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Warning for first-time owners!

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Ash
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Warning for first-time owners!

Postby Ash » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:51 pm

Many new fox owners have not been building their foxes secure enclosures. This is a problem. The number of escaped foxes has been higher this year than I have ever seen in the past.

These past few months alone I have learned of four foxes that escaped their enclosures... in my state. Who knows what that number is if you take into account other states.

So, if you are a first-time owner or a prospective owner... You need to PREPARE for the fox before you bring it home!

Preparation means making sure your fox will have a secure, escape-proof enclosure.

Many want an indoor fox. I'll be honest with you about this one... The chance you will have a fox that will be happy and easy to care for indoors after a year old is slim. Even foxes that enjoy being inside love being outdoors more. So the average person wanting a house fox is not going to get one. And those who do get a house fox--they're lucky. But both types of foxes NEED outdoor enclosures.

Many people are intimidated when it comes to building an enclosure. They don't know where to begin or how much it will cost. Or they have excuse x,y, or z... If you have a fox, there is no excuse. You already brought this animal into your home, into your life, and now it is up to you to provide it with the best life possible.

There are cheap, safe solutions. Welded wire is number one when it comes to containment. Buy the dog runs (not chain link) as well as a few extra panels. Set it up in your yard and make sure you use the extra panels on the bottom of the enclosure as well as for the top. Put down pavers in places you don't want the fox to mess with. A secure top and bottom are a must. A completely secured bottom--not just going in with pavers for a few feet (that doesn't work, they will just dig under them and get out).

If there are weak spots in your enclosure that you hope a fox won't see, won't figure out--don't count on it. A fox will see it. A fox will figure it out. And a fox will escape.

I think the number one worst thing about a fox escaping is the harm it will bring to the fox. An escaped fox is not going to live long, especially if you live in an urban area or in a town or a city. It is going to be hit by a car, killed by someone, caught and euthanized, etc.

Number two is you as the owner. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had no idea where your beloved pet was? Whether it was alive or dead? Starving, injured, scared? In a ditch somewhere dying? You will have no clue. And you likely will never know. This will bring you heartache and regret that you do not want.

And number three... This does not just affect your fox and you. This affects the entire fox community. If you call animal control asking if they've seen your pet fox, or post an ad on craigslist or a facebook group--who does this reflect poorly on? You, of course... And the rest of us. The rest of us who are doing things right. This will hurt everyone you know who has a fox. It could result in foxes being banned. It could result in unrealistic laws. It will put other foxes in danger. MY foxes in danger. I am not okay with that, nor is everyone else.

Please build an enclosure. Not only will your fox be happier with outside time, but it will make it less likely for your pet to slip out an open door. And make sure that enclosure is secure.

I have worked hard for the past six years to educate new and potential owners. But only a few people will listen. PLEASE be one of those people. For your fox's sake at least. Build an enclosure. Make it secure.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby Ash » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:56 pm

Here are some brands for welded-wire enclosures:

Max & Prince
Lucky Dog
Retriever
TK Products

These are just to name a few. I have used Lucky Dog and Retriever panels and can personally testify those two work great.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:47 pm

Yes. I've lost count of the number of escaped foxes I've seen this year on FB groups, it's that bad. Slipped out a door, found a way out of the enclosure and more rarely slipped a leash. Last one I heard of was hit by a car and the people who found it buried it they found out as someone involved saw the fliers(a couple weeks later I think) and informed them and they were able to dig it up and bring it home. Fliers all around town about an escape though can easily make someone in your town push for a code making exotics illegal. You might not even know about it till it's too late. Most people don't keep up with all their town meetings so wont know till after they pass the law against them.

Have the enclosure set up before your kit comes home. I'd think most who had escapes from enclosures figured they would have a house pet and not need one then set it up too hastily once they did need it. If you do have an exotic inside have them secure before opening any doors.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby KaitouCat » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:06 pm

Do you suppose either of these would work? I can and likely will expand upon it later but due to circumstances I've decided to stray from building one myself for the time being and want the best possible option for my little Koji. ; u;

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/produc ... _vc=-10005
http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/produc ... _vc=-10005
http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/produc ... _vc=-10005

I've also noticed that it seems like a lot of people are having issues with escapees this year.. A shame really, especially with them slipping out of their enclosures when that seems like it could be an easy fix by simply distracting your fur baby away from the door with a treat or something? :c
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:32 pm

Or you can add a double door entry so if they do slip out the door as your going out they are trapped in that small area by the second door and you shoo them back in close the inside and then go out.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby KaitouCat » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:36 pm

TamanduaGirl wrote:Or you can add a double door entry so if they do slip out the door as your going out they are trapped in that small area by the second door and you shoo them back in close the inside and then go out.


