Foxes As Pets – Everything You Need To Know

Foxes As Pets - Everything You Need To Know

You’ve probably heard stories of foxes becoming familiar with people in urban areas and sometimes even being adopted by them.

But it might surprise you to know that you can actually keep wild foxes as pets!

Fox Facts Sheet

Scientific nameVulpes
Other names“Dog” for males, “vixen” for females
LifespanApproximately three years in the wild, but up to 12 years in captivity
Fox food or dietOmnivore. They eat meat and vegetation.
Fox color variationsDifferent foxes have different colors. The fennec fox is fawn or cream in color. The red fox is red on its back and white-grey on its belly and neck. The silver fox is blue-gray with a white-tipped tail. The Arctic fox is white in winter and gray or brown in the summer. The grey fox is grey on top and reddish in color on its chest, sides, and the back of its head. The Kit fox is gray and orange with a white belly.
How big is a foxThey can weigh from 1.5 lbs to 24 lbs. The fennec fox is the smallest. It weighs two or three pounds and doesn’t grow larger than nine inches!  
Where are foxes fromThey are found all over the world, in every continent except Antarctica. The red fox is the most widespread species.
Fox legal statesArkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, Utah, Wyoming, and Tennessee. 
Fox priceFew hundred dollars

Can you have a fox as a pet?

Known scientifically as vulpes, foxes are on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. They make good pets because they’re small, weighing between 1.5lbs and 24lbs, can live up to 12 years, and aren’t aggressive unless threatened.

Foxes have a range of color variations, depending on the species of fox.

For example, the Arctic fox is white in the summer and grey or brown during the winter. Let’s look at the different fox species you can keep as a pet. 

Different Fox Pet Species

There are various types of foxes that you can keep as pets. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ones.

Fennec Fox

Fox Pet

This fox is characterized by its large ears. It’s actually one of the most popular fox species to own as pets and it’s bred throughout the United States.

It has a gentle personality, but it’s not suitable to keep if you have other pets because it can become a bit aggressive, as The Spruce Pets reports.

Fennec foxes are really small: they have a body length of between 12 and 16 inches, and they weigh two or three pounds.

Red Fox

Wild Pet

These types of foxes are also popular because they’re known to be as gentle as house cats.

However, they can be a bit high-maintenance because they have the smelliest urine of all types of foxes.

If they mark their territory indoors, this can cause quite a smelly situation. In addition, they like to dig a lot and require lots of space.

Red foxes are quite a bit larger than fennec foxes: they’re between 36 and 42 inches long and weigh between eight and 15 pounds.

Silver Fox

Fox On The Road

This is a fox that’s been domesticated.

Thanks to breeding programs that were established in Russia, these foxes vary from red foxes, such as when it comes to their coats.

They have bluish-gray fur instead of red fur.

A genuine domesticated silver fox will only be available from Russia, as The Spruce Pets reports, and they can cost several thousand dollars to purchase.

It might be worth it, though, because these foxes are said to behave like dogs, which makes them easier to look after.

They grow between 36 and 42 inches, and they weigh between eight and 15 pounds.

Grey Fox

Silver Grey Fox

The grey fox is commonly found in the U.S. and it has a very friendly temperament.

It will approach humans much easier than other fox species.

However, grey foxes can be a bit high-maintenance, such as when chewing things that they’re not allowed to.

If you own one, then you have to ensure you don’t have any sections of your enclosure that can be chewed through!

They’re a bit larger than other fox species, with a body length of between 31 and 45 inches, and a weight of between eight and 14 pounds.

Kit Fox

Fox In The Wild

This type of fox originates from the southwestern region of North America and in both northern and central Mexico.

It is friendly to humans and can actually form connections with its owner, which makes it a great pet to own.

It’s got a body length of between 12 and 20 inches, and it weighs between three to six pounds.

Arctic Fox

White Fox

Coming in at between six and 10 pounds, with a body length of 28 inches long, the Arctic fox is beautiful.

However, these foxes are not recommended to be kept as pets. This is because they suffer in warmer temperatures.

As their name suggests, they originate from the Arctic.

One of the dangers with adopting Arctic foxes is that their breeding numbers are small and this has led to them being overbred, which has had the consequences of making the foxes suffer genetic problems.

So, although you can find Arctic foxes for sale, you should tread carefully when purchasing them.

Fox Care

If you’d like to own your very own fox, there are some important things to consider so that you are able to give it a great home. Let’s look at them, starting with diet.

Fox Food Or Diet

Fish In Mouth

Foxes are omnivores. This means that they will eat both meat and plants.

