Can I Have a Pet Fox?

It has been a real sensation on the Internet for some time: a tame fox as a pet who plays like a puppy, cuddles with its human, and even walks on a leash.

These extraordinary pets usually come from Russia, where they have been bred for around 50 years as part of a domestication research program. Foxes are now also available there, whose fur, like their distant cousins, the domestic dogs, has an unusual color that does not occur in nature.

Wild foxes may only be kept in rare exceptional cases, and even those who want to keep a domesticated fox as a pet have to comply with strict requirements.

Can You Keep a Fox as a Pet?

Strict regulations apply in this country to keep wild animals such as foxes. If you find a fox hit by the roadside or abandoned young animals, you are not allowed to simply take them home and foster them there.

Since, like other wild animals, they are also subject to hunting law, this well-intentioned aid can result in high fines. However, special permits are possible if it can be demonstrated that both the necessary expertise and a sufficiently large enclosure are available for the fox.

Even if you want to keep a tame fox as a pet in Germany, numerous formalities are necessary. Before importing from Russia, the responsible official veterinarian must issue a holding permit. In order to receive this, you must also prove that you have a sufficiently large enclosure that is suitable for keeping a fox in a species-appropriate manner.

In addition, a wildlife veterinarian must be available at your place of residence.

What Should a Fox Enclosure Look Like?

Legal guidelines regarding size and equipment must also be complied with when constructing the enclosure.

A pair of foxes must have an area of at least 30 m², and 3 m² must be added for each additional fox. Since tame foxes are ultimately still wild animals, it must be ensured that they cannot break out of the enclosure.

Therefore, it must be secured all around with a sturdy wire fence that is at least 2.5 m high. So that the foxes cannot overcome it by jumping or climbing, the top edge of the fence should be beveled inwards.

Since foxes are also excellent at digging, the fence also needs a solid concrete foundation that extends a meter or more into the ground. A fox as a pet also needs several comfortable sleeping boxes to protect it from the cold and rain.

How Should a Fox Be Fed?

The foxes bred in different colors look like small dogs at first glance, but their nutritional needs differ significantly from them.

In the wild, foxes mainly eat small rodents, but also birds that breed on the ground or their eggs, as well as insects, worms, and fruits. That is why conventional dog food is indigestible for them.

Instead, a fox as a pet can be fed with chicks and mice, which are sold frozen by specialty stores, or home-cooked poultry. Cat food mixed with vegetables is also suitable for foxes.

However, since foxes do not tolerate all plant-based foods, you should definitely discuss feeding with the responsible wildlife veterinarian in advance.

How Does a Fox Behave?

If you want to keep a fox, you should be aware that their behavior is fundamentally different from that of a dog or cat.

Foxes do not become aggressive towards humans, but even the tame specimens that are bred in Russia are not related to humans. They are just not shy and can be educated to a certain extent. But they don’t want to cuddle with their owner on their own.

But they make up for the lack of attachment with their liveliness and their enthusiasm for playing. Toys such as balls, chewing bones, cuddly toys, rustling tunnels, and even sticks are gladly accepted by them.

They are extremely agile when they play, and the wild animal can still be recognized by the typical jumps they would use to catch prey in the wild. This is also evident in their territorial behavior.

If you let your fox into your home occasionally, he may mark the walls or furniture there with urine.

What Can a Tame Fox Learn?

A fox needs a lot of variety and movement to be happy. This can be used to teach him various practical things.

It is particularly useful to get the fox used to a harness at an early stage. This makes it possible to go for a walk with him on a leash so that he not only has the necessary exercise but also always gets new sensory impressions.

Holding a particularly docile fox can also learn to sit down on hand signals or perform other commands, as is common with dogs. In addition, some foxes can be trained to use a litter box in the home.

However, this is significantly more time-consuming than with a cat and does not always succeed. The more you deal with your fox, the more trusting it becomes and the more it can learn.

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