is to start them off early as possible. Soon as her eyes opened I had her peeing in the litter box. When you get a fox that young you learn their potty habits very well. 5 minutes after bottle feeding her she would need to potty so I set her in the litter box and rewarded her with praise. I don't think treat rewards are the best idea unless you plan on giving them a treat EVERYTIME you see them use the potty. Treats for tricks not potty! Both my arctic and red foxes respond to high pitch "good boy" or "good girl". I bottle fed my red fox as long as possible. She was 10 weeks when she was completely off the bottle. She would sleep with me everynight until about 5 months. She started chewing my hair off as I was sleeping LOL so I kicked her out. She walks with me off leash so she is terrible on a leash. She is a indoor and outdoor fox. I believe every fox "happy pees" when they are excited. Hard to avoid. I do feel like she is a bit more destructive then my arctic fox. She gets in these fits where she just wants to destroy things, not a aggressive fit. She too went through a biting phase as a baby. She never bites now. I still cuddle with her and kiss all over her face, she loves her teeth brushed! She lets me hold her for long periods of time too. So to be honest I can't give you the "best pet fox" They all have traits that make them special. And if I were to get another fox their isn't a breed I'd choose over another. It might depend if i want a indoor or outdoor fox. And in my opinion, these three particular breeds of foxes I've had have the same energy level. As for smellyness my neutered male arctic fox and unfixed female fox both have a odor equally as strong, just smells different. The smell doesn't bother me. A unaltered male red fox does smell WAY stronger. I don't have any experience in them smell difference of a male red after neutering...let me know?
    --m

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  41. Since there are recent comments I thought I might as well throw my experiences in there too. My fox was a silver phase female red fox. I got her from a breeder and bottle raised her from 4 weeks of age.

    She was an absolute doll. She responded to her name, came when called, knew sit and lay down as well as others. I slept with her (until it wasnt possible anymore - ill get to that later). I don't know what the earlier comment saying to never sleep with a fox was all about, I trusted her as much as I trust my dog and cat not to hurt me. My girl loooved to give kisses and for some reason really liked to lick your eyes if you closed them and made kiss noises. Another friend, who had arctics, was really shocked about that as she said she'd never trust her arctic to be that close to her face. One thing I just loved was she would get so happy when I'd come home, she would run up and greet me like a dog would and her tail would swish side to side. She was very affectionate, but as another commentor stated, it had to be on her terms. She was much like a cat in that way, very independent and if it was her idea she'd cuddle, kiss, ect. If she didn't feel like it, you weren't gonna make her do it. Very stubborn.

    As far smell, it wasn't her that smelled it was her urine. Even being spayed it was very strong. If her litter box was kept up, it wasn't any worse than having a cat in the house. It wasn't something you could just let go for days at a time.

    She did go through an aggressive phase as a kit, though it was 100% food aggression. It was not hard to correct because I got on top of it right away. I did a few things - with an oven mit I started taking her bowl away while she was eating, and immediately give it back. After a while id take it and keep it for a minute or so, and then give it back. She learned that she would always get it back and eventually started to relax when I was by her while eating. I also would offer food from my hand (first with an oven mit on) and if she really wanted it she had to come to me and get it. She responded very well to this and it didn't take too long for her to get over the food aggression. She'd eventually take treats from anyone.

    The biggest problem I had with her was being destructive. It wasn't that she destroyed everything in sight, but here are some of the bigger incidents. Whe n she was a few months old she ripped a hole in the liner under our couch and would go in there like it was her den. She did the same thing to my boxspring on my bed. Eventually she dug a hole in my mattress and she would pee all over the bed. At least once a day. I'm not sure if this was marking behavior or what, but my bed was the only place she peed in the house (besides her litter box.) She had to be confined in my room while I was gone (I lived with my parents still at this time.) Anyways my bedroom was on the second floor. I came home one day and she was sitting on the step waiting to be let in the house. She had scratched out the screen and jumped out the window, unharmed. The digging was the biggest problem that I ever had with her, which is why I think she would have done better as an indoor outdoor pet. She had no place to dig and for her, it was a need. She also ate a lot of things she shouldn't have, she really liked fabric so I found a lot of fabric in her poops. The weirdest thing was I found an entire, intact handle for a plastic dairy Queen spoon in a poop. I don't know how that went through without damaging her insides! Anyways, would I recommend a fox to everyone? No! But I wouldn't recommend a rabbit or bearded dragon to everyone as a pet either. It all depends on if you're willing to accommodate the fox and take care of its needs. If you think it'll be just like having a dog, don't bother. They are more work but worth it if you love foxes.

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  42. Hi, fantastic page and such an informative read, I'm in the UK and trying to find where to purchase a red fox from, could anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks Matt

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  43. Hi I have been considering getting a fox in the next couple of years but wanted to do tons of research first. I feel that many websites regarding foxes as pets are very biased so I have a few questions for real people with actual experience with them.

    When Arctic foxes change color, how bad is the shedding? And how well do they handle warm summer? I wouldn't get one if I thought it would be cruel to keep in Virginia weather.
    What are yalls opinions on allowing your fox outdoor access all the time? (I considered building a complete, top and bottom, outdoor enclosure with a "doggy door" access)
    I saw that someone said raising them around dogs isn't the best choice because they can become more attached to the dog, does anyone else have experience with having both?
    If I wanted to take my fox to a public park for a walk, would this be to stressful? Or would it just depend on the temperament of my particular fox?
    And lastly, at least for now haha, I have a pet rat and plan to more than likely get another when he is gone (he is about 2 years old now). I am assuming the only appropriate way to house both would be to keep my ratty shut in a room where the fox could not see it?

    Thanks for the great information! I will be keeping all of this in mind when I make my final decision on getting another furry friend.

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  44. For those looking for a breeder, it seems not too many have websites and I would assume that's to help protect against PETA-types. The way I found breeders near to me was through this website:
    www.exoticanimalsforsale.net
    In the search you can put fox and any current ads will come up. There will be a few tabs, one will say current and beside that it will say something like expired or old ads (don't remember exactly what it is.) That is where you will find the most luck. Last fall I went through that section and clicked old ads and you can still email the person. I went through and emailed people who were within the distance I was willing to travel and just said "I saw an old ad and was wondering if you still breed" every person I contacted replied and I found 3 breeders within 4 hours of me. It takes more time but you might have a lot more luck than just putting fox breeder into google.

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