May The Fox Be With You

"You were once wild here, don't let them tame you."

-Isadora Duncan

Q: WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?! HAHA I AM SO ORIGINAL!!!

A: Foxes have a wide range of vocalizations. None of them, however, even resemble the noises uttered from the bowels of hell known as “Norway”.  

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Q: How long do foxes live?

A: In the wild, usually 1-3 years. In captivity, that number jumps up to 10+

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Q: What exactly are the “October crazies”?

A: The “October crazies” (“autumn crazies”, “fall freakout”, etc) is a period in a young fox’s development when their parent kicks them out of the den to fend for themselves.  During this time, kits become standoffish, aggressive (occasionally), and wish to be independent.  It is an extremely frustrating time in every fox owner’s life- it makes one feel as if they’ve lost all progress with their kit. 

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Q: How much did Vader cost???

A: Don’t ask me this question. Ever. How would you like it if I asked how much your adopted child cost?

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Q: How much does Vader’s care cost?

A: Monthly: $250+
    - Food: $100 (2 bags a month of Merrick: Before Grain dry food @ 50.00/bag)
    - Raw meat, eggs, and vegetables: $90+
    - Treats: $25+
    - Cat litter: $25
    One Time Expenses: ~$1,300
    - Enclosure + Enrichment: $1,000
    - Neuter: $150
    - Mircochip: $60
    - Vaccinations: $100

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Q: VADER IS WILD ANIMAL. WILD ANIMAL BELONG IN WILD. YOU’RE A BAD PERSON!!!

A: Actually, Vader could not survive in the wild. He was bred specifically for his tameness and affinity for humans.  If I were to send him on his way, he would likely die- either from approaching humans or starvation.  

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Q: How many different color morphs of foxes are there?

A: Moscow Hide and Fur has an excellent visual guide to fox coat color morphs and their names. If you’re interested in the genetics of coat colors and how they are created, Genetics.Org has a very good .pdf file available online.

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Q: Is a fox really that different from a dog?

A: YES. If you come into the ownership of a fox expecting a dog, you are going to be sorely disappointed! Foxes stink, destroy things, and need a lot of space. They won’t cuddle with you or let you prance them around town.

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Q: Are foxes destructive?

A: Yes. When they get bored (or sometimes just because they feel like it) foxes will chew on and dig at things.  For instance, we have a leather couch and it takes constant diligence with the spray bottle to keep him off of it.  I’ve seen pictures of houses that are absolutely DESTROYED by foxes.  This is why it is seriously unwise to keep a fox indoors 24/7.  Vader spends at least 8-9 hours in his kennel outside and he’s still a ball of energy. 

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Q: What kind of fox is Vader?

A:Vader is a silver color morph of the vulpes vulpes.  

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Q: Are there any other good fox blogs to follow?

A: Koda (Australia), Roxy and Bear (US), Loki (US), Eshu (Europe). 

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Q: Somebody told me that foxes cuddle like cats but play like dogs…

A: I’m going to find the idiot that told you that and throttle them.  Foxes are not cuddly animals- they are very independent. Vader will seek me out and lie on my lap on occasion, but it has to be on his terms. When he’s done, he’s done. Most of the time, he prefers to be on his own…destroying something.  

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Q: I’ve heard that foxes are related to cats- is this true?

A: No. Foxes are members of the canidae family, not felidae. They may be slightly cat-like in appearance, but they are not related to them.   

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Q: Is a fox legal in my state?

A: Visit Jodi’s blog to see a list of legalities by state listed on her page.  It is also wise to check the legalities of you city- as city ordinance outweighs state law!

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Q: How did you get Vader?

A: I get asked this question so much it makes my head hurt. I CANNOT GIVE YOU A SOLID ANSWER FOR HOW TO GET A FOX IN YOUR STATE! Only YOU can do the research for that! If you are not willing to click around until you find your legalities, then I highly doubt you will be willing to provide the care a fox needs!

