When Hertfordshire, UK, resident Natalie Reynolds was asked to rear a two-day-old baby animal seemingly abandoned by its family, she couldn’t say no. She wanted to give it all the love in the world.
But this animal wasn’t a puppy like the people who found it said it was. Though it looked like a pup, it was actually a baby fox. Nonetheless, she decided to keep it as a part of the family.
Yes, foxes are wild animals and the wild is their home.
Most animal organizations stress this and don’t encourage anyone to try to tame any wild foxes as pets. But in Jasper’s case, he was left abandoned in a garden, essentially right after he was born.
Trying to find his parents would’ve been a lost cause, and letting him go on his own that young wouldn’t have ended well for the pup.
Reynolds had to bottle feed him multiple times a day for the first few weeks of his life as well, so by the time he was big enough, he was well domesticated.
The fox, named Jasper, is now living with Reynolds, her dogs, cat, and her partner and children.
When asked what it was like to have him as a pet, 35-year-old Reynolds told This Morning that its “like having a cat or a dog.”
“The dogs chase him around, he loves the cat but the cat isn’t too fond of him,” she told the Watford Observer.
The mother knows that people think having a fox as a pet is a bad idea, but she begs to differ.
“They’re very sweet animals,” Reynolds told This Morning. “He’s very affectionate, he’s very cuddly … He’s essentially like an 8-month-old puppy.”
But she does warn that foxes aren’t really pets. “I don’t want people to go out and think ‘this is great’. He’s not good in a domestic situation, he smells,” she told the Watford Observer.
When he was four months old, they built him an outdoor enclosure in the garage as he was getting too boisterous in the house, and he can run around freely in the garden during the day. Now he’s about nine months old.
The video shown on This Morning depicts Jasper running around the yard and playing with toys, just like any other domesticated animal would.
And Jasper is as domesticated as it gets! He’s tame enough to be able to play with Reynolds’s young children, as the mother says “he sees them as part of his little pack.”
She even goes as far to say that “he doesn’t even know he’s a fox.” He still retains natural fox instincts, like being sneaky and an independent nature, but it seems he’s just like Reynolds’s other dogs.
Even if foxes do belong in the wild, Reynolds knew she couldn’t neglect Jasper as a baby. And now, he’s become one of the family and feels loved as one of their own.
Reynolds said he probably could be released back into the wild, but the average lifespan of a wild fox is only about 18 months. Wildlife experts warn it is difficult to keep an adult fox in captivity, so we’ll just have to see how well Jasper and his family get on as he gets older.
“I know of a woman in Bovingdon who has one that’s 14 years old,” Reynolds told the Watford Observer.
What do you think? Would you keep a fox as a pet? Vote in our poll below: