I’m Jessika Coker, owned of Juniper Fox, a two-year-old domestic fox who has over 2 million fans on Instagram. We live in the Florida Panhandle with a Malamute mix dog named Moose, a young male fox named Fig, and two Sugar Gliders named Petunia and Peach and quite a few reptile friends. Caring for animals has always been a passion of mine and I am working to start my own rescue for animals in need. I’m aroused to publish my first volume “Juniper: The Happiest Fox” later this month, dedicating readers an inside look at what life is like living with a fox.
Juniper has many passionate fans that leave comments and questions on our Instagram posts. Here are some of the most common questions I receive.
“Did you get them from the wild? ”
Juniper and Fig are actually not from the wild, contrary to popular belief. Foxes like Juniper and Fig have been bred for over 150 years in captivity for their fur. These foxes are referred to as Ranched Foxes and are unable to be released into the wild due to their genetic change and “tame” behaviors.
“Where can I get one? ”
Foxes aren’t for everyone and I don’t recommend them as household pets. Even though they have some propensities resembling dogs and cats, they are inherently wild mannered and at the end of the day act like foxes.
“Do they sleep with you? ”
Juniper does sleep with me most nights. That is if you consider the hours of 4 am to 8: 30 am “nights.” Most of the time she is indoors at night, but she prefers to parade around the house getting into anything she can while I try to sleep.
“What do they feed? ”
Foxes need a nutrient called taurine to survive. This is found in raw meats. They are given a raw diet made up of game animals with a few fruits and vegetables thrown into the mix, but they favor marshmallows and beef jerky if given the choice.
“Do you need a permit? ”
You do need a permit to own a fox in almost every state in the US. Obtaining a permit entails passing certain qualifications deeming you a good fox keeper. This is decided by the individual state’s department of natural resources.
“Do they reek? ” and “Are they potty trained? ”
Juniper and Fig do smell! Well, their pissing stenches. In fact, they have a very distinct odor that reeks a lot like a skunk. Fortunately, both Fig and Juniper are trained to use potty pads when indoors, so the smell is generally contained in one room. We have to clean constantly to make sure that the house doesn’t have a lingering odor. Even though they are potty trained they will still mark things much like a cat. This is part of their instincts and nearly impossible to break them off, so we highly value our steam cleaner.
“Do they like affection? ”
Juniper love to give affection, but only on her terms. This usually happens when I’m in a deep sleep and her need to be pet is just too great. I wake up nearly every night as she nudges my hand waiting for me to scratch her until we both fall asleep.