"Pet" gray fox on the loose in Troy

gray fox us fwsWeird: we came across an item on Craigslist this week for a lost "pet" fox in the Troy area. And though the gray fox has "a collar and tags and is up to date on all her shots," according to the listing, there was a warning that it had been trying to "play" with other pets and ended up getting into fights. The fox is apparently not afraid of people.

So we contacted the Department of Environmental Conservation to see if they'd heard anything about this. From DEC spokesman Rick Georgeson:

We are aware of this animal which is running loose with a collar and tags in the vicinity of RPI. If the animal is caught it will be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator and the owner will be ticketed, if he can be found. It is illegal to keep wild animals as pets without a permit and DEC has no permits on file for this animal.
People should either call 911 [if fox is sighted] and they will contact us or they can call the DEC dispatch at 1-877-457-5680.

The photo on the right is US Fish and Wildlife Service pic of a gray fox. (It's not the gray fox in Troy.)

A fox is a fox
Foxes may look like dogs -- but no matter how you raise a fox, it will still be a fox -- that is, a wild animal. There's a fascinating NOVA episode about dogs -- called "Dogs Decoded" (it's on Netflix streaming) -- that highlights how far removed modern dogs are from their wild cousins . The episode includes a look at a long running study of fox domestication in Siberia, as well as researchers who have tried raising wolf pups like dogs at home. The short story: foxes and wolves are not dogs -- they don't read humans the same way, and they're aggressive.

photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia

Comments

Hmmm....there appears to be a dead fox on the side of I-90 E out past the East Greenbush exits (but before exit 12). I won't be out that way again until Monday but if I am I'll try to better pinpoint the location (assuming it isn't cleared away by then) and give the DEC a call.

> The short story: foxes and wolves are not dogs-- they don't read humans the same way, and they're aggressive.

I dare you not to pet this though:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1G2yZMUNUQ

That episode of NOVA is really fascinating. It also talks about how domesticated dogs have evolved to bond with humans using the same hormones that are generated after sex, childbirth, etc. Crazy stuff. It is why the therapy dog movement has been such a successful venture - dog cuddles generate endorphins, and endorphins have healing properties.

Also, the fox study is fascinating too, as they think they've found the "domestication" genetic sequence in wolves, and the study has copied it to foxes. However, what they also found was, the now "domesticated" foxes are, well, no longer foxes. It is, in essence, a different species, separate from dogs (which were evolved from wolves).

Sorry to digress, but I am so glad you posted that link - it is my favorite NOVA to date, and I think everyone should watch it, especially dog lovers. :)

I saw the fox!! last weekend on burdett. I was very close to it on foot, saw (and heard) the tags. It was in my friend's front yard, crossed the street slowly and wandered down the sidewalk and into the Troy High parking lot. I couldn't believe it!

I heard an interview with a woman who tried domesticating raccoons. She said that there's always a wild instinct fighting in there- if you pet them it's "Ohhh.....nice.......mmmmm.....MUST BITE! MUST BITE!"

Then again, I had a cat who was the sweetest creature ever, unless you touched a certain spot on his tail- then he'd scratch your face off.

I wonder if this is the same animal that has been spotted all over the Eastside. I saw it on Pinewood Ave at about 5am while I was walking my dog.

Saw the fox about a half hour ago! It walked down federal and took a left unto 5th.

We saw the fox, too. Never dreamed of calling 911 after calling them several years ago to report an obviously rabid fox that was foaming at the mouth and walking like a drunken sailor around our neighborhood in Brunswick. The 911 operator scolded me for calling and wondered how I could possibly know it was rabid.

the cover story of the march 2011 issue of national geographic was about animal domestication. the cover actually pictured a fox. here is a link to the article about a "fox farm" in Siberia if anyone is interested... they have been attempting to breed them for domestication for many years now, re-creating the evolution of wolves into dogs

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/taming-wild-animals/ratliff-text/1

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