Since they’re excellent hunters, in the wild they regularly catch rodents, birds, frogs, and rabbits.

They also sometimes snack on fruit and berries. In urban areas, foxes sometimes scavenge for food in dustbins or hunt animals like rats.

It’s clear that they will eat whatever they can, whenever they can.

But that doesn’t mean you can just give them any old food. Adult foxes require 1 to 1.5 pounds of food every day.

So, what should you feed them?

  • You can feed your fox the same canned food you give to your dogs because this should meet their nutritional needs.
  • Some species, such as fennec foxes, require a higher dose of taurine (found in chicken hearts) because without it they can get various health problems which could become serious. They could even lose their sight or die!
  • It might surprise you to discover that pet foxes also want to eat insects. When they’re in the wild, foxes will forage for a variety of insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and mealworms. You can easily find these in your garden or get them from pet stores.
  • Now, you might be wondering if you can just put your pet fox on a raw diet. You might think this is fine because of how the fox would have hunted for food in the wild anyway. Although you can give your pet fox food that they would find in the wild, they still should get the right nutrients to supplement their diet.

Fox Reproduction

Couple of Foxes

Foxes don’t live in packs, but they do seek out mates when it’s time for them to breed.

When a female fox is ready to mate, she will cry out to attract a male.

After they mate, the female fox will make a nest of leaves inside her burrow to prepare for the arrival of her pups.

She carries her pups for 53 days, and a fox litter can have up to seven or more pups in it.

Interestingly, once the pups are born, both the female and male fox will look after them.

January is the main period of mating for foxes, so they will be most vocal during this time.

By the time February arrives, the female foxes will be pregnant. If your pet fox becomes pregnant, you need to ensure you give it a den-like structure in its enclosure.

This is because female foxes become secretive when they are pregnant, as Discover Wildlife reports.

A den is also important because when the female fox gives birth to her pups, they are deaf, blind, and cannot thermoregulate for about two weeks.

They depend on her wholeheartedly and she will stay with them for that time.

Common Diseases Of Foxes

Red Fox

One of the most common diseases that affects foxes is rabies.

However, it’s been said that the rabies strain which affects foxes has rarely, if ever, been transmitted to humans, as The Humane Society of the United States reports.

That said, it’s important to vaccinate your pet fox against rabies. This should be done with the canine rabies vaccine when the fox is about four months old. 

Other diseases that can affect foxes are toxocariasis and mange.

Toxocariasis is when roundworms lay eggs inside the fox and the fox releases it via their waste products.

Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease that’s caused by parasitic mites.

This is when mites dig into the surface layer of the animal’s skin where they leave materials such as eggs and faeces.

This irritates the animal’s skin, such as by causing fur loss or thick crusts on the skin.

It’s important to take notice of any signs that your pet fox could be ill.

These include if the fox doesn’t respond to touch, such as if it is too lethargic to move away when you get close to it.

How To Take Care Of Foxes

Fox In Arms

Foxes are active and energetic.

You need to ensure that you have enough space on your property for them to play, dig, and run around.

  • Your enclosure should be large enough for them to do all of the above, and secure enough so that they can’t escape.
  • It’s also a good idea to strengthen the enclosure with the use of poles and concrete so that the fox won’t be allowed to dig its way out of it.
  • You should also ensure that the top of the enclosure is closed so that they can’t climb their way out of it.
  • Give them a dog house. A large dog kennel should be placed inside your fox’s enclosure. This should be filled with blankets so that it’s a safe, comfortable spot for your fox to rest and sleep.
  • Fox are intelligent and curious animals, so you want to stimulate them by hiding food in their enclosures. This is especially important because in the wild they like to forage for their food. A good idea is to build a box-like structure in which to hide food so that they have to destroy it in order to get their treats. This idea is a great way to keep them challenged and entertained!
  • Foxes are very playful, so make provision for them to play in their enclosure! They like to play on their own as well as with other animals, and they love playing with balls, as Mental Floss reports.
  • To further keep them engaged, place hanging toys, tunnel tubes, sandboxes, and ramps in the enclosure. This is especially important if you consider that foxes are nocturnal animals. While you’re asleep, they’ll want to play and be active so you want to prevent them from getting bored. That said, they are also sometimes seen in the wild during the day, so be sure to spend time with your fox if it’s up and about in the daylight hours.

Should You Buy Male Or Female Foxes?

Fennie Foxes

Male and female foxes look very similar, but the male foxes tend to be a bit larger in size.

They’re also called “dogs” whereas females are referred to as “vixens.”

If you want to have a fox that’s a little easier to look after, a female fox is probably your best bet.

