Twice in the past week, I have been lucky enough to see a wild fox. I had heard that there was a population of them in the area, but I had never expected to actually encounter one. Foxes had seemed like one of those animals that one only reads about, or sees on nature shows or in zoos. I was also surprised because, until now, the variety of wildlife around here had seemed restricted to deer and squirrels.
Both nights that I saw the fox I came across him in the parking lot of my apartment building. I assume it was a “him”. I suppose it is equally likely that it was a “her”. Anyway, he had a small, pointed face and a large, fluffy tail, and he frolicked through the snow quite happily. At one point, I saw him playing with a cat. They were clearly having fun together, chasing each other back and forth. Then they would stop to rest before continuing their game. When I approached, the cat took off running and the fox nonchalantly lay down to watch me.
He was obviously quite tame, so far as wild animals go. I suspect that someone has been leaving out food for cats, and that this little fellow has been eating it. In any case, he was not afraid of me in the least. The first time I saw him, I managed to coax him to come to within about an arm’s reach of me by using the standard “call-a-small-animal noise”. The second time, I crept up on him to roughly the same distance away, trying to get the camera on my phone to work better in the dark.
It was at this point that I began to wonder if it would be possible to perhaps catch him, and keep him as a pet. Well, first I texted my friend and asked her if she wanted me to catch him for her and then she could keep him as a pet and I could visit. She replied that she wanted no part of that.
I began to think of various reasons for and against having a domestic fox.
Pro: He seemed gentle. He’d probably make a good pet.
Con: He’d be likely to eat my other pets, two rabbits and a guinea pig.
Con: Dogs are not allowed in our building.
Pro: Not technically a dog!
Pro: He looked very cuddly.
Con: I bet he’s got really sharp little teeth.
Pro: I’d be giving him shelter, and it’s very cold outside.
Con: My apartment is full of exciting things for him to destroy.
Con: Not sure if a fox can be housebroken.
Pro: He’s pretty small.
Con: I’d have to feed him and walk him and take care of him.
Pro: Maybe I could convince my wife to do that!
Pro: Research suggests my plan could work!
Con: Only if I raised my fox from birth.
In the end, of course, I have to conclude that whatever arguments I make are not going to help me acquire an exotic pet. And, besides, nobody around here sells canine-grade butterfly nets.
I do hope to see him again sometime, though. It was a spectacular experience.