F a i t h f u l F O X E S

Educational Site & Fox Rescue

This section of the site covers an important 'Read Me' disclaimer about foxes and describes the most popular fox species to help you make a decision based on your lifestyle. The drop-down menu from this tab discusses each species in more detail.

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 when they want it. They will most likely do what makes them the happiest, and not mind if it inconveniences you at all. They are much like a cat in this way, except more destructive when they are bored since they are so intelligent. You have to stimulate their senses, unlike cats who lay around all day.
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. There is more info in our 'Diet & Adopting' tab. 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.  
Remember to do your research BEFORE you adopt one of these animals, and the biggest thing is that you should never, ever give them up if they aren't what you are expecting. They often imprint on one person. 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. 

What Type of Fox?

Which fox best suits your lifestyle? Each animal is a lot of work, certain species 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, again, please 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/rescue/veterinarian 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.
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, and would normally mark their den entrances with scat to ward off predators. They can get to be up to 20 pounds, and one of the largest foxes on record was 38 pounds in Great Britain in 2012, measuring 4 feet 9 inches from head to tail (That is about 3 times the average size of a normal Red). They are usually a one-person fox, so if you are looking for a family pet, I would recommend a dog from a shelter. They make a wide array of over 40 adorable vocalizations and can be trained to obey commands if something is in it for them. They need to be socialized early on to avoid food aggression. They also can be very destructive due to being bored, 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. If socialized at a young age, they can be very friendly. Like most foxes, they want to cuddle on their own terms and do not wish to please you like a dog. If there is something in it for them, then they are interested in it. 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. These foxes are found on every continent of the world, excluding Antarctica.

Arctic Foxes - During the winter this fox has a pure white recognizable coat, and in the summer has more of 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 with people.  They need to be socialized early on to avoid food aggression. 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. They tend to not like meeting new people on average (there are always exceptions), but love family pets on the plus side. Remember, no fox should ever be left unsupervised with any animal smaller than them, including cats. Less mellow than the Red foxes, but more mellow than a Fennec. It may take a little longer to form a bond with this fox than others. Though this type of fox is beautiful, you must research the good and bad in this species before adopting one. These foxes would do best outdoors. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere of the world.

Gray Foxes - Grays 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, unlike most fox species. 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. You might find them on your dining tables one day, or the fridge. They can be kept indoors or outdoors and are said to take to litter box training exceptionally well. These foxes are not under the true fox Vulpes genus. Native to almost all of North America.

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 sweet personalities according to their pet owners, and are very cuddly. They tend to be more to handle than a Fennec, and almost as loud. They get the "zoomies," which is to say great amount of bursts of energy where they just want to run, so it is best to have a house with an open area for them to play, or an enclosure they can spend some time in. Pet owners have reported their foxes being scared of going outside due to the larger predator instincts. Sometimes they mark things with urine, and they tend to be aggressive over food and need to be trained to avoid this. We use the term training loosely with fox. 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/coyotes/dogs/cats/other predatory animals outside. They are usually fast to catch on to litter-box training. Native to the grasslands of mid-western North America. 

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. They tend to be much quieter than Swifts, only making noise for a reason, and not just when they get excited. They potty train well if positive reinforcement methods are used from a very young age. They tend to be a little shy of meeting strangers if not overly socialized from a young age. 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. Native to the deserts and semi-arid regions of southern North America.

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, as long as food and treats are in it for them. 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, easier than almost all other foxes, since they use the same designated spot for the bathroom in the wild. However, they do mark with their urine, which has a pungent odor. Native to the steppes of Russia and surrounding regions.

Fennec Foxes - The smallest canids of all foxes. Once described in 2003 by National Geographic as 'The Fox No One Knows,' but has since climbed in popularity. 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, as their curiosity gets them into trouble. They will steal anything they can get their hands on and hide it for later. 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 on crack, except they have less poop, and more time to cuddle (only once tired). They tend to be the hardest to potty train, and it can take years of consistent bathroom training them to use the potty in the right place. Native to the deserts of Africa. 

