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The Tame Siberian Pet Fox

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Rosie - Red Fox

Rosie - Red Fox

Photo © Caryn

The tame Siberian pet fox is somewhat of a genetic freak to the fox world, but for fox lovers everywhere, it may be their ideal pet fox. Continue reading to learn more about domestiated foxes.

History of the Tame Siberian Pet Fox

The only place a real tame Siberian pet fox is from is the breeding farm in Novosibirsk, Russia. Why, you ask? The foxes were originally used for a study on domestication, the role of stress in evolution, and other discoveries by Prof. D. K. Belyaev, the Laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics of Animals, and the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Russia. During the past several decades of the study, the foxes were selectively bred by choosing the most tame foxes to breed. Over time colors changed, some ears started to flop, tails changed, and the foxes became like domesticated dogs. Studies have shown that these foxes now have different genes from wild foxes. The Russian study continues today and kits are available as pets. Money from the sales of the foxes is used to fund the study.

About the Tame Siberian Pet Fox

The scientific journals Current Biology and Behavior Genetics have published articles stating the obvious genetic differences between these tame pet foxes and wild foxes which in turn makes them be considered domesticated.

The tame Siberian fox, also known as Belyaev's Experiment and the Silver fox, is a color mutation of the red fox, and is therefore a large fox. Fully grown, they can weigh up to 22 lbs., and stand up to 20 inches high at the shoulder. Vixens are smaller than the males. Compared to a dog of the same height, they weigh significantly less since their bones are much lighter.

They can jump over 6 feet in the air, dig and swim well. Outdoor enclosures must have fences that go a few feet underground and be fully enclosed to house a pet fox.

What Do They Eat?

In the wild, red foxes are omnivores. They are known to eat small rodents, birds, raccoons, insects, opossums, reptiles, and plant material including fruit. In captivity, a quality grain-free dog food with fruits and vegetables mixed in is typically acceptable.

Grain-free dog food brands such as Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Halo, Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul, or California Natural are examples of quality fox diets (just read the ingredients and find a food with no grain). Feed your fox according to the package directions for the body weight of your fox, then adjust accordingly if your fox is losing or gaining too much weight. Fruits and vegetables should account for a small portion of the total diet. Usually 1/4 cup a day is appropriate. Some red fox breeders also recommend a raw meat, vegetable and supplement diet instead of a formulated dog food.

Where Do I Get One?

If you live in the USA, Sibfox is your contact. They are a company in Las Vegas that works with the Russian farm. If you live outside of the USA, contact the lab by e-mail at trut@bionet.nsc.ru, or shpak67@mail.ru.

The tame Siberian pet fox comes with a hefty price tag though, so be prepared to fork over several thousands of dollars to acquire your new pet.

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