considering a pet fox, there are several factors you
must take into mind. What will you be able to tolerate
in terms of smell? What will you be able to provide in
terms of space for the animal? Can you find a vet near
you, and if not are you willing to drive several hours
to have your animal treated? Are you ready to face
criticism from others? Have you researched its care
extensively? What kind of fox is legal, if at all, in
your area? Will you be able to introduce a fox into a
home where other animals are already present? Are you
able to commit up to two decades to a fox? Are you
willing to give up free time and your vacations? Will
you be able to deal with an animal that may never be
able to be housebroken or litter trained? Do you realize
that even with proper socialization and devotion, the
animal may never bond to you and even be afraid of you?
this mind, review each species of fox and decide which
one is best for you, if you pursue a fox as a companion
can be fed the same diet. What works for one fox
generally will work for another, though this isn’t
always true. However, bear in mind that the quality of
the food will heavily affect what a fox smells like.
Feeding a diet of raw meat will make a fox muskier, and
in the case of fennec foxes, will make their feces
smell. Poor quality dog food, such as Alpo, will also
make a fox smell worse. Some breeders sell food
specifically made for foxes. It’s important to realize
that foxes are omnivores and model your diet towards
that, as well as consulting with your breeder.
will go through a period of heavy shedding when
transitioning from their winter coat to their summer
coat. Some foxes you will hardly notice a change, such
as fennec foxes, which naturally live in Africa where
the temperatures do not vary much, while Arctic foxes,
red foxes and so on will shed heavily. Some will shed so
heavily that bald patches will appear. This is normal.
Foxes shed in clumps at this time, and otherwise do not
shed very much.
require a commitment for their entire lifespan. A fox
usually lives 10-15 years, though some foxes have lived
17-18 years. Be prepared to dedicate up to two decades
to this animal. Foxes are not pets that you can just
hire a pet sitter for. Be prepared to give up your
vacations. They require a lifestyle change on your
behalf, not the other way around. If you are not
prepared to make a commitment to this animal for a
decade or two, do not seek one.
other animal, foxes can suffer from a variety of
ailments. All foxes will require an exotic vet. Just
like with any other animal, you should seek a vet that
is willing to treat a fox before acquiring a fox.
Many regular vets refuse to treat foxes, as they
consider them a wild animal, and some will actually call
the police even if your animal is perfectly legal.
getting any exotic animal, check with every single
regulation at every level. Check with your country,
state, city and county ordinances. Check with zoning
laws, rabies laws, and animal exhibition laws – check
even where you think there wouldn’t be a law pertaining
to an exotic animal. The last thing you would want is to
be settled in with a fox only to find out that some
obscure law that outlaws the possession of.
keep a fox illegally! Many have tried and many have
failed. This will most likely result in the seizure and
euthanization of the animal, even if it is perfectly
well taken care of and never harmed anyone.
It is also
wise to have a paper trail for your fox. Keep your
breeder’s receipt, health certificate, ownership
transfer documents, health records and any other piece
of paper that is related to fox. Paper trails make it
easy to verify you have a legally owned, healthy animal
in case that is ever threatened.
Breeders, Brokers and Auctions
acquiring a fox for the first time, you should always
choose a breeder. They will likely be able to help you
and be more informative and reliable than a broker or
buying from an auction. You should look to buy from
breeder who is USDA licensed, though not all USDA
licensed breeders are good. Look for reviews, check
prices, and of course, ask lots of questions! The best
breeders will welcome questions. Be wary of scams, and
always try to talk face-to-face with the breeder and see
the animals yourself before you buy. Often ads will
pop-up to rehome foxes, but it is wise to for a first
time owner to get an animal that you can raise yourself
and bond to, as some rehomed foxes have unknown history
and trouble getting along with their new families.
kind of fox should I get?
you’ve been briefly versed in general about all foxes,
it’s time to narrow down the field and look at each
different species of fox. Each one has its pros and
cons, and while one fox might be perfect for one, might
be a bad idea for another. Be sure to do your own
research before deciding to acquire a fox.
This section doesn’t cover information on the
domesticated Silver foxes from Siberia.
