A lot of people are enchanted by the idea of owning a pet fox. They’re charming, intelligent animals, and there is a lot of appeal in having a “special” animal that not many people have. While foxes can make decent pets for someone with the time and resources to care for them, a lot of people make the mistake of buying a pet fox thinking it is going to be just like a dog.
1. Foxes Are Difficult to Train
Dogs are born with a very strong pack mentality. A dog sees you as its alpha, and is hard-wired to want to obey the leader. They live to please you. A fox, however, lives to please itself. While they are very intelligent, the core motivation of a fox is different than that of a dog. The dog wants to please you and make you happy, the fox wants the treat.
2. Foxes Stink
Foxes have a very strong odor. While a dog can take a few weeks without a bath to work up a powerful stink, foxes smell skunky 24/7. This strong, musky odor can be lessened somewhat by having the fox neutered, but it cannot be eliminated entirely.
3. Foxes Are Shy
Many people picture a fox as an awesome pet that they can show off to their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the reality almost always falls far short of this. While foxes often become very attached and affectionate with their families, they remain impossibly shy around visitors and strangers.
4. Foxes Have Special Needs
Foxes have special dietary and exercise requirements outside that of a dog. They are extremely energetic, and require loads of exercise every day. A large, carefully-built outdoor enclosure is a must. Which brings me to my next point…
5. Foxes Are Escape Artists
Foxes are much more proficient at getting out of enclosures than even the most determined dog. They can leap six feet in the air, climb up fences, and even cling upside down to climb along a chain link ceiling for short distances. Any enclosure that is meant to keep foxes must not only be large, but impossible to dig out of and have a full roof.
6. Foxes Are Destructive
Many people buy a fox under the mistaken impression that it can be kept as an indoor pet, and left with free run of the house while they are away at work. Nothing could be farther from the truth, particularly with the larger species like red foxes. They will steal and hide anything small enough for them to carry, and shred just about everything they can get their teeth in to. It is nearly impossible to break even the best-trained fox of these behaviors. A dog can be taught not to chew things, a fox can only be taught not to chew things while you’re watching. While a fox is loose in the house, it requires constant supervision.
In conclusion, foxes can make fascinating pets for people who are prepared to care for them. If you are interested in a pet fox, go into it with your eyes wide open, do your research, and understand that caring for a fox is not like caring for a dog.