Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Often we are asked: What do I feed a wild fox?”
The best answer to these questions is don’t feed them. This applies to most wildlife but especially predators.
We recommend against feeding wild foxes, and most other wildlife.
Whenever we feed wildlife two things happen, the animals stop hunting, and they lose their fear of humans. While befriending a wild fox may seem like a great idea, it usually ends very badly for the animal. There is a common saying among wildlife rehabbers, “a fed fox is a dead fox”.
While it may sound harsh, the reason this is said is because what will eventually happen is the person feeding the fox will get too close and be bitten. If you live in a place where rabies exists a bite will lead to the fox having to be euthanized to be checked for rabies. Another possibility is the fox will approach someone who is not friendly and they will kill them. Wildlife being afraid of humans keeps them alive.
Another issue is that feeding foxes artificially increases the resources available to them. While a fox is hungry, they will not breed prolifically. If hungry long enough they will move on to a new area where they can find more reliable food sources. If we feed them, nature tells them there is enough food, and they will breed prolifically increasing the fox population, when the habitat cannot support it. Perpetuating the “need” for human intervention.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fox or a fox family sharing your space with you, the best thing to do is stay back, and watch from a distance. Enjoy their presence without interfering.
There are very few times when wildlife needs our assistance, if you think a wild animal needs help you should always leave it to the professionals and ask a wildlife Rehabber. You can find one near you on Ahnow.org If you think the animal needs help the Rehabber can direct you on what to do or intervene themselves if necessary.
If you want to help wildlife with food we highly encourage you to plant native edible plants such as berry bushes. This will attract animals that eat these berries and other edible plants and create a small natural ecosystem in your own backyard. You must be aware when doing this though that there will be predator and prey dynamics.
If you still insist on feeding them artificially, even after knowing this, it’s critical you feed them a diet that is healthy and not harmful. And again, let me repeat, we do not encourage feeding them.
Too often we see people feeding harmful and even deadly over time diets. When feeding foxes, we recommend high-quality grain-free dog food, like Acanna, raw meat like chicken, eggs, veggies, and fruit. you’ll have to experiment with the plant matter, but berries and melon and squash they usually like.
Do not feed Pork or cat food EVER. very minimal beef. Don’t feed them anything toxic to dogs, like grapes.
Feeding them sweets like jelly sandwiches and cake and such is harming them. Not helping them. Just because they think it’s good doesn’t mean it’s good for them.