That too. I mean there's just so many ways you can avoid them escaping like that. It's like with a dog or cat that's right by the door, you don't just open it and walk in expecting them to stay inside.
Then there's a few that slipped their leashes and they hadn't used the collar+harness combo.. Like even if they're a well behaved fox you should still use that safety precaution.. Better to be a safe owner than a sorry owner that reflects poorly on all other owners that do.
It's understandable that these things can happen regardless but when it happens so frequently then it's evident that some folks are not taking the best precautions with their exotic fur babies.
[I know I don't have much room to talk being a new owner myself but I can understand how such issues can reflect poorly on other owners, just like what's been happening within the reptile community and other, larger exotics when people set them free or take inadequate care of their animals then the folks in charge decide that it's best to just ban them entirely.]
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby Ash » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:57 pm

Yeah, I think those would work great. You would have to make sure the gaps around the door weren't too big, but the enclosure itself would be perfect. They're 8 gauge too, which is way better than chain link which is usually 12 gauge at the best.

I never looked at the European style ones before, but they're pretty.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:11 pm

Exactly it's the number that is concerning. It happens now and then with other exotics but only now and then. Like I only know of the one incident of a kinkajou escaping, as an example. It's not just a volume issue, meaning a larger percent of foxes escape than other exotics, not just more because there are more but that may be a part of it.

Yes think the collar and harness combo is a must. I know of a fennec slipped the mesh chest H style that is so popular and was never seen again. (probably eaten by some local predator).
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby KaitouCat » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:13 pm

Ash wrote:Yeah, I think those would work great. You would have to make sure the gaps around the door weren't too big, but the enclosure itself would be perfect. They're 8 gauge too, which is way better than chain link which is usually 12 gauge at the best.

I never looked at the European style ones before, but they're pretty.


Yeah they are but at the same time I'm not sure if it would work to well depending on the gap size between the bars? If it's to large then I'd imagine a fox would have no problems slipping through them thus requiring further securing. Most tractor supply company stores I've been to don't even really have dog kennels on site anymore either to get a personal look at them. :c
I am quite fond of the one with the predator top though but I'd prob need to buy two of them as that seems kinda small but for that price I might as well get the larger one and add a top separately. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Do you suppose just normal chain link would be suitable for just the roof and or floor? Though for the floor I may just put some cement down and cover it up.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:07 pm

KaitouCat wrote:Yeah they are but at the same time I'm not sure if it would work to well depending on the gap size between the bars?


"2-1/2 in. vertical upright spacing may not be ideal for your smaller breed and/or puppy"

Maybe okay for an adult red? Ash would know better.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby pat » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:48 am

I would like to explain my experience with a fox I had that escaped.
maybe this will help other understand the pain involved.

about 14 years ago, I had a silver fox, (she was my first fox) her name was Thelma Lou.
At that time, I had 5 dogs, but the day she escaped, I had a friends dog here. I went to leave the dogs outside,
and Thelma bolted out the door. I looked and called for her for days, asked neighbors if they seen her.
the only neighbor I have did see her, and she didn't know it was my fox. she was going to shoot it, but, she didn't.

days turned into weeks trying to find her with no luck. then two years later, someone told me he knew where she is.
someone has her sitting in his trophy room. don't know who it is, the informer would not tell me. but said it was a close neighbor.
so you can image the heart break I went through. to this day, it still haunts me. I am extra cautious with my 3 now.
after over 12 years of having them, no escapes. I have a sturdy roof on top. (made from lumber and corragated panels)
I did use a good dog kennel. also have another layer of fence over that. the bottom has chain link covered with dirt.

when I go in their enclosure, just one of my foxes is at the door, I tell him to get away from the door before I open it, and he does understand that.

to all new and any owners, remember to check your enclosure for any escape possibilities.

hope this post helps others understand what could happen to escaped foxes.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby Ash » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:17 pm

Thanks for sharing, Pat. Very sad it turned out that way for Thelma... Your story serves as a good reminder for why fox owners need to be more vigilant.

