F o x e s   &   F r i e n d s

Educational Site & Fox Rescue

Which Fox?

READ ME

 One of the most IMPORTANT things to remember is that foxes are not like dogs. They have no desire to please you (with the exception of the Russian Experiment foxes), and want what they want. They will most likely do what makes them the happiest, and not mind if it inconveniences you at all.
 
Foxes are expensive. From their initial purchase price, to their food, to the exotic vet, they require a great deal more of time and energy devoted (not to mention money). Owning a fox is a lifestyle choice, much like a child, not a typical pet. If you find yourself saying "It would be cool to have a fox, people would want to be me," you should probably not have one. If you are still in college, or under 18, I would not recommend it. I personally have had to give up a fox and know people who have had to give up all types of animals because they didn't have a stable living situation.
 
Foxes' food should consist of either a raw diet (which is time consuming and even more expensive) or a HIGH quality dog food, which is still expensive. The most popular dog food I would recommend which can be found in pet stores but is still of decent quality is Blue Buffalo. And remember certain foxes need more Taurine, a vitamin found in raw meat, than others do (such as Fennecs). So for this you would need to mix in cat and dog kibble, plus their regular fruits and veggies, etc. 
Foxes need SUPER socialization if you plan on having them around people. Most states have laws where if an exotic animal bites a person, they are euthanized. No second chances.  And since foxes are naturally timid of people, and have to be trained a different way then you would train a dog, this can present a problem if they are not used to being around people. They should be brought out in public more, exposed to dogs, cats, people, etc much more than a domestic animal needs to be. This is not to say you should force them into an uncomfortable situation (always leave them room for an outlet). They just need to be exposed to everything they will every experience before they hit that sexually mature stage starting at 6 months. 
 
You can never physically punish a fox, it will be scared of you and people in general. You should always use positive reinforcement, which simply put is rewarding for the good and ignoring or redirecting the bad behavior into something positive, such as jumping when you don't want them to. Foxes CAN be trained, it just requires much more time and patience than with a dog.  
 
So if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars on your fox, spend a lot of time with them, maintain a proper diet, and don't mind some of the flaws of owning them, proceed. 
Which Type of Fox?

Which fox best suits your lifestyle? Remember to do your research BEFORE you adopt one of these animals. Each animal is a lot of work, more so in some ways than a newborn baby.

Below is an overview of each type of fox so you can decide which type of fox is for you. And most importantly, remember that each species of fox has their own personality so do not be upset and get rid of your new fox because it is not how you expected it to be. Either myself or another breeder can share tips for helping curb unwanted behaviors rather than getting rid of your new baby which has now found you as their parents.
 
As with all foxes, they need to be handled, loved, and given much more attention than a dog or cat everyday, and should NOT be left to roam free unsupervised.
 
Keep in mind the information below is based on a mixture of facts, personal experience, and opinions, and that each fox must be properly socialized.

Red Foxes [and all color variations] - This fox is easily the most recognizable fox and the most popular, the Red Fox has many great and not-so-great characteristics. First off, these foxes emit a musky type of odor, even if bathed regularly. They can get to be up to 20 pounds, so keep the size in mind. One of the largest foxes on record was around 27 pounds. They are usually a one-person fox, so if you are looking for a family pet, I would recommend a dog. They make adorable vocalizations and can be trained like a dog to obey commands. They also can be very destructive, and unless you have an outdoor pen for them, they can destroy drywall, tear up carpet, and rip holes in furniture. However, they are beautiful and more mellow than Fennecs. I would not recommend having these foxes indoors. An outdoor enclosure would be best as an outlet for their energy, and would help dissipate their smells. 

Arctic Foxes - During the winter this fox has a pure white recognizable coat, and in the summer have a gray type of color. This fox tends to attract most people looking for a more beautiful fox. However, out of most foxes, this species can be the most confrontational and territorial. This species of fox also smells the worst, with their urine smelling like a skunk and they emit a very potent body odor, regardless of bathing. On the plus side, this fox gets along well with other animals and is smaller than a Red Fox. Less mellow than the Red foxes, but more mellow than a Fennec. Though this type of fox is beautiful, you must research the good and bad in this species before adopting one. I would not recommend keeping this fox indoors either. 

Gray Foxes - These foxes are smaller than Red foxes and bigger than Arctics, and they seem to enjoy everyone if properly socialized. If you want a fox who meets you at the door, and one who loves the whole family, with the right socialization, these guys might be for you. Like any animal however, they can nip if threatened. These foxes like other domestic animals can get along well with strangers and/or other pets if socialized at an early age. They mark by rubbing their scent like a cat, and do not usually mark with urine. They are not aggressive with food and have no offensive body odor. However, these guys LOVE to climb and in the wild sleep in trees as you can see in the picture. This might be the make-or-break point for potential owners, as you cannot stop a fox from doing what they want. You might find them on top of your cabinets one day. They can be kept indoors or outdoors and are said to take to litter box training exceptionally well.