Information is based on red foxes owned in the U.S and
think fox, a red fox is often immediately what you think
of. They are named for their classic red coloration, and
one of the most well-known pet red fox is Todd from
Disney’s Fox and the Hound. Despite being one of the
more popular, easy to get and least expensive fox
species, this species is perhaps the most demanding.
at 15-25 lbs, these foxes are the largest of all known
foxes. Tods (male foxes) are generally much larger than
vixens (female foxes)
depends heavily on the breeder and the color that you
choose. The classic red color often costs no more than
$400 at the most, while rarer colors like Platinum and
Amber can easily cost $300-500 or more. Cross, Marble
and Silver are very common color phases that will often
cost inbetween the cost of a red fox and an uncommon
color phase. Foxes can be found for as little as $175 by
countries do not allow foxes at all, as in some they are
considered pests and even invasive species.
foxes are native to many states, they can be difficult
to acquire in the U.S. . They are often thought of as a
rabies risk, though rabies cases in the U.S. have become
quite rare, and there have been no cases of rabies in
the captive population of foxes.
color phases is often not permitted as a pet, while
other color phases are considered domestic and allowed.
do not allow foxes at all, so as always, check the
legality where you live.
species will definitely require an outdoor enclosure, or
some large enclosure of some kind. A large dog kennel
works for this. At the very least the enclosure
should be 8x6 feet in size, and often that is the
minimum size required by state regulations. You will
need to make sure that the kennel is completely escape
proof. The kennel will require a roof, and either a
cement bottom, or a barrier that extends into the ground
to prevent the fox from digging and escaping. As with
any other animal, the fox should be provided stimulation
while inside a kennel as well as protection from the
elements. However, even with a large kennel, you should
allow the fox some time outside of its enclosure.
are willing to live in a house that is very, very
smelly, this fox will need to be kept outside a good
chunk of its life. Regardless of the diet and color
phase, these foxes are the smelliest of all foxes.
Keeping them inside all the time is also likely to make
Of all the
foxes, red foxes have the most color variety. Color
phases include the classic red, pearl, white, cross,
silver, sapphire blue, silver white mark, platinum,
sunglow, marble, blue, amber, burgundy, red white mark,
calico white mark, gold platinum, amber white mark… the
list goes on and on! Some colors are rarer than others.
Amber and sapphire blue, for example, are more uncommon
in the pet industry than marble and silver.
before, red foxes are the smelliest of all the foxes.
These have a unique odor that is similar to a ferret.
The odor of the fox itself is not generally a problem,
rather, the feces and urine. The best ways to prevent
smell is to spay and neuter your fox and have them on a
high quality diet. Dealing with the smell involves
constant changing of the litter box. Some color phases
are also reportedly less smelly than others. The red
color is supposedly the smelliest, while marbles are
less smelly, as well as other ‘domesticated’ colors such
as platinum and calico. This could be a result of
domestication, where these colors have less adrenaline
and melatonin, and therefore less of the chemical
responsible for producing musk. This has not yet been
ability to litter train largely depends on their
personality. Some foxes will not take to a litter box at
all, some will train about 50%, while some can be
trained to almost 100%. This doesn’t include marking;
even foxes that are nearly perfectly housetrained will
still mark regularly.
this depends largely on individual personality. Most
foxes are only cuddly on their terms. Many will not curl
up next to you like a dog or cat. When they demand their
attention, they will demand absolute attention! There
are a few exceptions; a few red foxes are quite cuddly
and will lie next to their humans on a couch and watch
TV with them. Keep in mind these exceptions are few and
far apart; you’re much more likely to have a fox who is
about as affectionate as an aloof housecat. Their
affection will also largely depend on the time you
invest socializing the fox when it is young.
ability with People:
are largely one person foxes, and once more, this
depends on personality and your own investment in their
socialization. These foxes do not do well in situations
with large amounts of people. Some foxes that were once
friendly towards all people, when isolated, become only
skittish towards people other than their owner.
Therefore, these foxes require life-long socialization.
ability with Animals:
Once more –
personality and socialization. Red foxes, as a general
rule of thumb, should not be kept with animals smaller
than them. That means cats and smaller dogs. Under no
circumstance should a fox allowed near pocket pets,
birds, etc.!! Foxes will recognize these small
animals as prey and will kill them! Keeping a fox with
cats and smaller dogs, even if a fox is raised with
them, can be an accident is waiting to happen. While
some foxes have co-existed with cats and small dogs
without an issue, other foxes have attacked cats that
they were raised with without any warning whatsoever.