This is because males can have increased aggression and they also tend to mark their territory with urine.

That said, getting your male fox neutered can help to decrease these behaviors.

It’s essential that you find a veterinarian who will be able to treat and look after your fox.

Can I Have A Fox In My State?

Map Of Owning A Pet Fox

Foxes are mostly illegal in many U.S. states because they are considered to be dangerous wildlife.

The difficulty is that different states will have different ideas regarding foxes and if they’re okay to own.

It’s legal to own a fox in the following U.S. states: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, Utah, Wyoming, and Tennessee.

However, even if they’re legal, there are sometimes important conditions that need to be met.

For example, in Arkansas, you can own red or gray foxes, but you can’t have more than six of them (the same applies to animals such as bobcats, coyotes, quail, rabbits, raccoons, and squirrels).

In Indiana, you need to have a permit for your fox.

In Michigan, it’s legal to own foxes, but the catch is that you can only possess foxes that are native to the region, and this fox is the red fox.

If you want to own other types of foxes, you’re not going to be allowed to do so.

Do you need a permit for a pet fox?

In some states, such as North Carolina, you need an USDA license for exhibiting foxes, but you can’t keep them as pets, while in Maryland, keeping a pet fox is banned.

It’s clear that checking whether or not foxes are legal in your state requires a bit of a deeper look into the laws!

Where To Buy Foxes

Woman Carrying Fox

Now that you’ve checked your state laws regarding the possession of exotic animals such as foxes, it’s important to know where to purchase foxes.

Reputable fox breeders usually have foxes for sale for between $500 and $800.

Sometimes you can reserve a certain species of fox, such as red or Arctic foxes. When the fox is available, then you’ll be notified.

Animals Similar To Foxes

If you’re interested in foxes but you can’t own one in your state, you might be interested to learn of some other animals that are similar to them.

Coyote

Both the fox and coyote are part of the Canidae family.

Although they look similar, coyotes weigh up to 47 pounds, so they’re bigger than foxes. This enables them to hunt larger prey, such as deer.

Dhole

Dhole In Grass

The dhole looks very similar to the fox, particularly the red fox with its brownish-red fur.

Like foxes, dhole communicate with each other with many different sounds, but they hunt larger prey than the fox, such as deer and reindeer.

They’re also different from the fox because they like to hunt in packs.

Jackal

The jackal and fox both share an appetite for a variety of different foods.

They will both eat anything they can find, such as eggs, carrion, young animals, and even fruit.

Interestingly, jackals also mate for life and both the male and female will look after their young.

Fascinating Facts About Foxes

Foxes are popular and they are often talked about in the media.

But you might not know the following interesting and surprising facts about foxes.

They “Hire Nannies” After Giving Birth

Fox Babies

When foxes have babies, they sometimes get help to raise them from other female foxes that are not breeders themselves.

These foxes take on the role of nannies!

When it comes to foxes and how they raise their young, it’s a team effort that the whole “fox community” will get involved in to help.

Although foxes are monogamous and will have one mate for life, sometimes male foxes will have more than one female.

They Can Be Very Noisy

Foxes can make many different sounds which they use to communicate with each other.

The red fox can make up to 28 sounds, such as growls and howls.

The sounds that foxes make are higher-pitched than sounds from dogs, and this is because foxes are smaller in size.

One of the most interesting sounds that a fox will make is known as a “gekker.” This is when they make a chuckling sound.

They Don’t Run In Packs

Although they’re related to dogs, foxes don’t live in packs.

They raise their young with the help of other foxes, and this family is called a “skulk” or “leash.”

However, when they’re not raising their young, foxes actually sleep and hunt alone.

They Have Incredible Hearing

Fox With Big Ears

One of the things that enables foxes to be such good hunters is that they can hear their prey moving underground, such as underneath thick layers of snow.

The red fox has such amazing hearing that it can hear a ticking clock 40 yards away, as Wild Republic reports. Their ears also have other purposes.

For example, the bat-eared fox has ears that are more than five inches large and help it to hear well but also shed heat so that the fox is kept cool.

They Are Similar To Cats

Although foxes are said to be like dogs, they are actually more similar to cats!

Just like the domestic cat, a fox is most active at dusk and nighttime.

It has vertically-oriented pupils that give it great night vision, and it stalks its prey.

In addition, the fox has whiskers and walks on its toes! It will also climb trees and, just like cats, will sometimes sleep in them.

Red Foxes Use The Earth’s Magnetic Field To Hunt

If you’ve ever seen videos of red foxes leaping into the thick snow to hunt prey, you’ll know how amazing it is.

