Pet Foxes and the October Crazies

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Pet Foxes and the October Crazies

If you’ve conducted research on pet foxes, chances are you’ve come across the term “October Crazies.” If this is your first year as a fox owner, you might be curious and perhaps a bit anxious about what exactly these October Crazies entail and how they might affect the adorable little kit that you’ve grown attached to over the past few months. So, what’s in store? Unfortunately, it’s a bit challenging to predict precisely what will happen because every fox responds differently during this period.

A fake American Horror Story poster with a photo of a pet red fox standing in front of a scratched wall that says "Exotic Pet Wonderland Crazies" at the bottom. At the top in white font it says "Are you ready for october crazies?"

Why do foxes go "crazy" in October?

Red foxes are typically born in spring or early summer, so October usually marks the time when they reach about six months of age. For Arctic foxes, this occurs a bit later, but for red foxes, this is the stage when they transition into their teenage years, preparing to venture out of the den in search of their own territory and a mate. During this time, they undergo significant hormonal changes to adapt to life without their family’s care, as their parents signal that it’s time to leave and they are no longer as attentive as before.

Why do pet foxes still go "crazy" in October?

Now, you might wonder why I’m discussing wild fox behavior when we’re addressing the October Crazies in captive foxes. That’s because, despite being born and raised in captivity, they still retain the instincts of wild foxes. Consequently, even though their human caregivers have no intentions of evicting them from the den, they’ll begin to yearn for their own space and experience hormonal fluctuations that can leave them feeling bewildered about various aspects of their lives. 

Can the October Crazies be stopped in pet foxes?

In my experience, every fox reacts differently to these hormonal changes, and the duration of this altered behavior varies from one fox to another. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to prevent the October Crazies from occurring. Some foxes may become more reserved, less affectionate, and skittish during this phase, while others may become more affectionate and needy. Some foxes might not exhibit any noticeable changes and may appear unaffected by the crazies. Interestingly, spaying and neutering don’t seem to have any significant impact on these behavioral changes, as both fixed and unfixed foxes tend to undergo this hormonal transition. Most foxes, however, tend to become more skittish around unfamiliar people and may engage in more destructive behaviors. If your fox had previously been using a litter box successfully, this might be the time when they start marking their territory more frequently.

How to cope with your fox's October Crazies

So, what can you do to navigate the October Crazies with both your sanity and your fox intact? The most effective strategies involve patience, ensuring you have an outdoor enclosure ready (if you haven’t already), having your fox spayed or neutered (if you haven’t already), and maintaining a consistent routine whenever possible. Foxes thrive on routines, so even if your fox has become less affectionate, continue demonstrating your presence, whether it means simply spending time in their enclosure with them or reading a book nearby. Be punctual with their meals, and make an effort to interact with them regularly.

Conclusion

Please keep in mind that this is a crucial phase in your fox’s life as they transition into adulthood. They might not behave exactly like the lively kit you first brought home, who was eager to interact with everyone and didn’t wreak havoc around the house. Due to the changes they’re experiencing, this is the time when many fox owners sadly consider surrendering their pets. However, your fox still needs to know that you’re there for them, and with a little consistency and patience, your bond can grow even stronger in the end.

Linsey Hembree
Linsey Hembree

Linsey is an animal educator and the Director of Exotic Pet Wonderland, a nonprofit sanctuary for captive bred wildlife located in Knoxville, Tennessee

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