Some foxes love to play with other animals, while others
are adamantly frightened by them. Always
supervise a fox’s interactions with other animals.
will mark regularly, which has no bearing to litter
training. Intact animals will often mark more than fixed
animals, and there is no difference in sex how often an
This is my
personal favorite of all foxes. Overall, they have about
a median price range, they make adorable vocalizations,
have a lot of personality and generally are attentions
hogs and will not smell themselves if they are fed the
right diet. Most states allow these animals without a
permit because they are not native to any U.S. state
except Alaska (which doesn’t allow exotic animals
these foxes are not perfect. Of all the species, they
tend to have health problems because of their narrow
breeding pool in the U.S. These health issues can
include such problems as epilepsy and problems with
blood clotting. These foxes are somewhat difficult to
litter train and are finicky about having a clean box.
There is not as much information on these foxes as red
foxes, so they may not be ideal for a first time fox
owner. With proper care, however, these foxes have some
of the longest lifespans of all foxes, as this species
is confirmed to have lived 18 years in captivity.
6-10 lbs; range of 3-21 lbs
price for an arctic fox is around $500, but these foxes
can be found for as little as $300, and as much as $800
– not including shipping.
mentioned before, arctic foxes tend to be allowed in
many states that permit exotics because the only state
they are native to is Alaska. As always; check all your
species should have an outdoor enclosure. A fox without
an outdoor enclosure may be notably more unhappy, timid
and aggressive if not allowed an outdoor enclosure. If
you can’t provide a kennel, a room that is well
fox-proofed works somewhat for this species. Some people
keep them in the house most of the time, and put them in
the garage at night. Others dedicate a room in the house
to this fox. Some caregivers have managed to get by with
only a large dog crate to keep the fox when it cannot be
supervised, though you can’t necessarily rely on this
type of housing, and should always be a last resort.
These foxes will need to be cleaned up after more if
may have gotten a gist of what is appropriate for an
arctic. They can be kept mostly indoors or outdoors, and
let outdoors (into a kennel of course) when they cannot
be supervised or overnight. It is also helpful to do let
any fox have some time outside to keep it happy.
have some color variety. The regular color is referred
to as polar, where an arctic will change its coat as the
season’s change. Another phase but not really a color is
shadow, where the fox will remain white all year round.
A common color phase besides this is blue, which is
actually a variation of the common polar white, and
occurs in the wild. Blue can vary from light blue to
dark blue. Blue foxes are black or dark gray-blue in the
summer, and a silvery-lighter blue in the winter, and
are never completely white.
have further color variety; however, foxes with color
besides polar, shadow or blue are generally unhealthy
animals. These animals, while reportedly very
affectionate and sociable, have serious health issues
such weak immune systems, bad fur quality, blood
clotting problems where their blood is thin, does not
clot, and therefore the fox can bleed out easily. These
foxes may have drastically shortened life spans.
The odor of
these foxes depends very heavily on what you feed them.
Low-quality food, such as Alpo, results in an offensive
odor. Raw meat and produce can also make the fox
muskier. High-quality food can result in little or no
smell. Their feces do not smell that bad either, no
worse than a dogs and the smell will dissipate with
proper ventilation. Urine, however, can smell quite
skunky and potent, as well as marking. These foxes do
not smell themselves when you hold them, but their
enclosures can get smelly fast, and if they roll in
their urine/feces they will stink horribly (and they
will if given the chance), so they must be kept clean to
foxes are somewhat difficult to litter train. Some
owners do not have a litter box but simply let their fox
out (into a fenced-in area, of course) to do their work.
Arctic foxes will go in a litter box, but they are very
finicky and will refuse to use it if it becomes heavily
soiled. Because of their potent urine, litter needs to
be cleaned a couple of times daily and changed weekly.
