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How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Red, Silver, Marble,Fennec, grey, corsac, Artic Etc.

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How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:26 pm

So you decided you want a fox but aside from finding a breeder how do you get ready for it?

Laws: First check that they are legal in your state, county and city and in some cases you will need to check with the local home owners association. My brother told me I can't even visit with my exotics because of his HOA. Really exotic owners are best avoiding HOAs if possible because they can change their rules any time they want like a landlord.

Make sure you are buying from a USDA licensed breeder or your pet will not be legal.

Reminder, rabies vaccines are not officially proven to work in foxes. So part of legality is knowing your state laws on rabies. In virtually every state your fox will be seized and killed to test for rabies if there is a bite or scratch reported, DRs have to report if told a fox did the damage. It will not matter if you pet is vaccinated. Being prepare is also being prepared to keep your animal safe. Most will make up some other story if they must see a dr, like fell on barbed wire, and limit contact with untrusted people.

Own your own home: The problem with renting is even if you get it in writing that you can have a fox they are within their rights to say it has to go if they deem it too loud, stinky or destructive.

Caging: Costs will vary based on fox size. Some small foxes like fennecs can be kept inside but others like Reds need large outside enclosures for them to be happy. Research the costs and options and have it built before you commit to bringing a kit home. You don't want to bring home a kit planning to build the enclosure before he gets big then have something happen that prevents you from completing it (accident, illness ect).

PSA on what lack of proper confinement causes: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13544

Calculate costs: Look into the costs of the fox, caging, toys, food, vet etc and be sure you can afford it all. The first year is especially expensive vet wise because of vaccines. Most vets also charge an exotic fee on top of the regular exam fee.

Food: you will want to ask what the breeder feeds so you can feed that for the first week or two to avoid over stressing them then transition your kit over to what you want to feed, assuming you want to feed something different. Research the feeding options and the reasons behind why people feed them so you can choose the healthiest option for your fox.

Vet care: have a vet lined up. You may need to provide them with info like what vaccines to give and the species blood values. You can't assume your fox is healthy or not by comparing his blood values to a dog. The norms differ. It's a good idea to get a blood test when your fox is a young adult so you have a healthy baseline to compare to later since the values we have online are averages not technically normal values but they do help to better guess. Look into common health concerns with the species of fox, if any are known, like kidney disease in fennecs, or lack of taurine causing heart issues. Look into recommended treatments if you can find them. Your vet may need you to guide them if they have not seen a lot of foxes so it helps to be as informed as you can be.

You: Yes you need to prepare yourself for your new fox as well. If you just discovered foxes as pets a day or week or even a month ago and are "ready to bring one home" you may still be in the "These are so awesome" phase and have blinders on to the negative points and glossed over any you may have seen. I'm sure you are also thinking right now "That's not me" but it is. I've been there. Everyone has. Slow down take some time. Pet foxes aren't going anywhere. Take several months even a year.

You may think it takes little time to read lots of info on foxes so why wait? Reading lots of info is not the same as "Knowing" it or absorbing it and really having a feel for it. Especially if you have not had experience with other exotics before. What does this sound mean? What does this behavior mean? Is he eating enough? How much is he supposed to sleep? Is this normal? Does this mean he needs a vet? Is he being aggressive, playful, fearful? Can you tell? Do you know how? It will help things go much smoother if you have some clue before hand. They are not dogs you can't know what a fox is saying from your domestic pet experience.

You part B: Know your fox: So how does time help. Well it wont if you just sit there doing nothing so keep researching even if you read the same things over many times it will help it sink in. Pay attention to the bad parts, really pay attention. Can you handle it if you get the kit that has all those bad habits? If not then you aren't ready.

See one in person(if possible): Ideally if you can visit a pet fox to experience it that will help you a ton but most do not have this option.

Watch videos: I don't mean just watch a few cute fox videos and smile and go to bed dreaming of lovely foxes, but that's fun too. Watch as many as you can find. I have over 1,000 videos in my YT playlist of just fennec foxes in a home setting and have seen many more and the number keeps going up in my list and have watched them all multiple times. Your mileage may vary but, I find this helps me absorb their behaviors. I can see and hear their language. See when they are mad, sad, grumpy, happy, playful etc and learn how to tell. It's still not the same as experiencing one in person but it's the next best thing. Watch all you can find. Search for pet fox in other languages, like Japanese. You don't need to know what they are saying to see how the fox behaves. Pay attention to any bad videos too, is it in too small a cage/enclosure, how is it acting, it bit someone in the video, can you see why and avoid the situation yourself? Learn things!

Read fox blogs: All of them, at least a couple times from start to finish. If someone stops posting about their pet fox after a year or two, ask why? Often once the cute wheres off they find having a fox difficult and don't want to post or maybe have even rehomed them. Learn from others, the good and the bad.

Facebook: This is not the ideal place to learn about foxes since things are not archived well. And often you are getting info from owners who are new as well and not someone who has had their fox for years. But if you know a member of a fox group has had their fox for several years they could be a good resource. Lurk on the groups awhile to try and take in more info but much of it is often just cute photos. You can look for more meaty info by searching a group. There's a little search box on group pages. Type in things and go reading Like "leash" "harness" "bite" "Biting" "Enclosure" etc. This will bring up posts or posts where comments mentioned those words. Read them and the comments, some of it may be helpful.

Try to weigh all info by it's merit not what you want to hear. If lots of long time owners say x species is bitey but a few voices on facebook say they are not, don't just assume they are not. In this case the majority is likely saying that for a reason. Assume the nonbitey fox is a special one instead, not "that one isn't so mine wont be either", this thinking is still the honeymoon "OMG foxes are awesome, it'll be all fairy tails and sunshine" thinking that we are trying to counter by taking this time to learn and absorb before making a commitment.

Stuff: Buy the leashes, harnesses, toys, beds, water and food bowls, some food, work up an emergency first aid kit for foxes to have on hand with your vet, etc some of these needs will vary by species. (like I'm buying a chest freezer to keep rabbit in for my fennec).

Your stuff: Know that foxes like to steal things, some dig, some may chew things. Fox proof your home as best you can for the time you will have it running around, as a kit and for small foxes maybe it's whole life.

Other safety concerns: Try to go over the worst case scenarios so you can be prepared. A fox could go through a window screen or slip out a door, dig under or climb a fence. Find ways to prevent this happening, plan ways to deal with it if it does.

Training: Finally I'd say to research some positive training methods to help you in training your fox. This is the best way to train. Harsher training methods can hurt your bond with your fox. Some even react poorly to being sprayed with water as sometimes is suggested. Foxes are sensitive and smart enough to know who caused their discomfort.
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby Ash » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:34 pm

Very nice! :) Couldn't agree more with this post!
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby pat » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:55 am

TG,

excellent information.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

http://sybilsden.com Sybils Den
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:31 pm

Thank you.
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:47 pm

Okay so looks like a thing to add is to be sure your also not in a career where you may be forced to move or travel, like the military, unless I suppose you have someone lined up from the start who for sure is in a legal place as well who spends time with it growing up so changes wont be too traumatic.
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:26 pm

Fox moved paver stone and dug down to the cinder block and went out the hole in the cinder block.
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Re: How to prepare for a fox (or any exotic)

Postby Ash » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:35 am

They are so lucky! I'd be freaking out. My foxes dug and moved the pavers the same way like this, except we had the cinderblock holes turned the other way going vertically so they couldn't get out.
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula

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