DO YOU HAVE ROOM FOR A PET FOX?
Domestic pet fox ownership shouldn’t be jumped into lightly. There are many factors you would want to address before deciding if pet fox ownership is right for you. One of those important topics is space. Foxes need an adequate area to live and play, if you happen to reside in a small apartment or have small children, you should probably get a goldfish instead or first start with an easier pet. If you have never owned any pet, do not go straight for an exotic pet. It will be more than you can handle and the pet will suffer as an outcome.
If you do decide a pet fox is a right fit for you and your home, you will want to start your kit out crate training. Young kits are like any other baby animal and can find mischief quite quickly, keeping them in a crate until they mature can help keep them out of trouble. You will want to place a litter box in your kits large crate as well as food, water, and bedding. Also, kits will shred clothing, blankets, and anything in mouths reach so don’t use anything you’re too partial to. My kit loved to chew on the wire out of frustration from being caged and a couple of times he got his teeth caught on the wire. If this happens, they will scream, and you must carefully remove their mouth from the wire. For me, a towel hanging down the inside of the cage door deterred this from occurring again. Instead of biting the wire and possibly getting his teeth caught he instead chewed the towel.
For the first few weeks of your kits time in your home, you will want to keep it confined to a smaller area. Crating your kit will lessen the chance of your pet fox getting hurt and is why crate training works well at this age. It also helps greatly in them being more likely to use a litter box down the road. However, if you choose to leave your kit in a designated area with their crate open to them, that will work as well. Just make sure it’s a baby proofed area and preferably lock them up in the cage at night. Fox kits can squeeze and climb in places you wouldn’t believe; they can also crawl under doors so make sure you have the door properly blocked. You wouldn’t want your fox kit running loose through your home unsupervised.
Don’t leave your fox kit crated all day and don’t forget to spend plenty of time bonding with your young kit. This moment in a foxes life is crucial and will make a difference in how you and your fox get along as they mature. I don’t feel any animal should be confined to a small cage for any length of time, but some pet fox owners do find success in crating their fox at night or while they are young. Minimal cage time shouldn’t be an issue as long as you don’t overdo it. The main reasons you would need to crate your fox are litter training, keeping them from harm while they are small, or a safe place for them to sleep. Once your fox learns to use a litter box and is no longer small, you shouldn’t have as much of a need to crate them and can provide them with a baby proofed area instead.
In addition to a crate and an inside baby proofed area, your fox will need an outside enclosure. However, it’s important that your fox has had all of its shots or at least started on them before you allow him or her to touch the ground outside or to come in contact with other pets and people. Any amount of time your fox spends outside before being vaccinated is a risk. I waited until my kit was vaccinated and had grown before I allowed him to have an outdoor enclosure but now that he is almost entirely grown and completely vaccinated he enjoys many cool evening and nights out in his secured enclosure.
There are many different ways you can construct an enclosure, you can either build a wood enclosure or buy a welded metal dog enclosure that’s already built. The main thing to remember is that foxes will dig and climb so if your enclosure does not have a secured top and bottom your fox will escape. Whether you build or buy your enclosure, you will need to escape proof the entire area. Attach a sturdy wire top that your fox can’t fit through then attach a strong wire bottom that your fox can’t dig or bite through. Be sure and use more solid wire than chicken wire as foxes have sharp teeth and could tear through chicken wire. Once you’ve secured the top, then add a tarp or roof to protect your fox from the sun and rain. The bottom wire can then be covered with dirt or gravel, so your fox isn’t walking on the wire.
After you’ve completed securing your foxes enclosure, then you can take a roll of two-foot tall chicken wire and secure it all the way around the bottom exterior of the play area to keep small animals from entering your foxes enclosure. My best advice is, if it is possible then it will eventually happen, so it’s better to put more thought and work into something first thus saving yourself a lot of stress and “woulda, coulda, shoulda” later.
SECURE THE AREA
You will also want to secure the area around your foxes enclosure. Make sure it is in a shaded area away from any hazards or dangers. Some risks I encountered that I wouldn’t have thought about were snails and frogs. If an animal licks or eats a frog or snail, they can then develop lungworm so be persistent in trying to keep those pests out of your foxes enclosure. I worm my fox using Safeguard; it defends against lungworm as well as many other things. If your fox ever contracts lungworm, you would want to make an appointment with your vet as the after effects could result in pneumonia or an infection in the lungs.
Keep your foxes outdoor enclosure nearby so you can quickly check on your pet fox regularly and don’t let your fox get overheated on hot days just as any animal can. I have my foxes enclosure in clear view of my window so I can easily sneak a peak and see what he is doing. I also keep an outdoor thermometer near his cage and the display screen is setup in my home so if I am inside I still know what the temperature is outside.
If you live in a more populated area you might want to go as far as locking the enclosure; I wouldn’t want to think someone would bother your fox but in today’s world anything is possible. To help lessen the possibility make sure you don’t setup your foxes enclosure within view of passing strangers. Many people are still unaware of pet foxes so a nosey person could accidently let your fox out or even hurt or steal your fox.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you follow the above advice, it will surely make your pet fox experience much easier and safer for you and your fox. You now know if your home would make a safe, positive environment for a fox and you will be more prepared for the responsibility of pet fox ownership if and when you choose to take on that responsibility.
Good luck in all your future fox endeavors.