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Want A Pet Fox?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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You can have a pet domesticated fox of your very own – from the Russian fox farm I’ve previously written about – for the low low price of just $5,950.
domestic fox.jpg

Figure 1: Isn’t he cute? Click to embiggen.

Check it out.


According to the website,

Housing:
Foxes can live outside or inside.They need shade from excessive heat and rain. A bed or blanket is nice, but optional.
If the fox lives outside, the cage should have a bottom or the walls of the cage should be dug in deep enough so that the fox cannot dig a hole and escape.
Inside your house, they will snuggle on a bed like a cat.
During the adaptation period a medium or large dog crate would also be helpful.
Food:
At the farm, foxes consume a specially designed diet consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, and vitamins, but canned food for medium-size dogs serves all their nutritional needs.
Grown foxes should consume approximately 1-1.5 pounds of food per day. Vegetables such as cabbage or carrots help the digestive process. Potatoes and tomatoes are not recommended. Food should not contain too much fat or bone. Overfeeding is not recommended, and water should always be available.
The quality of a diet can be determined from the condition of the fox’s fur. Foxes with a good diet will have silky, shiny fur. In addition, the fox will be energetic and playful.

Daily Habits:

You can walk your fox on a leash. Foxes can also be trained to use a litter box. Generally, foxes get along well with dogs and cats and often learn their habits.
During the molting period (over the summer), the fox should have its hair brushed regularly.

Of course, you might want to check if it’s even legal to own a domesticated fox, in your state.
So…who has an extra $6000 lying around that they’d like to offer me? I will feed him and love him and care for him and name him Honest John.
(via @sciencepunk, of the Sciencepunk blog)

Jason G. Goldman About the Author: Dr. Jason G. Goldman received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Southern California, where he studied the evolutionary and developmental origins of the mind in humans and non-human animals. Jason is also an editor at ScienceSeeker and Editor of Open Lab 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. Follow on . Follow on Twitter @jgold85.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.



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  1. 1. Cassidy 5:06 pm 06/24/2010

    BEST THING EVER.

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  2. 2. Rob Jase 7:51 pm 06/24/2010

    Damn! Now I’ve got to buy a lottery ticket.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Paul 7:53 pm 06/24/2010

    Unfortunately, they’re keeping the breeding stock all to themselves:
    “Institute of Cytology and Genetics is the only breeder for domesticated silver foxes that were selected for many generations. All foxes come neutered. It is illegal to breed Siberian tame foxes bought from Siberian farm.”
    Should only take a few decades to get some going here in the US, right? ;)

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  4. 4. Coturnix 1:54 am 06/25/2010

    Want! Want! Want! A dozen of them, not one!

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  5. 5. Jason G. Goldman 2:04 am 06/25/2010

    Bora: Maybe they’ll give you some sort of bulk deal. Unless you have an extra $72k lying around?
    Paul: They barely even give away their domesticated RATS for research purposes (though after years of negotiation, they gave several to some researchers at one of the Max Planck Institutes, who are doing some exciting molecular genetic stuff.)

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  6. 6. CS Shelton 7:34 am 06/27/2010

    I agree strongly with the company neutering the foxes. Foxes are devastating to ecosystems they aren’t native to, and what effects might these inbred weirdos have if they mated with indigenous foxes in a country that has them?
    Plus I feel like the exotic pet trade is pretty much one of the worst trades in the world. These guys have an unnatural product to offer (genuinely domestic exotic pets!) that sets them apart from the uglier set, so I’ll give ‘em a pass.
    But anything that might encourage someone to pursue an exotic pet, like owning one yourself, is probably best avoided. I like exotic animals so I search for videos of them on youtube, and find Malaysian and Japanese cretins with black market animals who have filmed them running around in terror to cutesy synth-pop music, with floaty hearts and comic sans intertitles… I kill!

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  7. 7. The Dog Zombie 7:38 am 06/29/2010

    I was inspired by this post to finally get around to posting about the ethics of buying domesticated foxes.

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  8. 8. Fiana 11:34 pm 07/5/2010

    While the concept is cool and maybe owning a little fox would be awesome…I must say it seems cruel. It does save it from the possibility of being killed in hunting, what animal would want to give up their freedom to be a pet? A fox is happier in the wild.

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  9. 9. Jason G. Goldman 11:39 pm 07/5/2010

    None of these foxes are wild, they’re domesticated. They live on a research farm in Siberia. In the early 90s, I believe some of them (not the ones chosen for breeding) were sold for fur, because funding was tight and as such, it was necessary to maintain the research program. Other than that, all foxes are kept on the farm (in cages and long “runs”), except for the few that are sold as pets.

