Can you own a fox in California?

Foxes are very intelligent animals with lots of similarities to a dog. Their fluffy bodies and cute stature make them one of those exotic animals that many want to keep as pets. But, can you own a fox in California?

No, you can’t own a fox as a pet in California. A fox is a wild animal, and California doesn’t issue any permit that allows anyone to own them. There are issues with having foxes as a pet, such as their high energy, marking territory with urine, and their loud noises. It’s not advisable to own them.

If you’re living in a state where it’s legal to own a fox, you still need to consider the decision. It can be quite tasking to take care of it. Here, we discuss rules on fox ownership in California and why it’s not advisable to own them.

Rules on Fox Ownership in California

It’s illegal to own a fox in California as the state doesn’t issue any permits for these animals. This is due to their wild nature, and they don’t usually make good pets. While it’s possible to breed foxes as pets, it’s hard for this animal to be fully domesticated. The chances of these animals turning to pests when introduced into an ecosystem where they don’t naturally occur is a major issue. There are also concerns about the diseases these animals could carry. Although California doesn’t allow owning foxes as pets, there are fox breeders in California, but they don’t legally sell these animals within the state.

However, the rules on fox ownership differ from one state to another. Some permit you to own them as pets with special licenses, while others prevent importation outside the state. Some states will allow you to keep foxes as pets as long as you catch them in the wild. There are about 15 states where it would be legal to have a fox as a pet, such as Arkansas, Idaho, New York, etc.

Problems With Keeping Foxes As Pet

Even if foxes are legally allowed as pets, they have peculiar needs and habits that make it challenging to have them as pets. As an average pet owner, a fox shouldn’t be an animal you should consider. Some of the traits that make a fox a bad pet include:

1.  High Energy

They’re high-energy animals who would need lots of exercise and enrichment. They’re playful and curious animals who enjoy having several things around them. If you’re keeping a fox in captivity, you need to provide enough activity to keep it busy. As a wild animal, a fox would usually have to spend its days in the wild doing everything such as hunting, protecting its territory, finding shelter and water, searching for mates, etc. When you keep them in captivity, they can quickly get bored and frustrated, leading to stress that triggers stereotypic behaviors. In the case of foxes, they can destroy their enclosure, among other things.

2.  Odor and Marking of Territory

Another habit of foxes is that they have an urge to mark territory. They do this using urine which has a powerful smell. You might have to deal with the smell of animals around your house if you choose to have a fox as a pet. Even without the urine, they have a skunk-like scent.

3.  Loud Noises

Foxes might seem like sneaky animals, but they’re loud, especially during their mating season. The mating season usually falls in January, and they usually scream out at night during this period. If you have neighbors, this could become a serious problem. Foxes are crepuscular, meaning they are primarily active during the twilight hours from the evening.

Taking Care of Fox

If you live in a state where it’s legal to have a fox, you need to know how to care for them. Foxes are part of the Canidae family, along with dogs. But the two diverged a long time ago, which means they can’t mate. In terms of behaviors, foxes behave more like cats too. While they’re trainable, they’re not as trainable as dogs. Over the years, dogs have been domesticated and have learned to serve humans. Foxes don’t have these same characteristics, and training them requires serious dedication, which won’t take away all their wild habits. While they may look soft, they’re wild animals who don’t do well indoors.

When it comes to food, foxes eat fresh meat, and they need lots of it. Mice and rabbits are common options, and it’s also important that their diet include taurine, which could be from chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers. Without taurine, foxes can have seizures, go blind, and even die in some cases. Beyond the food requirements, you have to stimulate the feeding process. Foxes have an inherent need to forage, so you can’t just give them food. You’ll have to hide it so they can find it, or you put the food inside something they can rip apart. In captivity, foxes can live for as much as 14 years, whereas they can only survive a few years in the wild. So, if you’re choosing to have a fox as a pet, you must be ready for the long-term commitment of ownership.

Best Species of Foxes for Pets

All foxes are’nt domesticated, even if they’ve adapted to living with people. However, the best to keep as house pets are Fennec foxes and red foxes. Fennec foxes are small and quite communicative, making them the better option. But the more reserved red foxes are also great as pets. Other larger foxes would require more attention, space, and needs. So, it’s not advisable to have them as pets. If you’re planning to adopt a fox, go for one born in captivity.

Is It Advisable to Have Foxes as Pets?

It’s not advisable to keep these animals as pets. They are very demanding, requiring money, time, and expertise. Although wild animal experts will differ on whether you can have them as pets, animal advocacy groups strongly advise against it. Many are even campaigning to ban fox ownership in the few states where they’re still legal.

In Conclusion

It’s illegal to keep foxes as pets in California. This is because they’re considered wild animals who’re best left non-domesticated. Even in places where they’re legal, it’s still not advisable to keep these animals because caring for them requires more than an average owner can handle. Having a fox is almost like a full-time job.