Newborn Foxes Don’t Look Like Foxes

Please be aware as we head into baby season: newborn foxes don’t look much like the adults you’re more familiar with. Every year, litters of kits get harmed because of mistaken identity.

This litter was rehabilitated by The Fox Project in the UK. They were initially brought to an animal shelter by someone who thought they were puppies. In a similar case here in the US, firefighters rescued a large litter of “puppies” from a storm drain, and the fox kits were so young and so weak that they passed in rehabilitation after the mistake was recognized.

In the most upsetting case we heard of, a young vixen was shot by someone who thought she was carrying a stray kitten. Only after this senseless murder, did the shooter realize that the “kitten” was her own baby.

Please never remove a newborn baby animal from the wild, especially without knowing exactly what it is. Even poisitively identified domestic kittens and puppies found outdoors should be taken to shelters and rescues with their mothers, not alone.

Some of the ways that you can tell fox kits apart from domestic kittens and puppies are by their feet. Foxes have delicate, kitten-like claws, but they are not fully retractible as they are in kittens. A fox’s toe pad placement is also notably different than a cat’s or dog’s (but it’s easier to look up a visual description than to see it described). Fox kits also generally have white-tipped or black-tipped tails (depending on species) from birth, before the rest of their coloration is evident.

Please help keep baby animals of all kinds with their natural mothers, who can care for them better than the world’s best rehabbers and rescues.

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