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Gray Fox Help

For species less common than reds and arctics.

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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:22 pm

Gray Fox Help

Postby vulpini » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:42 pm

Well, I'm a new member here and before I get started, I would like to say that none of this is going to happen for at least two years. In the mean time, I am going to save, save, save, and get as much help as possible from current fox owners!

Firstly, I have looked into my state's laws regarding foxes. Does anyone know of the concrete laws regarding SC? The laws state that it is illegal to import, possess, ect a furbearer without a permit, but I wanted to know if you guys knew of anyone with a fox in South Carolina.

Secondly, I am looking into a gray fox. I have heard that they do not smell as bad, but they like to climb. I was thinking of getting an enclosure simliar to this, but roofing it in and getting something fox proof for the bottom. I was thinking of covering the flooring in grass perhaps? Also, building a shelved climbing tower since I do understand the climbing nature of grays. I was going to add a kiddie play slide as well as other exciting structures! Does this sound like an adaquate enclousure? I would probably add onto it.

I am going to live on 20 acres soon, in a nature preserve, so no hunting, ect. There are only 4ish neighbors around and they are a considerable distance from the land. What has your guys' experience been with neighbors?

I was going to purchase a female gray fox, so can anyone offer tips for care? How often do grays need baths? I was planning on feeding her the raw diet on The Pet Fox, so should I feed twice a day? Also, what is a gray's noise level? Are they able to be brought inside? If taken on a walk, would they be alright with a dog harness and leash?

What is your guys' experience with vets? I understand that the rabies vaccination is not suitable for foxes, so how would one protect against rabies? What vaccinations are safe for foxes? How often do you guys take your foxes for checkups?

If I were to pickup the fox from Virginia, what permits would I need to cross state lines and import the fox to SC?

Sorry for all the questions! I want to be well educated and prepared before I think of purchasing a fox :) I have found a breeder in Virginia, called Infinity Acres. They sell reds and arctics I think, but they also have pictures of grays so I could ask.

Thank you for any and all help!

Oh, ps:
We do have horses, dogs, and cats.
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Location: Michigan

Re: Gray Fox Help

Postby Alynn » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:52 pm

Hi there, it's good that you're starting your research early.

Unfortunately I don't know much about gray foxes in specific - my areas of knowledge mostly encompass red and arctic foxes. But, I'll try and give you some info before other members might be able to answer your questions better.

First and foremost, it appears that you are correct that you need to get a permit in order to get a fox, as they are both indigenous to the state and furbearers.
http://theartfulfox.tumblr.com/post/666 ... h-carolina

However, it would also appear that it has become illegal for anyone to get an exotic animal unless it was grandfathered in South Carolina after 2012 - this would make sense, after the Zanesville Animal Massacre in 2011, a lot of places cracked down on exotic ownership very harashly.

At the very least, I would recommend contacting your state DNR and seeing what having a permit entails. At the very least it would appear that you need an enclosure that is approved and an escape plan - assuming that you are capable of getting a new permit at all.

Some things to consider - while some states will allow you get a permit for a fox, some states also will not allow you to bring the fox indoors or otherwise allow it to leave the premises. Some states also will not issue permits for furbearers as pets and insist that they be pelted. You'll want to know the fine print of what getting a permit entails.

When you contact the DNR, make sure you keep the name and contact information of whoever you talk to and make sure that they are knowledgeable and authoritative. Officials will sometimes contradict each other, and you'll want to make sure that you have someone who knows what they're talking about. Sometimes email is better so that you have it in writing what they say, and if possible get a copy of the exact laws regulating possession as well as what is outlined to get a permit for a gray fox.

On top of state laws, you need to check county and city laws. County trumps city law, and city law will often apply to villages and townships within city limits.
You'll also want to figure out how gray foxes are classified by your city/county as that will effect the legality - some cities have restrictions against exotic animals but not native exotic animals. Some cities have restrictions against exotic animals but not furbearers (and in the case of furbearers you'll often be restricted to agricultural zones). You'll want to figure out how gray foxes are classified, and check the zoning ordinances especially. Here's a good thread one of our staff members did on checking zoning issues:


Once again, if you have to contact officials in your area to clarify the laws, make sure you find someone who knows what they're talking about and keep records of your conversations should they say it is legal, so that you have someone to reference if anyone tries to say that they are not legal. Once again beware - some officials may say that is illegal to have an animal when it isn't, and some will say that is when it isn't. For that reason you have to be very thorough about checking into the ordinances.

The enclosure looks good, I would make sure that the gap in the door is not too large as to let a fox slip through.

http://www.thepetfox.net/2011/10/pet-fo ... oring.html this is a good post on choosing flooring for an enclosure.

Neighbors should not be an issue in the situation that you live in - if it's near a nature preserve there shouldn't be complaints about noise since there's already wild animals in the area, I assume. I never had a problem with neighbors living in the suburbs but I absolutely would not recommend it as many people have had problems with neighbors complaining when living in the suburbs.

I don't know about bathing, the diet on the Pet Fox is good, but I wouldn't start feeding that until they're a little older. I don't know the noise level, and they can be kept inside fairly well.

Gray foxes are one species, similar to corsac and swifts, that I've heard will be extremely resistant about having a harness and leash and will not go on walks. Again, this is only what I've heard from owners, so you might not have luck with that - or maybe you will. I wouldn't count on it though. You should still try regardless.

When picking up, you just need to check if your state has a specific import permit. If they do not, all you need is an interstate certificate of health. We usually recommend checking out the cities/counties/states between you and where you pick up, but if it's a one time thing it shouldn't be a problem.
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Re: Gray Fox Help

Postby vulpini » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Thank you very much for your reply Alynn! I found the information very helpful! I checked into my county ordinaces regarding exotic animal ownership, and found this (county name removed for security)


Sec. 6-51. Definition of exotic animals.
Exotic animal means those species of animals that are exotic to humans. Exotic animals include, but are not limited to:
(1) Class Mammalia.
a. Order Artiodactyla (only hippopotamuses and giraffes).
b. Order Carnivora (only those specified below).
1. Family Felidae [(all species except domestic cats) this includes lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, lynx, ocelots, servals].
2. Family Canidae (only wolves, coyotes and jackals), to include any crossbred animals with domesticated dogs, hereinafter referred to as hybrids, provided that any hybrid animal legally possessed in -removed- on or before July 1, 2008 may remain with the current owner. No sale or transfer of the hybrid shall be permitted. Any birth of hybrid animals shall be transported outside the boundaries of the county after a normal weaning period as determined by animal control.
3. Family Ursidae (all bears).
4. Family Hyaenidae (hyenas).
5. Such other carnivores as may be defined in § 47-5-20(1) of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
c. Order Perissodactyla (only rhinoceroses).
d. Order Primates (only gorillas).
e. Order Proboscidae (elephants).
(2) Class Reptilia.
a. Order Squamata (only varanidae family animals specified below).
b. Family Varanidae (only water monitors and crocodile monitors).
c. Order Crocodilia (such as crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gavials, etc.) all species.
(3) Any venomous reptile.
(Ord. No. 897, 5-5-08)

Sec. 6-52. Prohibition.
It shall be unlawful to keep, maintain, or have in his or her possession or control within the unincorporated portion of -removed- any exotic animal as defined herein.
(Ord. No. 897, 5-5-08)

However, foxes are not mentioned in these rules. Would this mean foxes are legal in my county?

Also, thank you for the fox tips! They cleared up a lot of my questions (: Thank you again!

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