Skittish? Patience ...
 
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Skittish? Patience and a Little More is Key  

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Ash
 Ash
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So back in October-ish 2018, I took in a new fox named Breeze. Sadly, her original owner couldn't keep her due to believing she might be homeless in a few days, so I accepted Breeze into my facility. Breeze was so nervous of people at first. Occasionally she'd come over and sniff, which was a good start, but that was it. I had the intention of getting Breeze back up on her feet and then rehoming her to a good fox home, but I kind of fell in love with her and, well, I think we all know how that goes, lol. :lol: So she's staying here for the rest of her life now.

Breeze is beautiful. She is a champagne whitemark. Not all champagnes are that pretty, light-pink color, so she's a bit darker, and then has the white markings characteristic of a whitemark. But she has the gorgeous blue eyes of a champagne. Looks like a little angel fox. But she sure was a scared little angel fox when she first arrived.

Over the months I've had her and worked with her, she's really started coming out of her shell. I believe it took four-ish months before I could finally pet her with my hand all the way stretched out, twiddling my fingers on her fur. But once I could do that, I knew that one day I'd be able to truly pet her.

Fast forward to September 2019, and she now lets my sister and I pet and scratch her anywhere on her body. She'll even sit next to us on the bench sometimes and want pets. And when she wants us to keep petting her, she'll gently bite our fingers or nudge them with her nose. If you'd asked me back in October if I thought I'd be able to get to this point, I'd have said no way. But here she is.

We've still got a ways to go. She still starts at almost every little movement and jumps away, but is getting better about that too. I'd love to be able to just walk in there and pet her on my own terms like I do with the other foxes as opposed to wait for her to come to me without her hesitating or running away.

Moral of the story is, if you take in a rehome that is skittish and wary, don't give up on it and don't just assume it's going to be unhandleable. It might be, but don't assume that. It may take about a year or more for your fox to slowly even BEGIN gaining trust. But with time, patience, treats, and some love, it's definitely possible. Also, isolation works best. From humans as well as from other foxes--in other words, living in its own ENCLOSURE--not in the house--by itself. Housing the fox solitary gives the fox the opportunity to get to interact with you, and only you when you go into their pen. They won't need to compete for your attention, and they will learn that you only stay in with them for so long before you have to go. If they are already skittish and wary, AND have to compete for your attention, they won't even bother to even try. So the five words in bold are what you can do to help build the relationship of trust between you and your fox.

Time. Patience. Treats. Love. Isolation.

It feel so satisfying now to look into those beautiful blue eyes that once were terrified of me, and instead see eagerness, and excitement.

I'm Fable and Ifrit's mommy. Also mommy to Carousel, Breeze, and a bunch of snakes, lizards, and spiders. Oh, and one amphibian!

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Posted : September 7, 2019 12:59 pm
TamanduaGirl
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Really good post. Great info for anyone taking in a rescue.

My fennec fox site: http://tiny-foxes.com
My anteater site: http://www.livingwithanteaters.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TamanduaGirl

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Posted : September 9, 2019 8:24 pm
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