How to Tame a Fox

Written by joelle dedalus | 13/05/2017
How to Tame a Fox
Foxes are cute, but time and patience are needed to make one a pet. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Foxes are known for their wily behaviour and clever tactics while hunting. Their sleek, handsome appearance, which resembles that of many domestic animals, makes them an appealing animal to attempt to tame. However, domesticating a fox is a complex process that should be attempted only by the most knowledgeable experts. Although a single fox can sometimes be trained to adapt to a domestic environment, it can take more than 40 years of breeding and patient training to achieve a litter of tame fox pups.

Choose a fox with a low "flight distance." Flight distance is the proximity the fox allows between itself and a human before running away. The more comfortable the animal is in the presence of people, the swifter the adaptation process will be. A wild fox that immediately flees your presence and shows other signs of fear, such as aggression, will be difficult to train, and potentially dangerous.

Breed the fox for a litter of pups you can raise by hand. Although some adult foxes can be slowly trained to respond to human contact, beginning the taming process with a pup yields the best results. Handle the pups as often as possible, as this will help them adjust to the presence of humans.

Feed the pups with a bottle so that they learn dependence on humans. Keep them apart from wild foxes, and expose them to positive human contact as much as possible as they grow.

Repeat the process of breeding and raising fox pups to achieve a fox that is fully domesticated. Select from your first litter the pups that have the least tendency to flee human contact. These foxes should be comfortable bottle-feeding by hand and should show few signs of aggressive behaviour. With each litter, the foxes should become more tame. Continuing the process over generations can even cause the pups to physically change. Shifts in appearance might include larger eyes and floppy ears. These adaptations are a result of neotenization, the retention of juvenile characteristics in adults, which is a typical result of domestication over generations.

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