Pale Foxes - These foxes are uncommon even in the Sahara desert where they live. There are no known breeders advertising at this time, however some pets exist in the exotic pet trade dispersed intermittently. They are slightly bigger than Fennec Foxes, coming in at about 4 - 6 pounds. They sing to each other at night, and are much calmer than Fennecs, but still have tremendous amounts of energy. Pales are more outgoing as well, and are often observed greeting new people in the house instead of running away. 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. They are native to the middle region of Africa, and their area overlaps that of Fennecs. 
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 the majority of foxes which are once a year. They mark territory with a pungent odor. There are no known breeders, nor foxes in captivity outside of south Africa. Only brokers have been observed selling kits. They are native to southern Africa, especially Cape Town from whence they get their name.

Rüppell's Fox - These foxes have only recently been introduced into the pet trade, and have similar coloring to Fennec Foxes. Not a lot is known about their behavior in captivity. Their size however is more reminiscent of Arctic Foxes, weighing in at an average weight of 3-10 pounds, depending on the region they are from. They are native to northern Africa, and their range overlaps the Fennec Fox. They have large ears like their cousins, but a difference to note is the white-tipped tails. These foxes also mate monogamously, and have extreme anal scent glands, which are usually used in the wild to mark the entrances to their dens to deter predators and used when greeting one another. They will adapt their diet in the wild to whatever they can find even human garbage, and in some regions they are reported to eat beetles and insects, in others they are omnivorous. 

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. These foxes are not under the true fox Vulpes genus. They are native to eastern and southern Africa.

Darwin's Fox - This little fox has been the issue of debate among scholars. While this fox is not in the genus Vulpes and is technically related to wolves in the genus Pseudalopex, it was later classified under it's own subspecies genus for South American foxes, Lycalopex. However, this fox does not interbreed with other Lycalopex fox species. Charles Darwin, based on DNA analysis, concluded that this little fox is most closely related to the Sechuran Fox. It is native to dense forests in South America, and is approximately 4-9 pounds, with a pepper colored coat similar to the North American Gray Fox. This species was listed as Critically Endangered until 2016, in which it was classified as Endangered. It suffers from habitat loss due to human expansion. There are no known breeders.

Tibetan Sand Foxes - These foxes are native to the regions around India, China, and Nepal, and their territory overlaps Corsac Foxes. They prefer semi-arid grasslands and steppes. 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. This is a very elusive fox, and they are solitary, daytime hunters. They form mated pairs and the gestation period is 50-60 days for kits. They are heard of being shy but sweet if socialized in captivity. There are no known public breeders.
Island Foxes - These foxes are endemic to the islands off the coast of California, and used to be critically endangered, and cannot be kept as a pet. Only in the end of 2017 were they removed from the endangered list. They 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. These foxes are not under the true fox Vulpes genus. There are no known breeders.

Bengal Foxes - These foxes have not yet been placed on the endangered species yet, but are extremely threatened in their native habitat in India and surrounding countries. This is due to human expansion and habitat loss. This is a relatively small fox with a shorter muzzle. Their coats have extensive color variation from brown, to gray, to a sandy color. They are generally 5-9 pounds and are crepuscular. They mainly feed on rodents and small mammals. There are no known breeders.

Blanford's Fox - This fox is similar in habits and personality to a Fennec, except much calmer and has a more elongated body and bushier/longer tail. There have been few in captivity that could not be released back into the wild or were being rehabilitated. They are approximately 3-6 pounds, and have thick guard hairs on their outer coat. Very little is known about the behavior of this fox. They inhabit semi-arid rocky regions, and can be seen climbing rocks and boulders to make dens underneath. They are native to the Middle East, including the countries of Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Turkey. This fox is a protected species in certain countries, as its numbers in the wild are unknown.