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So fox cub/kit season is nearly upon us and wherever I look it's clear that the "Fox breeders wanted!" posts are coming in thick and fast.

A pet fox might sound like a dream come true but they really are not for everyone and it's not as simple to keep them as you might think. For the sake of foxes everywhere, I bet you to think long and hard long in advance of taking the plunge.

There are several factors to take into account and there is nothing more soul destroying for dedicated animal enthusiasts and keepers than seeing animals purchased on a whim and later sold on by people who did no research and bit off more than they could chew.

Silver foxes (as the semi-domestic ex-fur farm descendants are know to differentiate between captive stock and wild red foxes) are stunningly beautiful, elegant and fascinating creatures so its little wonder that they are on so many peoples bucket lists. But what are they really like to keep?

Lets get the cons out of the way first shall we?

  • Foxes smell REALLY bad. Foxes have BO and pee that smells quite a lot like weed... And when I say they smell, I'm not talking about the sort of smell that disappears so long as the enclosure is kept free of urine and faeces. I'm talking about a smell that is on par with ferrets in its ability to linger and transfer to every surface they touch and that it is the animal themselves that stink.

  • Temperament can be anywhere on a sliding scale of "soft and fluffy like kittens" to "HOLY-SHIT-GET-IT-OFF-MY-FACE!!!"

  • Foxes are noisy.... Expect screaming. They usually like to pick the exact moment you get into bed or someone walks past your garden or the bloke comes to read your electricity metre to decide to have a screaming session. They generally time their screaming for maximum embarrassment. Some foxes are noisier than others but most will scream in excitement, when they're angry, when they're hungry or just when the mood takes them to be a noisy, obnoxious bastard.

  • They are seriously destructive. If its not nailed down, they'll try to eat it. If it isn't made of granite, they'll chew it. They don't care how expensive or hard-wearing your carpet is, they'll dig it up. This and the next bullet point are the main reasons they DON'T make suitable house pets at all.

  • They really don't litter train. Foxes are not animals that naturally pick a latrine area and stick to urinating and defecating there alone. Instead they pee and poo wherever they happen to be standing when they feel the urge to go. They pee and poo when they're excited, when they're annoyed and when they just need to evacuate. Which is often. Whilst you do hear of people keeping them as indoor pets, it's far from ideal or suitable in most instances.

  • They go through what fox keepers refer to as the 'Autumn/October Crazies'. This is caused by a huge spike in hormones and can make even usually placid and friendly foxes unsociable, extremely noisy, snappy and even downright aggressive. Most calm back down once their hormones settle but some never completely revert back to what was previously normal temperament. Some foxes will experience a hormonal spike every year but their first autumn is usually the worst.

  • They need a lot of space. Remember me saying that they don't make suitable house pets? Because of this, they need a large outdoor enclosure that is an absolute bare minimum of 100sq feet in size. It needs to have a solid or completely wired base to prevent them from digging out. It needs to have a roof to prevent them climbing out. It needs to have suitable enrichment and climbing opportunities. Don't be tempted to cut corners and use chicken wire because they're entirely capable of breaking through it. Use heavy gauge mesh of good quality.

  • Their bites SUCK. Cubs play bite just like puppies and kittens. They also resource guard. Expect this and deal with it as positively as possible. A bite from an adult is no laughing matter and in countries where rabies is an issue, a bad bite could spell death to your fox even if he is fully vaccinated.

  • Not all vets will so much as look at a pet fox so be organised and find a willing vet BEFORE you take the plunge. Expect to pay more to get a fox treated than you would for medical care for a dog or cat.

  • People are often judgemental gits and are highly like to be horrified to find out that you keep these animals, even if you do it very well. Given that there are people out there that dive head first into trying to keep "exotic" animals and screw it up because they haven't bothered to properly prepare, it's completely understandable as to why public opinion often isn't on your side. Having had one of my own foxes stolen and killed by an animal rights loony that thought he'd be better in the wild, I highly suggest retaining a degree of anonymity as to the whereabouts and location of your foxes. And if you do become a fox owner, DON'T glorify fox keeping. DON'T.

  • Don't kid yourself. It's easy to read all of this and think "hey, they can't be THAT bad. I've already got a dog and a snake and a gerbil. I know all about animal care!". It's another thing entirely to actually share your life with a fox. Please, please think long and hard and be brutally honest with yourself before you take the plunge. Meet and smell one in person before you decide you want one.

So are there any pros to keeping them? Well, yeah, if you can get passed all of the above. They can bond really tightly with their owner. They can be extremely affectionate and they are incredibly fun to sit and watch. With effort and dedication, they can be engaging, rewarding and fun animals to work with. They love working out enrichment puzzles, show a decent willingness to learn and will often learn how to do a number of fun tricks. A well bred, well brought up and well cared for fox is a cheerful, entertaining and beautiful animal.

Breeders? Avoid breeders that just want your money. A good breeder will grill you on your knowledge, will want to see pictures of your enclosure, will not try to tell you that pet foxes don't smell etc etc. If they aren't questioning you, they don't have the foxes best interest at heart and that is very telling indeed.... Good breeders will also take back a fox they bred at any point should you run into unexpected difficulties. Expect to be placed on waiting lists for a cub from a good breeder and remember that you might be waiting a long time due to vulpes species only going through one breeding cycle per year. Do also consider rehoming an adult fox that finds itself in need of a new and secure home.

The TL:DR of keeping red foxes.... * They stink * They can be noisy * They need a very secure outdoor enclosure * They are NOT house pets * Don't kid yourself as to your suitability as a keeper. * They need a good, varied diet consisting primarily of raw meats (including offal and bone), fruits and vegs. Small amounts of dog and cat food are OK. Not not exclusively. * They need a diet containing taurine just like cats do. Raw heart and rabbit are good sources * They rarely litter train. * People WILL judge you. Expect this. And understand why public opinion isn't on your side. Be honest when discussing fox care. Don't glorify it. * They need a secure enclosure. They climb like cats and dig like dogs. * Temperament can be variable.

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So, my Fox is 15 weeks and extremely hard to do anything with because it hides constantly, any advice on how to get her out and about? Much appreciated

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Hope it’s alright for me to ask this here.

My girlfriend’s a huge fan of foxes, she just loses it when she sees them!

And I was wondering if you guys would know any means of quenching a thirst for vulpine fanaticism. Any games, merchandise or suggestions for a reddit scrub trying to make his woman smile?

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The fox - one of the most amazing animals there is! Submit pictures, questions, or anything related to foxes. For the species in the genus *Vulpes* or any other 'true fox' species.

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