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Kitten bites hard/draws blood

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Drake
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Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Drake » Tue May 17, 2016 9:49 am

Hey guys,

I'm new here but I've been needing some assistance with something. Okay, this post will be long but please bare with me. Two weeks/almost three weeks ago I got two silver kits. A little boy and girl. They were very little. I spent a lot time with them. The girl was well behaved and still is but the boy was very scared, timid and shy. He would hide a lot behind and under furniture and I would have to crawl under things to get him out. The first two days were rough but he eventually started coming around. In fact, he started bonding well with me. He would follow me around like a little duckling.

Things were going good, we played together, I'd wrestle with him and he'd mount my hand and dry to nibble it (playfully). I'd rub his belly and play with the girl too. But she was more of a prissy observer than a physical tomboy. Whenever I'd leave I'd place them in their little kennels and leave on some relaxing piano music, and whenever we'd go to sleep I'd do the same. Well, I ended up having to move and ever since then he has not been the same.

I moved to a rural area where I have property so they can have actual land to play on, but since the move he's become very hostile to me. I thought it was just frustration from the move but he's changed, and I don't know what to do. I live with my family now so there's new people here and I can't move into my actual house yet (due to other family members moving out of it) so in the meantime I'm crashing on the couch while the kits are in a large dog pin.

My family doesn't like them roaming around the house (they have three dogs, kittens, a cat and chickens) so they're stuck in this dog pin all day, and it makes me mad. I can't do anything though, it's their rules. Sometimes I can get them out but it's not the same. So they play with each other, but I'm missing out on the bonding and the days and time is flying by. When I can I pull them out, but they don't act the same around me anymore. They seem timid again or untrusting of me. They hide and don't follow me unless I make a certain noise which I use for feeding time. I try to hold them/play with them but Todd (the boy) completely hates being held. He scratches and fights me all the time. And Vixie (the girl) is still gentle but doesn't like it either.

Well, Todd's bitten me three times on the hands and drawn blood since the move, but yesterday he sniffed my chin (he's done that before, rubbed his noise and face against mine) but this time he bit me hard. I mean harder than ever, and drew a lot of blood. Some family think it'll be a scar. I was furious but didn't know what to do. I scolded him, sprayed him with a squirt bottle, but it didn't seem to matter or do anything. And just an hour ago, when I got them out to feed them, he lunged at me and got me in the noise. This is five times. Again drawing blood. I really don't know what to do at this point. My own pc is down (being worked on by a family friend while I'm on a family members pc momentarily) and my phone is busted that had the phone number of the guy I got them from. I can't contact him anymore and I don't know what I did or what to do to fix this.

I want my old buddy back that followed me and played with me but he doesn't want anything to do with me anymore. Unless I'm feeding him. Vixie sometimes played/plays with me but not very much. She's not that interested. Todd is turning very aggressive and biting. They both go for toes, socks, groin pant areas and armpits. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby pat » Tue May 17, 2016 12:56 pm

first off, did you "play bite" with them (using your hands) if so, not a good idea.

overall, most of the change is due to stress. new environment, different people and being more confined.

You have a tough situation right now. if there is anywhere in that house you can keep them without being confined so much, and exposed to new people. when are you moving?

the other members will chime in with more ideas..
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue May 17, 2016 1:56 pm

It's really though because the situation is causing the aggression. Vast majority of foxes don't do well inside long term because they need their own space and crating them almost guarantees aggression. You're lucky with your girl.

Most foxes don't like being held. They are already pent up and frustrated and scared with the new people and not having proper time to bond to you. So Just don't push it and try to hold them, which is just adding more stuff they don't like to their already stressful situation.

Try to make your time with them pleasant. Give them their food and treats. Give them toys to play with. Take them for walks. Do stuff they like and avoid stuff they don't like.

But really you're stuck with them being upset as long as they are in an upsetting situation. Doing the above may just help it not be as bad.
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Ash » Tue May 17, 2016 2:03 pm

Can't you set up a little playpen outside where you can interact with them? And you could be with them the whole time they're out there to ensure they didn't have any interaction with the other animals. Or, you could try putting their crates outside for part of the day.

