You might think that foxes can’t be kept as pets, but in fact, quite a few states consider owning this type of exotic pet legal.
Raising a domesticated fox is nothing like raising a dog, although they look pretty similar.
Among the things that discourage most pet owners from getting a domesticated fox are strict laws of their state, housing requirements, or their own house manners.
How much does a domesticated fox cost?
The cost of a truly domestic fox is anywhere between $6,000 and $11,000 for the animal alone when buying it from a reputable organization known for breeding domesticated foxes properly.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, then a backyard breeder might sell foxes for $200 to $1,000. The cheapest option in this case is often the red fox. The final price you will have to pay will depend on factors like the age of the fox, the breeder selling it, its coat color, and the exact species.
Don’t even think about purchasing and owning a domesticated fox before going over the states that don’t allow foxes kept as pets, so that you can make sure you don’t live in one of those states.
Your state laws should give you all the information you need to know about the legalities around owning this type of pet so that you can avoid any unnecessary penalties. According to our research, around 21 states currently have a ban on private ownership of exotic animals in general.
If you choose to import a domesticated fox from Russia, you will likely spend around $10,000 according to Fast Company. The same article states that you will probably end up spending between $500 and $700 to get it from a backyard breeder.
You can ship a domesticated fox into the United States using a company like SibFox, which is located in San Francisco, for around $7,500. SibFox, a company from San Francisco, will ship a domesticated fox to the United States for $7,000. For this price, you will not only get it shipped but it will also be neutered and immunized.
What are the extra costs?
A fox living in the wild will often feed on fruit, reptiles, insects, birds, and rodents, although in captivity, you can feed it with vegetables, fruits, and grain-free dog food, a diet very similar to what you’d feed a dog.
A fox will likely eat about one pound of food per day, although the exact amount will depend on its weight. There are breeders that will recommend that you feed this exotic pet a combination of raw meat and supplements containing fruit and vegetables. Just like for a dog, you will spend somewhere around $100 to $200 per month on food alone.
Vet visits are another important aspect you should consider. This would include the occasional nail trim, scheduled vaccinations, and heartworm medication. The normal vet costs won’t bankrupt you, but unexpected visits or surgeries will easily add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the annual expenses.
Although you can probably raise a fox either inside or outside, if you choose to keep it outside, it will most likely need protection from the weather, the rain, and even the sun. Most owners will build a shelter, often equipped with a bed and blanket. When raised inside, the fox will behave just like a domestic pet like a cat or dog. This means it will find a favorite spot to lounge and will lay on the bed all day.
But even if you choose to keep a fox as an indoor pet, you will still have to understand that it is a wild animal, so its natural instincts will require it to roam outside periodically. You will have to build an outdoor enclosure, good enough to host a wild animal, that is also dig-proof. This should cost you about $2,500. According to experts, you should consider an enclosure of 100 square feet or more that has double doors.
Even if you live in a state where a pet fox is legal, you might still be required by law to get a permit before you can own one. Getting a permit for an exotic animal will likely cost around $200 per year.
Shipping is often included in the estimate, but in some cases, you may have to pay a separate fee to have one shipped to your doorstep.
Just like having a dog, the fox will also have to be trained, and the best training method according to experts is the clicker method. Regardless of whether you want to work with a professional dog trainer or get your own training tools and try to train the fox yourself, this will help the pet learn how to interact with other pets or humans in a comfortable way.
Tips on keeping a fox as a pet
Most domesticated foxes found in captivity are African desert foxes or fox species that are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Among these are the popular Fennec Fox, the silver fox, the grey, arctic fox, corsac, the bat-eared, and the red fox.
You can train your domesticated fox to use a litter box. It can even learn to walk with you on a leash when properly trained. So you will probably be able to walk your fox on a leash and amaze your friends.
BornFreeUSA has a great summary of laws if you want to check whether owning a fox is legal in your state.
Domesticated foxes are a lot more destructive than the average pet dog or cat. A fox kept as a pet will chew on anything it can get its teeth in.
Most foxes, including baby fennec foxes, when kept as pets, are known to create a very strong bond with their owners, very similar to cats and dogs.
According to specialists and fox owners, if you keep your fox inside the home, it will likely give out a musky-like smell. They will urinate on objects to mark their territory even when you housebreak them. This is a smell you will have a hard time removing from your home.
You should expect a fox to live only two to five years.
Considering that there is a good possibility that the fox you want to get is illegal in your state, you should consider getting a dog breed that looks like a fox. According to pet marketplaces, there are more than 11 dog breeds that look like foxes.