Can foxes be kept as pets?

FAQ: Foxes as pets?
6.2 Foxes as pets?
6.2.1 Should injured foxes be taken home to be treated there (or at the vet)?
Basically, you should first determine the situation by observing the fox from a distance for a while. Only if it appears to be a serious injury should one intervene; otherwise, it is better to leave the fox where it is and provide it with a little food or water if necessary. In England, for example, it has been observed that after a car accident with a broken leg, foxes would lay themselves in a garden that was safe for them until they could walk again.
If it is not absolutely necessary to do something else, one should support injured foxes on the spot. A fox that has been in human care for some time usually finds its old turf occupied by a new owner, and it is questionable whether the convalescent can regain it that easily.
6.2.2 Does it make sense to take orphaned fox babies home with you?
... the temptation is great:
Fox pup (Photo: J.Jordan)
Here, too, the following normally applies: Observe first, then act. After a certain age, foxes leave their children alone for a longer period of time, especially if they have to provide for food themselves (e.g. due to the death of their father). Even if it is certain that the mother was killed, there is the possibility that the father or older siblings will take care of older young foxes (who can already eat solid food).
Fox pups should therefore only be taken “home” when it is fairly certain that the animal is really orphaned. You can then - provided you have expertise in dealing with animals, space and enough time - nurse the young fox yourself (see 6.2.4 I have found a fox pup - what now?) Or hand it over to competent hands. Unfortunately, only a few wildlife parks and nature conservation stations are ready to accept foxes, so that expert support is rare here. A list of rescue centers for wild animals - without claiming to be exhaustive - can be found at the Organization Wildtierschutz Deutschland e.V., which also supports some rescue centers where fox pups are prepared for reintroduction into the wild. The Pro Fuchs initiative is also concerned with protecting foxes and fattening up and reintroducing puppies to the wild.
6.2.3 Can I just take a fox pup with me?
The so-called right of appropriation - i.e. the right to acquire live or dead wild animals in the forest and in the fields - falls to those who are authorized to hunt. Strictly speaking, if you take a fox cub or other young wild animal with you from the forest, you are practicing poaching. Anyone who reports an orphaned or injured fox pups to a hunter can, however, in most cases assume that the animal in question will be made "short shrift".
The inclusion of wild animals in pacified areas such as private property is legally unobjectionable. In any case, more and more foxes are in the vicinity of human settlement areas.
6.2.4 I found a fox pup - what now?
On the website Wir Füchse, Marc Buchtmann provides comprehensive information on how to deal with orphaned fox pups (see "Puppies found - what now?").
6.2.5 Can you keep foxes as pets?
Young fox in the living room (Photo: archive)
If that means a “pet” in the classic sense, this statement has to be denied. There are certainly examples of foxes who feel comfortable in such a situation, provided that "their" human being has the knowledge, the time and the will to respond to them. This is of course especially true for foxes that have been used to humans from an early age. On the other hand, even young foxes that have grown up in human care often develop an irrepressible thirst for freedom and feel visibly uncomfortable in captivity. In addition, foxes have not gone through the domestication process to which our domestic dogs have been subjected for many centuries, and consequently never become as tame and obedient as a dog. Even if you have a sound knowledge of handling dogs, you should not underestimate the time required or the potential for conflict that keeping a fox entails. On the other hand, every year foxes that cannot be released into the wild are looking for a new home.
Basically: If a captured fox has the possibility and the will to be released into the wild, this wish should be granted to him, if necessary in the form of a release into the wild, controlled by biologists. In some cases, this is still possible even after years of imprisonment. As far as possible, however, this should be done in an area where foxes are not or rarely hunted and where there are no busy roads. Recent studies have shown that reintroduced foxes - although they quickly learn to find their own food - often have chaotic-looking movement patterns in the first time after their release and that they are particularly often the victims of hunters or cars during this time.
Literature:
Robertson, C.P.J. & Harris, S. (1995): The condition and survival after release of captive-reared fox cubs. Animal Welfare 4, 281-294.
Robertson, C.P.J. & Harris, S. (1995): The behavior after release of captive-reared fox cubs. Animal Welfare 4, 295-306