Swift Foxes - These foxes are extremely friendly and social. They love everyone, even strangers. Swifts used to be endangered and extinct in Canada, so finding a breeder may prove difficult. They get along great with other animals and new people. They have the sweetest personalities according to some pet owners, and are very cuddly. They tend to be more to handle than a Fennec, and almost as loud. Sometimes they mark things with urine, and they tend to be aggressive over food. Swifts completely shed their coat once a year, much like Huskies 'blow their coat.' They are not too destructive unless left alone for long periods of time, and it is recommended to keep them indoors only, with a large cage or room for themselves, as they are usually scared of birds/other predatory animals outside. They are usually fast to catch on to litter-box training. 

Kit Foxes - These foxes are the smallest of all foxes other than Fennecs, and are very similar to Swifts, but unlike their larger prairie-loving cousins, prefer the desert of south-western United States and Mexico. This is why they have larger ears, to help dissipate heat. They are extremely friendly and social, and will often mate for life. They love household pets, and their curiosity often gets them into trouble. There are only a couple reported owners in the US, and one of their subspecies is illegal to have, the San Joaquin Kit Fox, as they are endangered. Their appearance almost appears to be a cross between a Swift and Fennec, which is odd since Fennecs are native to another continent. 

Corsac Foxes - The Corsac fox typically lives in large groups in the wild, and because of this, they are very social. They are one of the first foxes to welcome humans into their pack. While many internet sources state Corsacs are almost as large as the Red Fox, this is not true. Corsac Foxes are as large as your average house-cat. Like the Swift and Fennec fox the Corsac does not smell much. These foxes also 'blow their coat' in the spring, and change from their white/blond winter coat to their red/orange summer one. In captivity they are most active during the day and require constant supervision if kept inside. If kept inside I would recommend a climbing cat tree, as they have hooked claws for climbing like Gray Foxes. They are extremely easy to litter-box train, unlike almost all other foxes, since they use the same spot for the bathroom in the wild.

Fennec Foxes - the smallest canids of all foxes. Probably the best choice for a new fox owner. Fennecs can be kept in a large ferret cage and must be supervised at all times. They are extremely fragile, and their bones can break easily. They are extremely hyper and less mellow than all other foxes. These little guys are the easiest to care for but are also the loudest. Can be very cuddly if trained right but males are said to be more so than females.These guys are the same activity level as a ferret, except they have less poop, and more time to cuddle (once tired). They tend to be the hardest to potty train, and it can take years to fully train them to use the bathroom in the right place. 

Cape Foxes - These foxes are only native to Southern Africa, near Cape town, from which they get their name. Not a lot is known about these animals, since no one is known to have them as pets. They get to be from 8 - 11 pounds full grown and are known to be a silent fox except for when agitated. They raise their tails high when excited, the higher the tail, the more excited they are. They mate for life and can breed all year round, unlike most foxes. They mark territory with a pungent odor. There are no known breeders, nor foxes in captivity.

 

Pale Foxes - These foxes are uncommon even in the Sahara desert where they live. There are no known breeders at this time in the world, however some pets exist in the exotic pet trade. They are slightly bigger than Fennec Foxes, coming in at about 4 - 6 pounds. Not a lot of information is known about their behavior, other than that they sing to each other at night, but it is assumed they are most like Fennecs. They are however, extremely loud, more so than Fennecs. Few have made their way into the pet trade in the United States. Pale foxes live in smaller family groups, with the parents and the young until they are about 6 - 9 months old. There are no known successful breeders at this time, just a few an odd kit here or there.


Island Foxes - These foxes are endangered, and cannot be kept as a pet. They are only native to the islands of California, and are essentially a dwarf Gray Fox. Their tails are much shorter and they are only 5 - 8 pounds full grown, but otherwise resemble in personality and appearance a Gray Fox. There are no known breeders.



Bat-Eared Foxes - although not technically in the fox family, this animal can be seen rarely in America, usually by brokers in the pet trade. They are extremely shy and quiet, and their enormous ears are used for hearing animals scurrying up to six inches underground. One of the most timid species of fox, they only get to be around 7 - 10 pounds. Owners have reported this fox to be extremely accepting and cuddly once they are comfortable around their human. Fossil record shows they appeared around 800,000 years ago. These foxes also mate for life, but breed once a year. They feed mostly on insects and plants, which is why they have the smallest teeth of all the foxes. They also get most of their water from their food intake. Can be kept indoors or outdoors, but not a lot is known about their bathroom habits.

 

Tibetan Sand Foxes - These foxes are native to the regions around India and China, and their territory overlaps between Corsac Foxes. Few are seen in the pet trade, by brokers. They have soft, dense fur, and a face that give them an older looking appearance. They weigh 8 - 12 pounds full grown, and are found on plateaus and open plains. There are no known public breeders.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Arctic fox

 
 

Kit fox

 
 
 
 

Corsac fox

 
 
 

Rüppell's fox

 
 

Red fox

 
 
 
 
 

Cape fox

 
 
 
 

Blanford's fox

 
 

Fennec fox[12](Fig. 10)

 
 
 
 

Raccoon dog

 
 
 
 

Bat-eared fox

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Arctic fox

 
 

Kit fox

 
 
 
 

Corsac fox

 
 
 

Rüppell's fox

 
 

Red fox

 
 
 
 
 

Cape fox

 
 
 
 

Blanford's fox

 
 

Fennec fox[12](Fig. 10)

 
 
 
 

Raccoon dog

 
 
 
 

Bat-eared fox