Like other foxes, they will mark frequently regardless
of litter training.
foxes vary between affectionate and not, but they are
one of the most attention grabbing little foxes out
there. This further depends on the personality and your
own investment in socialization. In my experience, they
love attention, being scratched, but are not
particularly ‘cuddly’ or enjoy being held, and will get
grumpy, even nippy if forced to do so.
foxes are not quiet creatures. When they are upset or
angry, they will make a, grunting, rasping noise I call
‘gruffing’ noise similar to a pig’s. They make little
whines and squeals all the time when they are being pet,
and will scream and cry for attention. My neighbors have
told me that they thought they heard a turkey when it in
fact turned out to be my arctic fox crying for
sometimes will scream their lungs out. They will wail
and sound much like birds when they do. Kits will make a
wailing-squaking sound when they get very excited.
ability with People:
all) arctic foxes are mellow, and do not mind being in
large social situations. While they will likely bond to
one person, they will often enjoy the company of other
humans. They are very bold and not as shy as other
foxes, and will do okay being held by different people,
but can be easily startled by loud or quick movements.
take some time to get used to their new environments,
ability with Animals:
foxes can be kept with dogs and cats. They play in a
manner very similar to dogs and do well with them for
that reason. I recommend having a well-socialized, well
behaved dog prior to getting your fox to help socialize
it. They do fine with cats, as long as the cats are okay
with a rough little kit. Arctic foxes, like many
animals, can get very rough and aggressive when playing,
so interactions between foxes and other animals should
always be carefully monitored, especially when there is
a large dog in the situation.
foxes, these foxes are one of the most famous and
well-known. They were introduced into the United States
from Africa and bred as pets since the late 1970’s/early
1980’s. They are very popular as pets in Japan where
they are even sold in pet stores. Jeff Corwin, animal
and nature conservationist, owns a pet fennec fox.
the smallest of all known foxes and canids, weighing in
at 2-3 lbs. They are known for their adorable
vocalizations and are generally better accepted as pets
than other species of foxes, likely because of their
size and (supposedly) easy care.
popularity and recommendations as pets for first time
fox owners, there are a lot of misconceptions about
them, and unpleasant features future owners need to be
the smallest of all foxes and Canids.
foxes, despite their popularity, are one of the most
expensive foxes out there. This is likely because they
can be difficult to breed and bottle feed, and have
fairly small litters compared to other foxes Arctic
foxes can have litters of more than 20, and can often
have 10 or more. Fennec foxes, by comparison, generally
have litters of five or less.
foxes, because they are not native to anywhere except
Northern Africa, are well received pets legally. There
are some states where fennec foxes are the only foxes
all other exotics, check your laws where you live.
prefer these animals because they do not require a large
outdoor enclosure. These foxes can be housed in a large
cat cage or ferret age. A favorite among fennec fox
enthusiasts is the Ferret Nation Model 142 cage, which
provides adequate space for one or more foxes. However,
the more space the better for these foxes.
are almost strictly indoor. They should NEVER be allowed
outside without a leash and harness, or in a very secure
outdoor enclosure with a roof and bottom. They can
easily fit through small gaps in fences so they should
not be allowed-off leash anywhere except in your house.
Fennec foxes, when taken outside, need to be kept on a
secure harness and should only be allowed in controlled
areas such as a backyard where there is little chance of
a fennec getting startled and slipping out of its
harness. They are very skittish and quick, and once they
escape they are nearly impossible to recover.
foxes have yet to produce any color mutants.
reason many people prefer these foxes is their lack of
odor. The excrements have minimal smell to them, but a
bad diet or raw meat can cause a fennec’s feces to smell
and even the foxes themselves to produce a slight musk.
Though, fennec foxes tend to ‘go’ where they are,
frequently soiling their bedding and therefore becoming
covered in urines or feces, so these foxes may require
foxes seldom train 100% to a litter box. Many will
urinate in the box but refuse to defecate there. Owners
will have to be patient with this, as even with proper
training, some will absolutely refuse the box. As
mentioned before, many will simply go where they are and
do not litter train at all.
foxes mark frequently like most other foxes.
foxes are largely on-their-own-terms foxes. They rarely
cuddle, and some are so skittish that you can hardly pet
them. These foxes tend to have ‘mood swings’, being
cute, cuddly and sweet one moment, then screaming and
running around the next.
Most do not
enjoy being held, and will beg for ear scratches
instead. If you want a cuddly little fox , these foxes
might not fit your ideals.
ability with People:
very skittish and wary, even of their own owners. They
do very poorly in large social situations, and often are
very off-put by strangers.
ability with Animals: