Can You Have a Fox as a Pet? Legality, Ethics & FAQ

Happy pet fox

Many individuals appear to have an obsession with having essentially the most unique, outlandish, and distinctive pets round. Celebrities together with the likes of Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson have been recognized to maintain some fairly fascinating animals, solely fueling the general public’s love of unique pets all of the extra.

Mike Tyson saved three pet tigers, which is, clearly, a really harmful solution to stay. One even attacked a trespasser on his property! However one unique pet that doesn’t appear fairly as harmful though it’s almost twice as cute is a fox. The query is; are you able to personal a fox as a pet? If you happen to’ve been contemplating cuddling up with your individual fox cub, then learn on to seek out out if that’s a chance.

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Is it Authorized to Personal a Fox as a Pet?

In America, some states will let you maintain a fox as a pet, but it surely’s positively not the norm. The foundations differ between the states that do enable foxes as pets, and the legal guidelines may even change relying on the species of fox you wish to maintain.

For instance, Pink foxes are authorized pets in 14 states. Fennec foxes, however, are solely authorized for personal possession in 13 states. The foundations relating to permits and extra can change between fox species and often have an effect on unique and native fox species in numerous methods.

States The place it’s Authorized to Personal a Fox as a Pet

Altogether, there are 15 states the place it’s authorized to personal a fox in some capability. The foundations can change in each state and with every fox species although. So, take into account that simply because it may be authorized to personal a fox in your state doesn’t imply you may simply go catch one within the wild and cultivate it. You’ll nonetheless have to examine on the legal guidelines in your particular state, county, and municipality.

It’s authorized to personal a fox within the following 15 states:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

States in a Grey Space

There are some states that technically will let you maintain a fox, however make it primarily not possible to take action. For instance, each Maine and Delaware legally allow you to maintain foxes, however refuse to difficulty the required permits. In different states, it’s authorized to personal a fox, however unlawful to import one. Chances are high good that there aren’t any fox breeders throughout the state, making it virtually not possible to legally personal.

Buying a Pet Fox or Catching One

fox in autumn
Picture Credit score: Robert Adamec, Shutterstock

Let’s say you reside in a state that permits foxes to be saved as pets. Are you able to exit and catch a fox to cultivate? Possibly not. In some states, akin to Arkansas, you’re allowed to catch foxes within the wild and cultivate them. However Arkansas is the exception, not the rule.

In lots of states, though it’s authorized to personal a fox, you may’t simply exit and catch one. That mentioned, different states are the other. Kentucky, for instance, permits you to personal foxes, however you may’t legally import any of the fox species which are out there within the pet commerce. Which means that if you would like a pet fox in Kentucky, you just about haven’t any selection however to catch it your self.

Guidelines Change Relying on the Fox Species

Even when foxes are authorized to maintain as pets in your state, you’ll have to be very cautious about what sort of fox you get. It may be the case that solely sure species of fox are authorized to maintain and others will get you in hassle with a hefty superb or worse as punishment. In lots of states, the principles differ relying on whether or not the fox species is native or unique.

There are three native fox species within the US:

There are much more unique fox species:

  • Fennec Fox
  • Arctic Fox
  • Swift Fox
  • Bat-Eared Fox
  • Corsac Fox

So, earlier than you go and catch a fox to carry dwelling, do a little analysis. Discover out what species of foxes are authorized to personal in your state, in the event that they’re authorized to maintain in any respect. Ensure you can determine completely different fox species and inform the variations between them. Then, make certain you solely try to buy fox that’s a authorized species in your space. And keep in mind, there are even stricter legal guidelines relating to the seize of untamed animals, so if you happen to plan to go that route, much more forethought shall be vital to make sure you stay with the boundaries of the legislation.

Particular Exemptions

red fox
Picture Credit score: RT Pictures, Shutterstock

The entire legal guidelines and guidelines we’ve mentioned to date pertain to particular person individuals who want to maintain foxes as private pets. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to those guidelines made for sure particular teams.

As an illustration, teams that do academic exhibitions at completely different locations like faculties and libraries can usually get particular permits to maintain a fox, even in locations the place it’s not authorized beneath extraordinary circumstances. In these circumstances, annual inspections are typically required.



If you happen to want to maintain a fox in your loved ones, you’re going to have to be fairly fortunate. First, you must be fortunate sufficient to stay in one of many 15 states that enable the authorized possession of foxes as pets. Subsequent, you must luck into being in a state the place it’s not extremely troublesome to get a fox.

If you happen to handle to make your well beyond these hurdles, then you’ve got made it previous step one among fox possession. However for many Individuals, these legal guidelines and rules imply that fox possession is probably going out of attain until you intend on shifting within the close to future.

For extra details about foxes, we advocate studying Nationwide Geographic, The Fox Web site, and Huge Open Pets.

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