Can I have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?


Let’s just get this out there straight away – it’s quite unusual to want to own a fox as a pet. But, does that mean it’s wrong? I mean, really – what’s the difference between having a fox as a pet instead of a dog or a cat?

Well, as it happens – there’s quite a big difference. But, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. What it does mean though is that you need to know a lot of things before going ahead.

Although this article doesn’t go into all the detail – it does attempt to answer the basics – can you actually own a Fennec fox as a pet? It may not be as simple as it sounds…

Can I have a Fennec fox as a pet? Yes, you can own a Fennec fox in most locations, but not all. If you live in the US, bear in mind that ownership is not legal in some areas. However, is it right to own one? There is more information about this within this article.

What is a Fennec Fox?

The Fennec fox is a very small fox. They are recognizable by their ears which appear to have been transplanted from some larger variety. They actually look like some kind of cross between a fox and a bat. Maybe they should have been called a ‘fat’, or a ‘box’ – but I guess not, both those words have been taken 🙂

The Fennec fox is native to the deserts in North Africa and these large ears are designed to deal with high temperatures. The large surface area of them helps with temperature dissipation. Perhaps not so helpful when they live their lives in your home.

Can I have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?

To make it clear, the Fennec fox is officially classed as an ‘exotic’ pet and although they can be tamed aren’t domesticated and are still deemed as a wild animal. Saying that, it is practically possible to keep one as a pet, in a similar way that you would with a cat or a small dog.

Why would someone want a Fennec fox as a pet?

That’s a very good question for many but actually more and more people are deciding to choose a Fennec fox for a pet. But, why would this be? Well, firstly – let’s forget about the logistics behind it and just take a look at it.

How cute is it exactly? Well, the answer is, of course, extremely cute. I mean, just look at the thing with its big ears. It’s adorable. It has a huge amount of energy, considering its size and is, well, just different. People like things that are different.

Can I have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?

The Fennec fox, in a number of ways, behaves a lot like a dog. But, it is actually a long way from being domesticated in the way that a dog is.

If someone is going to adopt a Fennec fox as a pet they need to be a special type of person who understands exactly what the law is and what they can (and can’t do) during ownership.

There are many questions related to the morality of owning a Fennec fox and keeping one as a pet, and this isn’t the place for it. However, we can answer a lot of the questions for you.

Is it legal to keep a Fennec fox as a pet?

Be aware that it is not legal to own a Fennec fox in every location. For instance, in the UK – yes, it is perfectly legal to own one as a pet. In the US, it is legal everywhere apart from Minnesota, Washington, Nevada and Missouri.

Although, this can change quicker than you might expect so please check if you’re based in the states what the up-to-date laws are where you live.

The problem lies in the fact that the Fennec fox is not domesticated – and there lies the problem.

If an animal isn’t domesticated then authorities may well have a problem with it – and don’t be surprised if this can change month-by-month.

When you choose to have a pet that is outside of normal boundaries you do need to accept the risks that come with it.

However, regardless of the legality – this is no dog and care should be taken to ensure that they are kept securely within your boundaries.

Is the Fennec fox dangerous?

The Fennec fox is no more dangerous than your average small dog. So, no – the Fennec fox is not dangerous. However, as we already know – it is not domesticated so it isn’t naturally accustomed to a life of captivity.

Its natural habitat is not your home – it’s the deserts of Northern Africa and this is, as you can imagine, quite a change in environment. Not that it would know this, of course, it may well have been bred in your country – but its natural traits don’t just disappear after a generation or two.

So, the usual cautions need to be applied when it comes to the Fennec fox as it would with small dogs.

Is the Fennec fox safe with children?

The Fennec fox should not be left alone with children – but this isn’t anything that you would do with a dog anyway. No matter how much you trust a dog, it is after all, still an animal. Animals can do things you wouldn’t expect and children sometimes don’t know quite how to behave in front of them.

Can I have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?

However, the Fennec fox is small and there’s little harm it could actually do. If you take a look at their mouth – it’s tiny, you’d struggle to get one of your fingers in there!

Another thing to consider though is the nature of the Fennec fox. It’s not an aggressive animal by nature. It won’t show any signs of aggression unless extremely provoked. The only thing this little animal seems to want is to have fun and play.

Conclusion – can I have a Fennec fox as a pet?

Hopefully, that’s cleared things up a little. Yes, you can own a Fennec fox as a pet, depending on where you live. Most locations allow them but due to the fact that they are classified as non-domesticated, they are not permitted everywhere.

There is a question though as to why someone would want to own a Fennec fox though. When there are so many small breeds of dog available to us which are domesticated and permitted universally, why would we choose a Fennec fox over one of these? I think the answer can only be in how it looks to us – its appearance, and although this is understandable (it is certainly very cute), is it the right thing to do?

Matt

I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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