I do agree with TG. What's causing the aggression is them being crated 24/7... being placed in a new, scary environment with new sights, smells, and people... as well as having their regular routine interrupted.

I highly recommend you get something setup for them that you can go outside and sit in. Even if it was just like a little bunny playpen or something. Obviously don't leave them out there unattended (they'll get out), but then they'd be able to romp a little and also have the smells of the outdoors.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
Drake
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Drake » Wed May 18, 2016 12:56 pm

Right, thanks guys.

I was planning on getting a 10ft by 10 ft doggy pen for them. It's just a matter of money at the moment. But I just started taking them for walks outside around the property. That seems to have helped. They seemed a little scared (I took one out at a time) and they both followed behind me and cried wanting in my lap. Todd has begun to act "normal" again. Wanting to play and hasn't been biting as hard. Though he has bitten Vixie twice. Latching on and aggressively/violently thrashing about as a dog would when trying to kill something. I've tried spraying him with a bottom, telling him no and trying to separate but he's literally latched on to her twice and wouldn't let go. I need to come up with a good discipline that works. I haven't struck him, spanked him or anything like that. But tell him no and sprayed him. I'm not sure why it hasn't been working though.

As far as playing with him. I use my hands to roughhouse with them. I scratch their bellies and they really seem to enjoy that. They nibble on my forearms and hands (they don't bite hard, they bite as if playing) and they like it when I rub under their chins. If I need to stop this though I will. I also give them both their own toys to play with. I don't fight for them though. I dangle them and when they go for them I let them have it.
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed May 18, 2016 1:39 pm

That's good the walks are helping.

Now if you were locking in a small room with your sibling long term wouldn't you start fighting with them too? Is there anyway to house them separate but not make the space smaller for either? Otherwise when they squabble take the aggressor and crate him in a smaller crate for a few minutes to cool down.
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Whisper » Wed May 18, 2016 8:02 pm

I would suggest putting up a dog run. You can get one from Home Depot for cheap, and then sit and let them come to you on their own terms.
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Ash
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Ash » Thu May 19, 2016 1:47 am

That's great the walks are helping. :) My foxes were both nervous to go outside as well when they were little, but they do really like it even if it seems they'd rather be inside. The fresh air and smells are stimulating.

Even cheaper yet, you could try Craigslist and buy a used dog run/kennel. You can get them pretty cheap if you look often enough.

As far as rough play goes, I personally think it is okay. From my experience with my two, foxes naturally learn to stop biting as they grow. The biting thing is really a kit thing, and foxes like playing that way. Doesn't mean it's okay for them to bite hard--that's when you end the play to teach them. Others feel differently, but these are my personal thoughts on rough play. (Doesn't mean rough play is okay with all animal species, but with foxes I personally--me personally--believe it is okay since I believe the biting is something they grow out of.)

You may want to check out our thread we've got going on positive reinforcement training. I disciplined my first fox the way you discipline yours, and he turned out great. But for my second fox, all I did was positive reinforcement, and it made raising her very, very fun. And she turned out really good. Something to check out for sure. :)

Foxes play really rough. It is likely what you are seeing is normal play between kits. That being said, I can't see them, so I don't know whether it's aggression or a just "aggressive" rough play. So you'll have to be the judge on that one. My first fox Fable played with our shih tzu when he was a kit, and he would bite his neck and shake all the time (shih tzu had long fur though, so was protected). So him biting her may not be something to worry about since it might be normal. They're not mine though, so I can't know for sure.
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Ash » Thu May 19, 2016 2:07 am

3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Whisper » Thu May 19, 2016 10:17 am

Owner of a Red fox, magpie harlequin, and a Netherland dwarf
Drake
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Re: Kitten bites hard/draws blood

Postby Drake » Sat May 21, 2016 8:12 pm

Thanks guys I really appreciate it! Again though, the main problem is that I am crashing on the couch until my cousin moves her stuff out of the little house. Until then the foxes and I are at the mercy of the house owners. Sense it's their rules. They seem to be acting much better though. I'll definitely need to brush up on your forum about positive reinforcement though. Thanks for all the links too!

As far as their rough playing. What I'm seeing is when he bites her neck and thrashes about, he is doing so very aggressively and she cries out or yelps in a high pitch cry. She only does that when he bites her like that though.

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