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Do all foxes go through food aggression?

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juniper707
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Do all foxes go through food aggression?

Postby juniper707 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:34 am

With my first fox, Annie, she was wonderful until around 8 weeks or so. Then she suddenly became extremely food aggressive. She'd stand over her bowl, spitting and yelling and try to bite if you got in the way. Could not give treats by hand, couldn't add food to the bowl or move it if she was there. I got on it right away, and started (wearing an oven mit lol) by taking her bowl away while she was eating. It would be for a few seconds, I might just move it away, and then push it back. Over time I would keep the bowl longer, but always give it back. I wanted to drill into her that she would ALWAYS get it back. That I wasn't keeping it or stealing from her. I also would eventually pet her while eating, starting off with just a touch or two, to eventually petting as she tolerated it more. I also would feed her from my palm with the oven mit on until I was sure she wouldn't bite. Then the mit came off. I'm not sure how long it took, I don't feel like it was more than a few weeks, but she got over it completely and ended up being very good around food. Of course she'd steal if it was in reach, but she wouldn't try to take things from you and wouldn't flip a lid if you invaded her space while eating.

Anyways, Nellie has started this aggressive food behavior now, and I am just curious if this is the norm for young foxes? Do they all seem to go through this to some degree? Nellie is doing exactly what Annie did, and about the same time (Nellie is 7 weeks.) It really just started the other day, and I decided I've got to nip it in the butt as fast as I can. The biggest problem, which I didn't have with Annie, is I have 2 kids and so I am a little more worried about the aggression. She is not allowed around them when they are eating now, because she will take from them and if they don't give it up I don't want them to get bit. If she gets worked up into a tizzy over food it seems to work best to let her cool off in her kennel and then let her back out as soon as she calms down. I'm planning to try the same things with Nellie that worked for Annie, but I realize all foxes are different and they might not do a thing for her. So I am also wondering if anyone else has any ideas or methods they used to resolve food aggression? Nellie learns very fast (don't all foxes?) so I hope she picks this up quickly. She is starting to leave our dog and cat alone when they eat, or at least not be so brazen, because they both are fine if she wants to eat out of the same bowl at the same time - but won't tolerate her trying to take over.
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Ash
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Re: Do all foxes go through food aggression?

Postby Ash » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:56 am

Yes, all foxes have food aggression starting from a young age. But each fox is going to have varying degrees of food aggression depending on their personalities, their situation, etc. But it's an inborn instinct.

Impressive you were able to train out the food aggression. :) I was able to do that with Fable by only hand feeding him--and then hand feeding him as I slowly lowered my hand into an empty food bowl. Then there was a summer when I got busy, and suddenly all that went away. Don't get me wrong, he's still awesome when it comes taking (most) things. But he can definitely get snarly now.

The first time I saw Ifrit actually get aggressive with me over food was just last week, lol. She was hungry, and when I gave her a chicken thigh, she went nuts over it--grabbed the plastic bag and everything before I could pull it out and give it to her. Since I didn't want her to have the plastic bag, I had to chase her and trick her for a while (didn't want her to eat it and choke or something). Well, she took that all to mean that I was going to take this amazing food away, so she gekkered and snarled at me.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Do all foxes go through food aggression?

Postby juniper707 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:19 am

Thankfully so far she screams and spits more than anything else. Which is fine, I say tantrum as much as you want - just don't bite me! Nellie's screaming really scared the crap out of my husband the first time he heard it. She got a hold of our son's sippy cup and ran off making all kinds of noise, which he thought was the sound I had warned him about (I told him she would make a terrible noise if she was mad and not to freak, its normal sounds for them.) But then I got the sippy cup from her and she really went nuts! I told our oldest son "if you hear her make that nosie, it means she knows she has something she probably shouldn't have, and doesn't want anyone to take it from her so you stay away. Mommy is the only one who can take things from her." So far that's working out!
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Re: Do all foxes go through food aggression?

Postby pat » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:13 pm

to be honest, mine never really had food aggression. at least I don't remember if they did.
I can move their food dish while they are eating and will just look at me, almost to say "what did you do that for"

I am not saying foxes are not food aggressive, they are, guess I was just lucky :shrug:

however, I don't put my hand in their dish. I use to share ice cream with Daryl from a spoon.
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