Living with foxes can either sound like a dream or a nightmare, depending on who you are. They aren't an animal that everyone should have, but if you're interested in learning about their care and what it's like to share your life with one of these amazing animals, you've come to the right place.
So, before you even consider having a fox in your life, you need to look into legality. Not every state allows foxes, and even if the state allows foxes, there may be restrictions within your city, county, or even your HOA if you have one where you live. Here is a map that focuses on red species foxes for reference, since they are the most common foxes kept as pets. Keep in mind, all of the information given is for captive born foxes, not wild born. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE WILD FOXES IN AND TRY TO MAKE THEM PETS. If you find a wild fox in need of assistance, please find a rehabber immediately. Rehabbers can be found by contacting your local wildlife department or downloading ANIMAL HELP NOW on your phone and searching that way.
If you are considering a fox as a companion, a large enclosure is a must. Foxes don't do well indoors usually, with a few exceptions of course depending on species. Most foxes never potty train fully, have a skunky scent, will normally mark anything they like, not to mention they can be quite destructive indoors.
Another important thing to think about is diet. Foxes aren't a pet you can just go out to the store and buy a bag of kibble for, and it's necessary to make sure their diet is correct to keep them as healthy as possible.
Since foxes are omnivores they do benefit from having some fruits and veggies in their diet, but their main meal should be raw meat. Whole prey is an amazing way to get everything they need without all the measuring, but that's not always the easiest to find depending on where you live. When you can't find whole prey, balancing out their diet is very important and can seem daunting, but isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it.
To be nutritionally balanced their raw diet should have 70-75% muscle meat, 10% raw bone that is small enough to chew through-non weight bearing bones are best to keep them from breaking a tooth, 5% offal such as kidney, spleen, brain, etc, 5% liver, and the remaining amount should be fruits and veggies that are safe for pets. Eggs tend to be a lot of foxes favorite food, and while they can have raw eggs occasionally, boiled eggs are actually better if you feed often, because too many raw eggs can cause a biotin deficiency due to the high levels of avidin, which binds biotin.
Keep in mind, that while foxes do best with raw meat, some meats should be avoided. Meats such as beef and pork are more likely to cause gout in foxes. Both are fattier and cause their organs to work harder, not to mention pork can sometimes be a host to parasites that can be harmful to foxes. Since foxes have the highest uric acid levels in most canids, feeding leaner white meats are better. Other meats such as rats and mice are high in retinol, so while they can be safely fed, be weary on how often or how much they are given of these meats.
And let's not forget their need for taurine. Foxes need at least 500mg-800mg a day of taurine, so taurine rich foods should be fed with every meal. Some of the meats highest in taurine are :
Seafood such as scallops, mussels, whole tuna, and salmon
Poultry, especially in the dark meat of turkey and chicken
While meats with less taurine that are:
On top of balancing out a raw diet, there are several supplements you can give to help keep your fox healthy, the most important one being taurine. Foxes are somewhat picky and won't always like certain meats, but if you supplement with at least 500mg of pure taurine powder that will help offset their picky eater.
Here we feed a variety of different meats including rabbit, poultry, seafood, goat, lamb, rodents, and eggs of all kinds. We also feed fruits and veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, celery, cucumber, squash, sugar snap peas and snow peas, blue berries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries, apples being careful to exclude the core and seeds, cherries without the pit, and others that are in season at the time.
If you've ever spoken to someone who owns certain species of foxes, you've heard about their stench I'm sure. Sadly most red and arctic foxes end up being surrendered due to the lack of research or misinformation about their smell. The species, their diet, and whether they are altered or not will all play a part in how they smell. Foxes have glands all over their body that help them to have that "wonderful" stench, and there is no way to descent a fox. Not to mention, most of their scent will come from urine and feces. Foxes use their scent to distinguish themselves, claim things they believe are theirs, and find a mate. However, when you own a captive bred fox, those things can be a real headache, especially if you try to keep your fox indoors. Since these species of foxes don't fully litter train and have such a pungent odor, new owners can really get overwelmed if they weren't prepared. Even though you can't completely eliminate their odor, there are a few things you can do to help, and some of these things are great for their health as well.
Part of the reason foxes stink, is because they have such a high uric acid level. To help that, feeding a diet that helps lower uric acid will help with their smell and overall health.
Great foods that lower uric acid are:
Cherries(the more tart the better, but make sure they are pitted before feeding)
Blueberries(or any berries really)
Avoiding red meat will also help uric acid, as red meats have higher uric acid levels.
A great supplement you can add to their water to help uric acid is apple cider vinegar.
Here we feed all of these things, and while it doesn't completely fix the smell, it does lesson it and keeps them healthier.
Other than diet, getting your fox fixed will sometimes help with their scent, especially during mating season because they won't have the same desire attract a mate and therefore their smell won't be as needed. Other than that, cleaning as often as possible and using products aimed at getting rid of skunk stench will help you stay on top of the smell issue.
When your thinking about owning a fox, one thing that a lot of people don't think about is vet care. Unlike dogs and cats, a lot of vets won't treat foxes or don't know enough about foxes to properly care for them. Because of that, it's incredibly important to not only research ahead of time and find a knowledgeable, experienced vet; it's also important to know the basics yourself and make sure you confirm with your vet what medications and vaccines they are giving your fox. Due to foxes being more sensitive and not having fox specific vaccines, it's important to know what vaccines are safe as some modified or live vaccines can quickly become a death sentence.
The basics for a fox enclosure are:
The enclosure must have a full top and bottom. The top can be either a full roof or welded wire, and the bottom needs to be either buried welded wire, concrete, or wood.
Any wire that is less than 12.5 gauge with holes any larger than 2x4 inches isn't escape proof or safe. Make sure all wire used is at least 12.5ga, preferably welded wire, and that none of the openings in the wire are larger than 2x4".
A double opening, or catch door, is necessary to help keep your fox safe.
The bigger, the better. Foxes need lots of room, and it's not fair to keep them in small cages. If you can't provide an adequate home for a fox, please don't try to change them to fit into your life.