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This article was written by: "astargirl22" (Member of Sybils Message Board)

This information is based on my experience raising a Swift fox. I do not want anyone to be under the impression that I have raised several foxes, I have 2. One is a Swift fox named Bella and the other is a Marble named Barrett. This information is my personal experience and opinions. Some facts are from Google like size and weight of a Swift fox, other info is mine.

The Swift Fox (Vulpes velox) is a small light orange-tan fox around the size of a domestic cat (5 to 7 LBS) found in the western grasslands of North America. They have a dark, grayish, tan coloration that extends to a yellowish tan color across its sides and legs. The throat, chest, and belly range from pale yellow to white in color. Its tail is black-tipped, and it has black patches on its muzzle. Its ears are noticeably large. It is about 12 inches (30 cm) in height, and 31 inches (79 cm) long, measuring from the head to the tip of the tail, or about the size of a domestic cat. Males and females are similar in appearance, although males are slightly larger. (WIKIPEDIA)

Bella eats a high protein dog food as her main source of food. She also enjoys fruits and veggies (Cantaloupe, Onions, Cucumbers). She loves eggs (Chicken) and she prefers them raw; shell and all. She is not a big meat eater unless it is cooked chicken or raw deer meat. She will at times eat hamburger cooked or raw and times will like to have raw chicken but she has to be in the mood. She will never turn down cooked chicken though. She also has her favorites of "junk" food including marshmallows, cool whip, ice cream and milk. She gets these in moderation. You will need to experiment with different foods to see what your fox will like. See the "Pet Food" topic for more info on what you should not feed your fox.

Bella was very easy to litter train. For the first few days it was tough as she did not like the litter I was using (Feline Pine). Once I got a litter she approved of, it was a cake walk. She likes just regular cat litter, nothing special just the non clumping kind. We use a regular cat box for her with no lid. A small box works for her because she is small and does not need a huge box. We only fill the box about 1/3 of the way full as foxes do not bury their waste. When she had an accident, we just picked up the waste and put it in the box and showed her that we put it there. (We did this as instructed by our breeder Dinnka/Mandy) Whenever she used the box for the first several weeks, we verbally praised her several times and made a big deal out of it. I personally think this encouraged her to continue to use it. Actually as of today often we praise her when she uses the box so she continues to know that she is doing a good job.

Now it is important to note that all foxes have their own personality and traits so what Bella does, others may or may not do.

Bella is a very selfish, persistent, greedy swift fox. She likes to please herself unlike a dog that wants to please you. She honestly only cares about what makes her happy. Once she has her mind set on something, she WILL get it; she will not stop until she does. She does not respond to "discipline" the only way to get her to stop doing something you don't want her to do is either give in or remove the object.

She likes to dig at the carpet/couch and once she starts on a spot, she will dig through unless you put something over the spot she is digging at to prevent her from doing it. By nature foxes are diggers and you will not be able to break this habit I do not think as I have recently came to realize. When I say she is greedy I mean just that. If you have something and she wants it, she WILL get it by whether you give it to her or she will just wait until the timing is right and steal it.

When she steals items she will go right away and bury it either in her litter box (most popular place to look if something is missing), the bed, a pile of clothing on the floor of she will even attempt to dig the corner of the carpet up to bury it there. 99.9 percent of the time when she steals something, she will take it and hide it like mentioned and will poop on it. ANYTHING Bella wants to claim as "hers" she will poop and depending on how much she wants it will also pee on it as well. We often find turds around the house where something is laying that she likes that she pooped on. You will need to be prepared for this, its not always pleasant to find poop in the bed, on the counter or on the floor.

Another thing she does is hide food. Foxes tend to do this in the wild as they do not know when their next meal will be. It is not uncommon to find all sorts of food in the bed, hidden in the couch, in the litter box (that is why you do not want to use clumping litter. If they eat the food that has the litter on it, it could clump in their stomach) or other random hiding spots.

Bella is a very social fox. She loves to meet new people and other small animals. She is afraid of big animals with the exception of Barrett. She will approach just about anyone but will not always let them touch her. She remains cautious but will still go up to strangers. She is very vocal and makes a lot of different noises for different situations. You will learn what certain noises mean and at times she will get VERY loud.

Most times she is pretty chill and relaxed however she can get very hyper and rambunctious. It is very important to have lots for her to do because she gets bored easily. Pat the owner of this web site (Sybil's Den)   has said "A bored animal is a bad animal" and I fully agree with this. You need lots of time to give to your fox and provide it with lots of activities to do.

Some of Bella's  favorite past times are running around like she is on crack, throwing her toys into the air and playing with them, digging of course, and loves her "cat cube". She likes tug of war, loves loves loves to be chased and likes to pounce on things. You should try different things to see what they like. Anything that makes noise is usually popular. It is important to know that you can not be attached to your belongings as they may get ruined. Shoes, clothing, wallets, hair ties, plastic items and several other things have been destroyed by Bella.

Bella grew up in the house and does not have any outside cage other than a crate we will put her in where she can dig at the ground. She will go into Barrett's cage to play with him. She really does not like to be outside much. She does not like her feet wet and actually prefers to be carried when we go on walks. When she is on a leash, she is on a harness because she slips everything else. She does not lead well, she is not like a dog at all. In my opinion, outside is not "required" for Swifts or at least Bella. Actually there have been times that she has ran out the door and turned around and ran back into the house. Barrett is not as happy in the house like Bella is.

I am not going to elaborate much on this as I am not very experienced with this. However, Bella sees a Vet about an hour away from us. It is very hard to find a Vet that is willing to treat "exotics" so you will need to do your research before getting your fox. She gets her rabies shot and a series of DAPP vaccine. Her normal vet bill runs around $75 and to get her fixed was $245. This may be high I do not know or care as this is one of the only vets within a 2 hour drive that will see her and they are awesome there. Bella seems to have some issues with her eyes being sensitive and things bother them easily. I do not know if it is a "Swift fox" thing or just her. Nothing major just once she needed an antibiotic cream and she had some lipid deposits on her lens but they cleared up.

Bella does not smell at all. She self cleans and really does not require a bath unless she gets into something nasty. She does not like baths. Her urine smells just slightly skunky/musky but it's faint. Her poop smells like that too when she first goes but the smell don't last long. When she is scared or mad she lets out this smell that is just horrible here we refer to it as "hideous smell". It just has it own smell and you will know it when it happens. There is no sign that it is going to happen, just all of a sudden you smell it and run.

Overall Swift foxes make good pets out of most foxes. They do not smell, they are small, shed lightly and are very social. You really just have to have time, money and patience to give to them. You can not be attached to your material things and have to be understanding.

I hope this information helps future Swift fox owners.

If you need more information, please look at Sybil's Message Board.
Once you join, you will see all the pictures, and you will be able to post.

This article was written by: "astargirl22" (Member of Sybils Message Board)