Frequently Asked Questions
Check out our answers to some of the questions we receive about the captive-bred foxes and wildlife:
Are the foxes that you post on social media your pets?
We post about both wild foxes who are wildlife rehabilitation intakes, and the captive-bred foxes who are permanent residents at our sanctuary.
Our permanent residents are like our "pets", yes. As of now (October 2020), our residents are Toto, Lulu, Judy, Cedar, Ruby, Nuit, Siva, and Finn. They are used to human contact and will remain in captivity for the remainder of their lives.
The posts you see of the orphaned Red Fox kits who are wildlife rehabilitation intakes are not our pets: we strongly limit and minimize human interaction with them, and the end goal is always to release them back into the wild.
What do foxes eat?
In the wild, foxes are omnivores. However, many people refer to them as "opportunistic carnivores". This means that they are primarily meat-eaters, but they will take the opportunity to eat whatever they can get. They catch small prey, and sometimes eat carcasses left behind by larger predators. They'll also eat insects, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. that they find along the way.
A fox's diet will vary depending on geographic location. Many Arctic Foxes, for example, will eat a large number of lemmings (a type of rodent). Years that lemming numbers are low, though, they may eat more eggs, fruits, berries, carrion, etc.
How do I become a Wildlife Rehabilitator?
Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed by their state to legally be able to care for orphaned or injured wildlife, with the ultimate goal always being release back into the wild.
You can find out how to become a wildlife rehabber by visiting your state's wildlife conservation agency's website, or giving them a call. Each state may have different requirements to become licensed. For example, here are a few of the main requirements in our home state, New York:
You must be at least 16 years old
You must pass a test offered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
You must have an exit interview with a special licenses officer at your facility
You must send in annual reports regarding your year's wildlife intakes
To be honest, in our opinion, the steps to becoming a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator are fairly simple. We always need more volunteer rehabbers, so if you love wildlife and want to help, you should totally look into it!
For more information on how to become a wildlife rehabber in New York State, click here.
Do foxes make good pets?
The easy answer to this question would be, "no, foxes do not make good pets for the average person". There are always exceptions to the rule - as each animal has its own temperament - however, most foxes are destructive indoors (and must have supervision at all times indoors) and require an outdoor enclosure, cannot be fully potty-trained, mark things they like, cannot be disciplined like a dog, lose trust easily, take it extremely hard if they have to be rehomed, go through hormonal, seasonal changes, may require special state and/or federal permits, may not like physical affection once they reach adulthood, have a very strong, natural odor, and more.
With that being said, there is a special type of person who can handle life with this type of animal, and if you are one of them, the mutual bond and respect that you create with a fox is incredible and unique.
They require an owner to fully understand what their physical and mental needs are, and someone who can invest a very large amount of time caring for and properly desensitizing them.
Many pet fox owners who keep foxes partially indoors will tell you that you must understand that your life now revolves around the fox: you cannot expect the fox to fit your lifestyle, you must fit its lifestyle - it is all-consuming.
The biggest issue with their rise in popularity in the exotic pet industry, is that people are under the false impression that foxes are "just like dogs". They have some similar characteristics, because both are canines, however, they are very different: They listen when they want to, they are only affectionate when they want to be (which may be never - depending on what your fox's temperament turns out like after sexual maturity), they act instinctually and "wild" in situations where a dog may be trained to act otherwise (Ex: food aggression if they really like a treat, resorting to possible fear aggression if spooked, running away and not looking back or remembering where home is if they get loose), and more.
In the United States, foxes have yet to technically have become a "domesticated" pet, even though they're growing in popularity in the exotic pet industry. Most lines have been bred for coat color (through the fur farming industry), as opposed to domestication. We have read that there are a couple of reputable breeders in the U.S. who are striving towards this goal, but as of now, the only place where foxes have actually been bred solely for domestication - and the only place where we consider true "Domestic Foxes" to come from - is at an institute in Russia.