But, what enables red foxes to do this is that they use the earth’s magnetic field to hunt.

How it works is that the fox actually sees the earth’s magnetic field on its eyes that grows darker when it moves towards magnetic earth, as New Scientist reports.

Basically, when the fox is hunting and sees this shadow line up with the sound its prey makes, it will pounce into the snow to grab it!

The red fox is the only animal in the world that can do this.

Foxes Can Get Along With Other Animals

Fox and Cat

Domestic cats and foxes are usually indifferent to each other and try to avoid each other.

However, you should always be careful of their interactions because some foxes will be intimidated by cats.

As for dogs, although dogs and foxes might not get along, a fox won’t see a dog as prey.

Sometimes they actually get along just fine, but you’ll have to be careful in helping them get used to each other.

It’s probably a good idea to keep them both on leashes for that first introduction!

If you have small pets such as rabbits or poultry, these are definitely in danger with a fox around.

Foxes will feed on such animals, so make sure that they’re not anywhere near them.

Objects For Sale With Foxes

If you love foxes, you’ll want to get your hands on the following items that display these playful and interesting creatures.

Fox Mugs

There are tons of cute and unique fox mugs for sale. These include mugs with beautiful pictures of foxes on them.

A must-have: a mug that has a lid to make it look like it’s a snow globe with a fox ornament inside.

Fox Pillowcases

Fox Pillowcase

With red, orange, and multicolored fox pillowcases, you can add a burst of color to your plain bedding.

Pillowcases that have images of sleeping foxes on them are sure to make you feel restful at bedtime.

Fox T-Shirts

You can find some cute and fun fox t-shirts online, such as one that has a spectacles-wearing fox on it.

Fox Socks

These colorful fox socks will boost your mood every time you wear them!

Fox Plant Containers

If you love foxes and you enjoy gardening, these succulent pots will add some creativity to your indoor or outdoor garden. They’re so cute.

Emojis And Gifs With Foxes

Looking for the perfect fox image to send your friend during a text conversation?

Here are the best fox emojis and gifs from the internet.

Fox Emojis

Using 3d Fox Emoji

You don’t have to look far to find a fox emoji – you have one in WhatsApp that you can use in chats. You can also find a range of fox emojis on Emojipedia.

Fox Gifs

If you want something a bit more animated, Giphy is your best place to source fox gifs.

Here you’ll find cute and funny fox gifs that you’ll love to share with your fellow fox lovers.

Books About Foxes

Increase your knowledge about foxes with these inspiring and addictive books.

The Hidden World Of The Fox by Adele Brand

The Hidden World of the Fox

In this fascinating book, British ecologist Adele Brand provides readers with interesting facts about foxes.

She has studied foxes for over 20 years and imparts her findings in beautiful writing and dashes of humor.

Red Fox: The Catlike Canine by J. David Henry

Red Fox: The Catlike Canine

This book is all about red foxes. In it, author J. David Henry talks about his years spent doing field research on the red fox.

It outlines many different facts and observations about this beautiful animal.

The Secret Life Of The Red Fox by Laurence Pringle and Kate Garchinsky

The Secret Life of the Red Fox

This is a picture book that will make the perfect gift for young children who love foxes.

It was created by science author Laurence Pringle.

It follows a red fox named Vixen for an entire year, bringing the reader along for the journey as Vixen hunts for food, finds a mate, has babies, and escapes dangers.

Related Questions

Can You Keep A Pet Fox Indoors?

Although young foxes might be okay with staying indoors, one they reach sexual maturity – usually around the age of 10 months – they will become a bit more destructive and can’t be kept indoors.

An outdoor enclosure that’s large enough for them to be active is essential.

Can a fox be trained to use a litterbox?

You can try to train your pet fox to use a litterbox. However, species such as red and gray foxes will still engage in marking their territory with their urine.

If you’re keeping your fox indoors, know that its urine smells worse than cat or dog urine and is difficult to clean, Pet Helpful reports.

Conclusion

If you loved foxes before, chances are that after reading this article you love them even more.

There’s no doubt that foxes are interesting and amusing animals. You might even want to keep them as pets.

If that’s the case, we’ve outlined everything you need to know before you go ahead and purchase a fox from a breeder, such as how to feed it, what enclosure it needs, and how to look after it so that it stays healthy.

We’ve even included some good books to read so you can increase your knowledge on these fascinating animals.

As in the case of adopting any exotic pet, it’s essential to do your research!

Although foxes are sometimes considered to be dangerous exotic pets, they are actually not harmful to humans unless threatened, which does make them safer to own than other exotic animals.

They’re smart, curious, and playful pets to own.

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