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Q: Should I spay or neuter my fox? What are the pros and cons? Suggested by user: radcatblakat

A: It is widely accepted in the fox community that you should spay or neuter your vulpine friend. During mating season, foxes get very territorial and vocal. Neutering/spaying before sexual maturity also helps with some behaviors (like marking) and (this is debated) their smell. I got Vader neutered when he was 4 months old and it calmed him down quite a bit. The only con I can really think of is that you obviously wouldn’t be able to breed your fox.

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Q: What other websites do you have for Vader?

A: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, DeviantArt, National Geographic

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Q: How did you decide on a breeder?

A: I found a list of breeders who were within a reasonable distance from where I currently live. Then I browsed forums like Sybil’s Den to see if any others had bought from the ones I selected. I asked users if their kits were well socialized, if they were more prone to aggression, etc. I then called state USDAs and asked for confirmation on whether or not they were licensed, and asked for inspection results on their facilities (Some states will not give away that information). Lastly, I just looked at their web pages. It sounds odd, but you can tell a LOT about a business by their webpage!

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Q: I’m a full time..(Student, worker, etc) should I get a fox?

A: NO! Foxes require a lot of attention, patience, and time. If you miss one day of training, that inconsistency could cost you. Foxes need constant stimulation, so leaving them in a cage or alone in your house for 8+ hours a day is going to result in an aggressive, hard to handle pet.

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Q: Do foxes smell bad?

A: Mature fox feces, urine, and marking smell AWFUL. Foxes themselves are like people, they can vary greatly on how malodorous their body is. Their excrement, however, will always be overpowering and skunky. This is why you MUST have some sort of outdoor area for a fox, as if they are cooped inside 24/7, your home will begin to smell.

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Q: Will my (cat, dog, etc) get along with a fox?

A: The older the dog, the less likely it will get along with a fox. If it has had any encounter with one in the wild, it is very probable that there will be hostility. Remember, they smell like a wild animal! When a fox is young, it may play nicely with a cat, but later in its life it may see a cat as prey. Wild foxes have been known to eat domestic cats in times of hardship. Foxes are also rather put off by snakes (they have a natural predator/prey relationship in the wild) so it is best to keep them apart. If you own any small rodents (guinea pigs, mice, rats, etc.) your fox WILL find a way to try and eat them!  

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Q: How did you choose a veterinarian for your fox?

A: I contacted our local zoo and asked who treated their animals. While waiting for a response from them, I sent a mass mailing to every vet within 100 miles and asked them if any of their techs had ever treated a fox. I eventually narrowed it down to the one with the most experience.

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Q: What do you feed a fox?

A: I feed Vader Blue Wilderness dry food, which is in his dish all day for easy access when he’s hungry. For breakfast and dinner, he gets a serving of whatever meat we have on hand (venison, pheasant, chicken, organ meat etc.) mixed with eggs and raw vegetables.  Throughout the day, he snacks on fruits, nuts, and veggies- and the occasional peanut butter treat! Foxes NEED Taurine in their diet, so feeding only dog food or kibble is a SERIOUS no-no. A lack of taurine can cause seizures and eventually death. 
Some of Vader’s favorite foods: mango, papaya, peanut butter, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, watermelon, steak, venison. 

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Q: What Don’t You Feed A Fox?

A: Most foods that are poisonous/harmful for dogs are the same for foxes. These include: onions, avocado, chocolate, alcohol, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, green potatoes. For a full list, visit: http://www.thepetfox.net

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Q: What kind of enclosures do I need for a fox?

A: There are a plethora of different ways you can build your fox’s enclosure. Some people prefer to build from scratch using materials from hardware stores- or some people (like us) prefer to use pre-assembled parts.  We used 5’x6’ pre-assembled,powder-coated, galvanized panels from a local store. We decided to go this route because the panels are sturdy and cannot be pushed or chewed through. Foxes are excellent escape artists! We also set ours on concrete and laid fake turf with sturdy rubber backing on the floor.  This simulates the feeling of grass, but is nigh on impossible to dig up (and is easy to clean!) Vader’s enclosure also contains a cat tree, a rotted log, a kiddie pool full of dirt, and several of his favorite toys. 

If you have any questions that aren’t addressed here, don’t be afraid to send me a message. We love answering your questions!