Where to pet a fox in Ohio?
December 22, 2014 7:44 PM   Subscribe

THE SITUATION: One of my good friends loves foxes. "Obsessed" is a strong word, but... she is deeply enamored. Fox socks, fox backpack, fox everything.

I know that she'd be utterly delighted to meet a fox in person - she never has before. It would be even better if it were somewhere she could meet it more personally than a zoo. Ideally, somebody owns a domestic fox that she could hang out and play with for 30 minutes or an hour or something.

Does anybody know of somewhere in Ohio where this could happen? A private owner, petting zoo, domestic fox sanctuary (...?) could all work great. It would be great if the fox were obviously owned and cared for in an ethical way - "exotic animal petting zoos" kind of sketch me out.
posted by aaronbeekay to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Foxes native to Ohio have not been domesticated, so ethically owned "pet" foxes aren't really a thing. I would generally guess most people with ethical foxes are going to be wildlife rehabilitation and maybe environmental education facilities - to have native wildlife in OH you have to be licensed by the state division of natural resources - and they're generally into having people pet the foxes, since they're wild animals. Here's a list of licensed rehabilitators around the state, though.

The Ohio Wildlife Center has an education center in Powell, and they apparently have foxes which you can "adopt" and help provide for their enrichment and housing and stuff, as well as viewing areas. Nature's Nursery seems to have animals which are too badly injured to be rereleased which they use for educational programming; they're up in Toledo.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:07 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't know any specifics, but you might want to search for fennec foxes. They're more likely to be domesticated. (And they're adorable! Look at his big ears!)
posted by Weeping_angel at 8:20 PM on December 22, 2014

(sorry, that should be they're generally not into having people pet the foxes)
posted by ChuraChura at 9:17 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

You could search for breeders, Here's one in Pennsylvania. He also sells Bobcats.

The breeders I've found in Ohio are dubious, and possibly shut down, possibly by police. You might be able to contact a few and see if they'll give you the contact information of someone they've sold to near you.
posted by FallowKing at 9:56 PM on December 22, 2014

Nature's Nursery absolutely will not accommodate such a request. (And they rarely bring Lenny to community events or programs, anyway. He is quite timid. Hi, Toledoan here.)

It's really super sweet that you want your friend to have a personal visit with her favorite critter. But I implore you to consider that animals kept for such purposes are often mistreated and terribly stressed out. Please consider an "adoption" in her name. She'll get regular updates about "her" fox, and have the satisfaction of knowing that the critter is happy and healthy and out of harm's way.
posted by MissySedai at 11:03 PM on December 22, 2014 [19 favorites]

Here you go: Our Zoo To You , in Ohio. Has a fox on staff.
posted by edgeways at 6:24 AM on December 23, 2014

My advice: encourage your friend to see if their local wildlife rescue org needs volunteers. At Nature's Nursery, for instance, (also mentioned by MissySedai--I'm a former SE Michigander, and have known a few people who helped out there) the volunteer staff does work with directly the rescues. There won't be petting per se, and the vast majority of the animals won't be foxes, but I would find this type of experience vastly more satisfying than meeting a fox in captivity. Your friend should also be constitutionally capable of dealing with occasional heartbreak--rescued animals sometimes die, and it's possible that they will at some point be exposed to evidence of staggering human cruelty.
posted by pullayup at 7:28 AM on December 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all! And especially to ChuraChura and MissySedai. It sounds like it might be best to rearrange this gift into a "sponsor a fox", not "snuggle a fox".

I didn't know the Ohio Wildlife Center did animal adoptions, that's great. I think I'll end up sponsoring a fox there in her name, and maybe we can go out to the Nature Education Center a little later to meet him.

posted by aaronbeekay at 7:51 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Columbus Zoo also does adoptions of their Arctic Foxes, but I would guess your money would be more appreciated at the Ohio Wildlife Center.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:39 AM on December 23, 2014

Please give a follow up to how this goes (message is fine). Foxes are AWESOME and although I'm not quite as enthusiastic as your friend I would love to know how this turns out.
posted by This is the decision I made. at 9:26 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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