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  10. 10. Dante 6:48 pm 08/25/2010

    As for the ethics of buying a domestic fox: there is aboslutely no difference from buying a domestic wolf. And yes, they do exist, and we see them every day. All dogs are descended from wolves; some even look the part. Take a husky for example. They are so close to wolves they’re often used as police dogs. As for the foxes being devastating to environments they aren’t native to, the domestic breed would not survive in the wild, and breeding with native fox species would not affect the ecosysytem greatly because it would either produce normal fox offspring or domestic offspring that would not survive.
    Not trying to be insulting, just trying to shed some light on the issue.

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  11. 11. simba 1:41 pm 08/26/2010

    Dante: Why would being close to wolves make huskies MORE suitable for police work? Most police dogs need very steady temperaments with low fear levels, and the ability to react calmly to busy situations- two things wild animals would be hindered by.
    The domestic breed would survive quite well in the wild- it has the same body shape, abilities and needs as the wild fox, coupled with a low flight distance and some unusual behaviours. Feral dogs can survive in the wild (from dingoes to ordinary strays), and they’ve been bred for much longer to be dependent on humans.
    Offspring of domestic (in-bred) and wild foxes would have some features of both, not be an either-or.
    I knew people who kept ordinary foxes as pets, and kept them well and happy. They were experienced, had good facilities, and had handled or kept a variety of unusual animals though. With proper screening of homes it might be all right.

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  12. 12. Jon 6:27 pm 10/25/2010

    The foxes have been domesticated and it was found that in very few generations they exhibited features that dogs possess such as wagging their tails, barking, submission, coat variations and even some have floppy ears and curly tails. As for them being exotic, the only thing that makes them more exotic than a dog is the fact that less people own them. To add to the comment about domesticated wolves; dogs are in fact domesticated wolves, not just descendants of, but actually the same species. Wolves are Canis lupus, and dogs are Canis lupus. These foxes are very safe and would have the same effect on any environment, natural or urban, as a dog.

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  13. 13. Jon 6:30 pm 10/25/2010

    I forgot to add that however safe I think these domesticated foxes are, I do not know how reliable the company that sells them is. The buyer contract seems to have some points in it that are pretty straight forward but not very detailed and may leave some questions as to whether or not you will actually get your fox or just lose $6,000.

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  14. 14. Jessybel 7:44 pm 01/4/2011

    Just to clarify, huskies aren’t any closer to wolves than any other domesticated dogs. They’re just bred to survive in a similar climate so exhibit the same physical characteristics (pricked ears, deep chests and thick coats etc).

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  15. 15. Lar 3:13 pm 02/17/2011

    They sell these foxes in Russia. There is a whole article in National Geographic about these foxes.

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  16. 16. cindy 10:48 am 03/4/2011

    We live in a surburban neighborhood in middle TN, and there is a very healthy and fairly large number of red (and some) gray foxes who coexist in the neighborhood quite easily. They aren’t tame, but not very afraid of humans, either. I have spoken to them from our car (“get out of the road”, basically). They are considered “neighborhood treasures” and everyone enjoys them from a distance. They don’t seem to bother people’s dogs & cats, since there are plenty of field mice and bugs to feast on. I’d buy one of the Russian foxes if I had the money! The foxes we see around here are smart, mind their own business and don’t upset any of the other wildlife (deer, etc.) that cruise through. The coyotes have also taken up residence, and are the main predators of foxes, cats, small dogs, etc. The foxes around here raise 2-3 litters of kits.

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  17. 17. Robert 2:29 pm 04/5/2011

    I want to know why animals are happier in the wild, where they struggle to feed themselves, keep themselves warm, etc, than in my nicely climate controlled home with more than enough high quality nutrition. Moreover, I take issue with the suggestion that animals (and would like to suggest that people are also animals, and share a great deal of our basic desires with the higher mammals) are happy to be left in their poverty where they *STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE*

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  18. 18. CharmanderGatomon 2:40 pm 04/14/2011

    Gosh! I wonder if my mom realized how expensive these things are when she offered to buy me one for my next birthday… My 16th. Might not be getting my car… Good thing i got her to sign a contract…
    So, yeah… I hope she doesn’t burn it… Thanks for the info and I hope u get ur fox! I’ll come back 2 tell u guys if I get 1 or not. ^u^ *crosses fingers*

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  19. 19. val 7:18 pm 05/14/2011

    i would really like to know if you get one of these i have been looking at them but wondering if they wont end up sending me some reject. i would like to meet one in person before hand but i dont want to fly all the way out to russia to do that.

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  20. 20. Tyler Cole 4:50 pm 05/23/2011

    I actually visited the farm and made a video, you can check it out here: http://bit.ly/h7aKnk

    Link to this

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