Wilf The Silver Fox
Meet Wilf the Silver Fox. He is 5 months old, and is a domesticated Silver Fox. He lives in Sale, Manchester and gets up to lots of adventures. You may have seen his recent escape attempt on social media! We caught up with his owners Jade and Ellie to find out more about their unusual pet.
Why did you get a fox?
‘We have had a genuine interest in domesticated foxes for many years and hope we can educate people on their species. As well as Wilf we own Tanukis (typically known as raccoon dogs) and we also breed Belgian Hares. We’re registered with Black foxes UK who do amazing work for the rescue/care of foxes all over the country. We are hoping to be accepted to adopt or foster a rescue fox with them and continue to raise awareness.’
Why is Wilf not red?
‘The reason his coat is silver/black and not red is because it’s a mutation in the colour gene. Some foxes colour mutations happen naturally in the wild however they are mostly by man, through selective breeding of foxes born in captivity with unusual coat colours or patterns or through the cross-breeding of foxes displaying specific colours. This was for the fur farm industry which is now, thankfully, illegal. Most domesticated foxes can not, and would not, last living in the wild, hence why they are sold or adopted to experienced fox owners to live a happy and safe life.’
What is Wilf’s behavior like?
‘Wilf is a cheeky boy, climbing on anything and everything he can. He loves anything food related so you have to be on guard when you’re eating or he will pinch the food off your plate! He is more cat-like than dog-like due to his very sharp claws and the way he pounces when playing with the dog. Foxes don’t show affection unless it’s on their terms, luckily Wilf is very affectionate especially with his owners. He is very unsure of strangers and new things. He is also very sneaky, he has escaped twice in the short time we have owned him. You may have seen his latest attempt! Luckily he doesn’t venture far and when we go to collect him he comes bounding over jumping for joy that we’ve come for him.’
What does Wilf eat?
‘We feed Wilf similar food to what he would find in the wild if he wasn’t domesticated. His favourite food is 2 day old whole chicks, but we also feed other “live foods” such as mice, whole chickens and rats. In the wild he would also forage on greens so we mix in vegetables and fruit and also sometimes dog food. We like to change up his food everyday to mimic the lifestyle of a wild fox.’
Where does Wilf Sleep?
‘He currently lives indoors and has free rein of the house as he is still young. He will soon be moving into his new 12ft x 8ft outdoor enclosure fully kitted out with different levels for him to jump on, a sandpit to dig and lots of other fun toys to play with. In the house he sleeps anywhere he likes, his favourite place to sleep is on the bed with the dog.’
Would you recommend a fox as a pet?
‘We do not recommend anyone to own a domesticated fox unless they have previous experience with the species or have extensively researched them for the following reasons:’
- Foxes are extremely high maintenance animals
- You have to ensure they have the correct diet and accommodation.
- They smell awful (especially males) so be prepared to have a strong stomach.
- Foxes are crepuscular animals so are most active at dawn and dusk, they will sleep the majority of the day.
- They are very destructive, Wilf has already shredded many socks and ripped the wallpaper down off the walls. This is due to him getting to the age where he wants to explore more so gets bored easily, hence the need for him to live in his own enclosure.
‘We made sure we researched thoroughly before taking on Wilf. We are trained in animal care and management however every species is different and have different needs. Before he came home with us we also spoke to other fox owners and Black Foxes UK to find out as much information as possible. ‘