How To Get a Pet Fox

A photo of a pet red fox on a harness standing in front of a grassy background. The text over the image says "how to get a pet fox"

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It’s almost baby season–which means our inbox is flooded with messages daily from people asking us to sell them a fox/raccoon/bobcat/opossum/etc. As a sanctuary, we do not breed, sell, or rehome our animals to the public. However, we are here to educate you about owning captive-bred wildlife. 


What To Consider When Getting a Pet Fox or Other Exotic Pet

If you haven’t read our care guide for pet red foxes, pet arctic foxes, or any other animal you are interested in, please do so before you read this blog. Our number one goal is to educate you and ensure that if you plan to own an exotic pet, it’s for the entirety of their life and that you are committed to giving them the best life possible.

Are Pet Foxes Legal In My State?

The first thing you need to know when you are searching for a pet fox or other exotic is whether they are legal in your state or not. You can find a list of states where pet red foxes are legal here, or you can search our state-by-state legality lists for various exotic pet species. 

Should I Get a Pet Fox From A Breeder or a Rescue?

Both breeders and rescues can be a source to get a pet fox or other exotic pet. The major difference is that most rescues will have older animals–although not all of them, sometimes rescues get baby animals too. I won’t recommend one over the other. Not all breeders and rescue facilities that sell or adopt out exotic animals are bad, but not all are good either. 

The main difference between going with a fox breeder over a fox rescue is that a breeder owns the parent animal and purposely breeds the animals they sell. A rescue, however, may or may not own or know much about the parent animals and they may not always have baby animals. Adult exotic animals need love too though, and as long as you are prepared, they can also be amazing companions. 

How To Find a Good Pet Fox Breeder

Make Sure You Are Getting a Pet Fox Legally

Any breeder or facility that sells pet foxes or other captive wildlife–or adopts them out/rehomes them for a fee–has to be licensed with the USDA. USDA information is public, so you can easily look up anyone claiming to be licensed. If they won’t give you their number to look up, consider that a red flag that you may be dealing with a scammer or someone who is breaking the law. If they do give you their USDA information, search it here to verify it is correct and look for any possible violations. 

If a facility has many violations that is a major red flag. You don’t want to buy an animal from someone running a “mill” or abusing the animals. 

Look at the USDA Reports

The USDA inspection report search found here also lets you see a facilities inspection reports. If a facility has lots of violations, that is a major red flag. You don’t want to buy an animal from someone running a “mill” or abusing the animals. 

Ask The Facility Questions

This is a big one. Ask the place where you are buying or adopting your pet fox from questions about the animals’ care. What do they feed their foxes? How do they house them? How much do they interact with them daily and at what age do they start socializing them with people? Also, ask them about whether they take their animals back if for some reason it doesn’t work out with the buyer, as well as what happens to the animals in that case. If a breeder or rescue will not take their animals back, that is a red flag.

Build a Relationship With The Facility

If they aren’t willing to answer your questions and aren’t treating you in a manner that makes you feel comfortable, they are not who you need to get a fox or any other exotic animal from. Most of these animals are a 10-20 year commitment, and if a breeder isn’t willing to talk you through the basics and be there for the animals they are bringing into the world, they are not someone you want to purchase from.

Network With The Community

The pet fox community is a great resource for first-time fox owners. Join as many groups and forums as you can about pet foxes or any other exotic pets you are looking at and ask the members about where they got their animals. See what their experiences were with the breeder or facility that they went with. If you notice a lot of people saying awful things about a specific facility or breeder, that is a red flag. 

Additionally, talk to owners and see how long they have owned animals from a particular facility. If the facility has a large number of animals who are being rehomed or surrendered to sanctuaries as opposed to people who have the animal for the duration of its life, that is a sign that the facility isn’t doing all it can to educate their buyers and isn’t taking the animals back if it doesn’t work out. 

Pet Fox Breeder and Rescue Red Flags

🚩 The place you are getting your pet fox from does not have a USDA license. In order to sell a pet fox, or adopt one out or rehome a fox for a fee, the seller/rescue/person rehoming the fox must have a USDA liscense. If they do not, selling and paying for a fox is a federal wildlife crime. 

🚩 The facility has USDA reports. Use this tool to verify USDA license numbers and read the official reports for a facility

🚩 The breeder, rescue, or person rehoming the animal is willing to sell or adopt out a fox to someone living in a state where pet foxes are not legal. 

🚩 The facility is not willing to take the animal back should it not work out. 

🚩 The place or person you are looking to get an animal from makes it seem like owning a pet fox or any other exotic pet is easy. Owning captive wildlife like pet foxes can be incredibly rewarding, but it is far from easy. Some people will say anything to make a quick buck. 

🚩 Nobody is willing to talk you through the realities of owning these animals, provide care information, or answer your hard questions. 

🚩 Members of the community are saying that something is a scam, or saying they had a horrible experience with a fox breeder or a rescue. 

🚩 You found an animal on a “pet foxes for sale” Facebook group or Facebook page. These groups and pages are scams and not legitimate breeders. Be on the lookout for broken English, mentions of using WhatsApp to communicate, offering to ship animals, and comments full of people saying “Hey! This is a scam!”


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