In April 2017, Porthos came to TIERART. The fox cub, who was about 4 weeks old at that time, was found alone on the street by a woman after he was presumably injured in an accident. A short time later she brought the little guy to TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary, where many other orphaned or injured foxes of the same age were already being raised.
Porthos, 4 weeks old
Full of life – despite handicap
A closer observation of the cub, unfortunately, showed that he had problems walking due to an injury to his spine. Again and again, he started limping or even pulled his hind legs behind him for a short time. In addition, he seemed to have poor eyesight. He was completely rejected by the other cubs of the group because of this behavior. They did not allow him to approach the food and rigorously bit him away.
Porthos was therefore placed in individual care in order to be able to keep a closer eye on his health issues. Through a lot of attention and activity with him, the little fighter made huge progress and showed himself despite his handicap always cheerful and lively. He became able to walk properly again and could orientate himself well in known surroundings despite limitations of his eyesight.
A few weeks later, he moved into his own outdoor enclosure on our premises. Porthos is definitely not in pain, as he regularly runs and romps and jumps around the enclosure like crazy and then moves almost completely normally. His eyesight is also not as good as a healthy fox, but he can distinguish light and dark very well and if there is something going on around his enclosure, he immediately comes to the fence with curiosity.
Of course, Porthos has become very "tame" through constant contact with people. When you approach him, he wags his tail joyfully and he also enjoys extensive playing and petting. What we absolutely forbid with our other foxes, which are to be reintroduced to the wild and therefore remain shy, is not a bad thing in the case of Porthos. It was soon clear that he would never be able to hunt properly anyway due to his existing handicap and would therefore be permanently cared for at TIERART.
New friends: Sir Henry and Jackson
Foxes show a pronounced social behavior in the wild and do not live strictly solitary. Keeping them alone in human care is not species-appropriate in the long run. Therefore, we were very happy when in May 2018 we received a request if we could take in another male fox of the same age that could not be released back into the wild.
Sir Henry has a similar fate as Porthos. He had also been injured in an accident and had problems walking for a long time after breaking his femur. Although this has improved considerably over time and is hardly noticeable today, he too would have no chance of survival outside. Neither hunting nor conquering his own territory would be possible due to his handicap. Porthos and Sir Henry have also become very people-oriented due to the necessary intensive. After such a long time they would not completely regain their shyness towards us humans. Thus, both are permanently cared for at TIERART.
One year later, male fox Jackson completed the fox community. Jackson is a so-called "Pet Fox" and was bred specifically as a pet. After being confiscated, he came to TIERART in May 2019. The three males moved into a new enclosure a few weeks later and are getting along famously.
Facts about Porthos:
At TIERART since: April 2017
I am: a special fox with some limitations, but still very curious, playful and especially people-oriented
What the keepers say about me: Despite Porthos' handicap, he is very full of life.
Facts about Sir Henry:
At TIERART since: May 2018
I am: very shy and rarely show myself
What the keepers say: He prefers to hide in his underground tunnels and only shows himself when it is very quiet around the enclosure.
Facts about Jackson:
At TIERART since: May 2019
I am: very people-oriented and also sometimes demand petting
What the keepers say about me: Jackson is more like a dog, as he come from a breeding line which breeds "pet foxes".
Sad farewell to Porthos and Sir Henry....
In mid-May 2022, Porthos had suddenly become neurologically conspicuous and had repeated seizures, in the course of which he inflicted severe bite wounds on himself. Despite veterinary treatment, his condition did not improve, so with a heavy heart we had to make the decision to put him down. Up to this point, Porthos had never shown any signs of pain in the area of the spine injured by his accident as a puppy, or even had such seizures.
However, the veterinarian suspects that the injured vertebrae may have recently shifted, resulting in severe pain or even impairment in the area of the nerves and spinal cord. The resulting pain may have led to the seizures and self-injurious behavior.
We would have wished Porthos many more wonderful years at TIERART and his loss hit us deeply.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to another member of our fox community just a few weeks later.... On 27.06.2022 our keepers found Sir Henry lifeless in his underground den. We were deeply shocked and saddened to have lost him as well.
Nevertheless, we are very proud that we could give the two red foxes some wonderful years with us. In the wild and without human help they would have had no chance.
Take care, guys! You will be missed...