The gaps in my fox enclosure are 2''x4'', and they can't slip through. They are both adults, but Ifrit is tiny. Our little dog is smaller and he can't fit through them either. So that may give you an idea.

You could go with chain link, but you have to make sure the tension bars are 100% secured to the frame and diamonds. They don't come secured, so you would need to buy some wire and wrap it through the diamond with the tension bar and the frame about every foot or so. It's totally doable though and would be way cheaper than buying the welded panels. It takes some additional work with securing it properly. The wiring would have to be done along the bottom as well as the top to prevent escapes.

I think chain link for the top and bottom of the enclosure would work great. It wouldn't be as pretty with it, but you could always buy some of the nicer panels to replace them in the future. Just be sure that you secure it like I mentioned above.

You can raincheck the kennels through Tractor Supply, but that doesn't mean you have to buy it when it arrives at the store. You could totally decide not to buy them once you looked at it and thought it wouldn't work. Then they just put it up for sale in their store since you didn't buy it.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby pat » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:39 am

now that you mention it Ash, I think there was some gaps, (even though not real big) around the top of the door. I have all that covered with more fence also. I like the idea of having a roof on top, or at least part of it. this way, when it rains, their litter pans and food dishes won't get wet.
also keeps their enclosure cooler. however, I have mine attached to my house. to double protect the top, wouldn't be a bad idea to put fence on top first, then a roof.

the other reason I put another layer of fence over the chain link is because I had a stray kitten go into their enclosure, and the foxes killed it. icon-sad heck one time, I had a big rooster that went too close to their enclosure, somehow, they managed to pull the neck and head through both fences. but, I think it could have been larry(my raccoon) that pulled it through, mostly for Daryl (they use to work together and were very bonded)

ash, thats a good idea about TSC. they offer discounts alot. however I got mine at lowes, they might be a little cheaper. just do some price and quality comparison when shopping for fence.

a plus for TSC, is if you spend 300.00, you can get a 6 month interest free on a TSC card. helps when you don't have or can spend so much money at one time. if you use their discounts when they have them, you can save 10% off 300.00 (a savings of 30.00)

on Lowes, if you have a Lowes card and charge anything on it, you automatically get 5% off your purchase.

Thank you Ash for making everyone aware of escaped foxes.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby w0lfygirl » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:14 pm

I say this should be a sticky. Well said.
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Re: Warning for first-time owners!

Postby juniper707 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:40 pm

Nice post, thank you. We are planning to build nellie a new enclosure this spring/summer and really wanting to get it right the first time. I will be posting my ideas for y'all to give thoughts on when we get closer!

I'd really like to encourage people who get a baby to yard train it as best you can. I've had a lot of people tell me you can't, it's a fox, but you can to some degree if you start when it's a baby. We always did this with our dogs growing up so I did it with Nellie, but modified some. This is how I did it - I put a harness on and got a dog tether. I wrapped my end of the tether around my waist and would just putz around the yard. The idea of the long tether attached to you is so you can follow at a distance and the fox can feel like it's walking around freely and unrestricted. To mimic how it would be if it were loose. I would call her, give treats and praise, all that stuff you do when teaching a pet.

I would also randomly pick her up and put her down. I might set her right back down right away, might walk around a little first but the idea was for her to learn that me getting a hold of her was not a bad thing and didn't mean fun time was over. Eventually I'd start putting her in her kennel too, and sometimes take her right back out, sometimes leaving her so that she would also learn going in the kennel is not bad - you will come back out. I also would feed her if she was going to stay in there. The whole purpose isn't necessarily to yard train the fox 100% (I really can't picture that) but hopefully make it less likely to take off and easier to catch. Because even a dog who is not allowed off leash will take off and have to be chased around. Depending on the fox, it might help a little, a lot or not at all. At least I feel like it's worth giving a try!

Nellie took to it very fast, probably because she stayed with our dog Bailey and took a lot of cues from her. At one point I started to just let the tether drag behind her so I could grab her without having to grab her body if she took off. As a result of being really persistent with this Nellie will go into her kennel on her own and she will come when called (near but not directly too you and won't sit at your feet or anything like that.) She's slipped by me a few times when I wasn't quick enough or paying enough attention but I've never had to worry about it, she will either come right back in behind me or race around the yard a few times and then come back to the kennel with me.

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