I’ve been perusing this forum lately and adoring all the pictures of your lovely animals, so I thought I’d make an account and go ahead and introduce myself! My name’s Jonathan but my online handle for an awfully long time has been “x6herbius”, and I hail from Sussex in the south east of the UK. I’m 21 and currently in the middle of a Computer Science degree at Warwick university (although I’m writing this now from a library in Hong Kong!).
As far as my own animals go, these bundles of fur are currently keeping us captive back home (click for larger):
Zafi is a Springer Spaniel who we obtained as a puppy from our cousins’ litter over in Somerset about 3 years or so ago; she’s named after the Vauxhall Zafira, as both my Aunt and Uncle run a garage in the village and so they and the kids named all the puppies after different makes of car. She was described as the most mischievous of the lot, which she certainly lived up to in the first year or so, but she’s become (a little) more sensible with age. She can commonly be found trying to sneak her way onto the duvets and soft cushions in the living room without anyone noticing. Ironically enough I seem to have more photos of her lying down than anything else, but that’s just because it’s the only position where she’s not a blur.
Shadow is a rescue cat that we got from the RSPCA centre in Patcham back in late 2010 - apparently he’d been left in their car park in a cat carrier one evening so they had no idea what kind of past he’d had, but contrary to a lot of rescue animals he doesn’t appear to have suffered any lasting damage from his early experiences and even begrudgingly tolerates the dog these days! Inexplicably disinterested in the cat flap, he’ll often listen for my Dad coming downstairs at 6 in the morning and will stand up on his hind legs against the outside of the front door so that his eyes just peep over the bottom of the frosted glass, in the hope that he’ll be let inside.
Aside from pets, I also enjoy doing amateur photography as a hobby - this kicked into gear about two years ago exactly when I became enthralled by the collection of wallpapers National Geographic had available on their website, particularly the ones on wildlife and landscapes. That Christmas I invested in an introductory DSLR camera (which was used for the above), but having managed to score an exchange trip to Hong Kong I decided to take advantage of the electronics markets while I’m here and have beefed up my kit (though as a result seriously beefed down my wallet D:). A great number of my photo subjects are furries, who have all manner of colourful costumes and make very interesting people to hang out with. :P
As far as exotic animals go, I’ve never owned one myself but I’ve always loved the company of animals (possibly reflected in the social choices in the above paragraph :P). I remember watching a documentary on the Russian laboratories that breed the domestic foxes and at the time I rather liked the sound of one as a pet, but it’s only been very recently that the idea’s hit home with a vengeance and motivated me to look up what owning such an animal would involve. I know it’s an enormous investment - more of a lifestyle choice, given the things I’ve been reading about the amount of care required, than just “another pet” - and so I was looking at this point to do research into what would be involved were I eventually to get one. I’ve never run the idea by my parents in anything more than a “Oh I’d totally love one of them” kind of way, but I can’t imagine them approving given the cost and work involved for all, and with myself being in full-time education only for a few more years I would expect it to be a decision it would be better for me to make on my own by the time I’m able to get my own place.
My questions, therefore, were the following:
- Is it still possible to get domesticated foxes from the labs in Siberia? I am aware that they’re the most expensive source of all, but upon reflection I’d much rather go for a domestic fox than, as I read someone put it, “forcing myself on a wild animal” that’s merely tame. Not looking to judge other people’s pet choices, of course, but my preference would be for the fox to seek my attention, were it to seek it at all, rather than purely be nurtured to accept it, which I gather is the main difference between a “domesticated” and a “tame” animal. If I were to get a Siberian fox it would clearly be a long-term saving job (which could be somewhat risky given that I’ve heard the breeding program has had troubles with funding), but I figured that if you’re going to get a fox you’d want to make sure you got the right one - and with the addition of outdoor pens, vet bills, etc. etc. it looks like I should be braced for expense anyway.
- How much time around the home do foxes require their owners to provide? I wouldn’t want to get one if I ended up with a job which kept me out of the house for large swathes of the day and caused the fox to be neglected. Our dog manages well enough at home but there’s usually someone in the house, be it my Mum or my brother before/after college, and I’d imagine foxes would if anything need more interaction than this.
- Are foxes particularly difficult to look after? Bear in mind this is coming from someone who’s never owned any sort of exotic pet before, so I’m worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing!
- In broad terms, are they worth the hassle? I think I can predict the answers to this one, but simply to play Devil’s advocate, I want to be at least reasonably sure that this isn’t just a flight of fancy for me and that I’m clued up on the cons as well as the pros. My hunch is that it would be more rewarding than an ordinary pet, but more strenuous too.
Thanks for any info you can provide!
PS: This guy runs our pet shop in the village back at home, and I’ve seen the fox first hand! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... n-pet.html