Can You Own a Fox in Texas? Is it illegal

Can You Own a Fox in Texas

Foxes are wild animals that are not commonly kept as pets. But can you own a fox in texas?

Some states do allow people to own foxes with certain restrictions.

What are the rules regarding fox ownership in Texas?

In Texas, it is legal to own a fox as a pet as there are no state laws prohibiting fox ownership.

Can You Own a Fox in Texas?

is it illegal to own a fox in texas

Yes, it is legal to own a fennec, bat-eared, or cape fox as a pet in Texas, as they are African species of fox. However, keeping native wildlife species like the red fox as pets is still banned in Texas.

The Canadian marble fox is a domesticated color mutation of the arctic fox. Marble foxes are bred in captivity and not prohibited by Texas state laws regarding possession of wildlife. These rare foxes can likely be legally owned as pets in Texas with proper exotic animal permitting issued at the county or city level.

Domesticated foxes, such as the Russian silver fox, are legal to own in Texas with the proper permits. These foxes have been specifically bred in captivity for dozens of generations to produce calmer temperaments suitable for pets.

The gray fox is a wild native species of Texas. It is illegal under state laws to capture wild gray foxes in order to keep them as pets. You cannot legally buy, sell, or own any wild-caught native Texas gray foxes. Captive bred gray foxes that originate legally from out of state sources may be able to be possessed in Texas, but with strict permitting restrictions.

Fox Ownership Laws in Texas

Do I need a permit to own a fox in Texas? There are some regulations and rules that fox owners must follow:

  • Permits – While you do not need a permit to own a fox in Texas, some counties or cities may require a permit or license to keep exotic pets like foxes. Be sure to check your local municipal codes.
  • Zoning and Housing Laws – Foxes cannot be kept in all housing situations. Many cities prohibit owning foxes in residential neighborhoods or apartments. Check local zoning and housing laws.
  • Sale and Purchase – It is legal to purchase a fox from a breeder and own it in Texas. However, it is illegal to take foxes from the wild to keep as pets.
  • Veterinary Care – Fox owners must provide proper veterinary care. It may be difficult to find vets that treat foxes as they are exotic animals. Be sure you have access to a vet before getting a fox.
  • Containment – Foxes must be kept in appropriate enclosures and cannot be allowed to run freely. They need proper housing that contains them securely on the owner’s property.
  • Rabies Vaccination – Foxes must have a current rabies vaccination like other pets in Texas.

So in summary, you can legally own a domesticated fox in Texas but must follow rules regarding permits, housing, veterinary care, and containment.

While fox ownership is legal at the state level in Texas, some individual cities and counties have additional regulations or prohibitions on possessing foxes. Here are some regulations in major Texas cities:

  • Austin – It is illegal to own foxes in Austin city limits. Austin has an ordinance that bans ownership of any wild animals including foxes.
  • Dallas – Foxes are allowed in Dallas but an exotic animal permit is required. There are specifications on housing size as well.
  • San Antonio – No foxes are allowed within San Antonio city limits. They enforce a ban on wild animal possession.
  • Houston – Foxes are permitted but you must register them and keep them in appropriate housing. Certain zoning laws may prohibit foxes.
  • El Paso – El Paso does not allow possession of wild animals including foxes in city limits.
  • Arlington – Arlington requires an exotic pet permit for foxes and other wildlife. There are also enclosure requirements.

So be sure to check the specific municipal codes in the city or county you live in before getting a pet fox. Some have outright bans while others have permit and housing requirements. Know the laws where you live.

If you are not able to own a fox in Texas, you may look into whether surrounding states allow pet foxes. Here are the basic fox ownership laws in bordering states:

  • Oklahoma – It is legal to own domesticated foxes in Oklahoma. No permit is required by the state.
  • New Mexico – New Mexico does not ban fox ownership, but some cities and counties within the state may prohibit foxes.
  • Arkansas – It is legal to possess foxes in Arkansas, but native wildlife cannot be kept as pets. Most foxes will be non-native species.
  • Louisiana – Foxes are allowed in Louisiana with proper housing, rabies vaccinations, and vet care. Permit requirements vary locally.

So you can see, laws are similar to Texas in most neighboring states, with legality at the state level but some local prohibitions. Check specific areas you may consider living in out of state if you want to own a fox.

What Kinds of Foxes Can You Own in Texas?

While Texas does allow domesticated foxes, you cannot go out and catch wild native red foxes or gray foxes to keep as pets in the state.

The most common legal pet fox varieties include:

  • Fennec Fox – The fennec fox is a small fox native to the Sahara Desert. They have oversized ears. These foxes are legal in Texas.
  • Russian Domesticated Fox – Domesticated Russian foxes bred from the Siberian red fox are legal pets in Texas.
  • Arctic Fox – The white or blue arctic fox is another domesticated breed legally owned in Texas.

Some other non-native fox species may also be owned as pets in Texas, but double check legality if seeking an exotic or rare breed.

Fennec foxes, Russian domesticated foxes, and arctic foxes tend to be the most common legal pet foxes, but others may also be permissible. Native Texas foxes cannot be kept as pets.

Proper Care of Pet Foxes

Caring for a pet fox requires specific housing, feeding, enrichment and health care. Here are some basics on properly caring for pet foxes:


  • Large, secure enclosure safe from predators
  • Area for den/nest box they can retreat to
  • Fencing sunk into ground to prevent digging out
  • Proper ventilation and temperature control


  • Quality animal protein like insects, poultry, reptiles
  • Fresh vegetables and some fruits
  • Clean, fresh water


  • Toys for chewing, pouncing, shaking
  • Tunnels and structures to climb on
  • Opportunity for safe digging
  • Visual stimulation

Vet Care:

  • Annual exams and vaccines like rabies
  • Parasite prevention
  • Emergency care for injuries or illness
  • Spay/neuter unless breeding

With proper space, diet, enrichment and veterinary care, pet foxes can thrive in Texas. An owner must commit ample time and resources to care for foxes.

Common Concerns About Owning Foxes

While it can be exciting to own a unique pet like a fox, there are some important considerations to think through before getting one:

  • Cost – Purchasing and properly caring for a fox is expensive. Housing, feeding, vet bills, and other costs add up over a fox’s lifetime.
  • Odor – Foxes have a strong, musky scent from scent glands. Regular cleaning is required to limit fox odor.
  • Noise – Foxes can be very vocal, especially during mating seasons. Be prepared for loud yips, barks, and screams.
  • Escaping – Foxes are adept escape artists. Securing outdoor enclosures and preventing indoor escapes takes vigilance.
  • Digging – Foxes love to dig, which can damage landscaping and floors. Provide an appropriate digging space.
  • Wild Behavior – Foxes are still wild animals at heart. Their behavior may be unpredictable compared to domesticated dog or cat breeds.

While fox ownership can certainly be rewarding, prospective owners should carefully consider the realities of caring for foxes. They require ample time, resources and education to keep properly.

Are any animals illegal to own in Texas?

Yes, there are some animals that are illegal to own as pets in the state of Texas:

  • Big exotic cats (lions, tigers, leopards, etc.)
  • Bears
  • Hyenas
  • Nonhuman primates (monkeys, apes, etc.)
  • Alligators or crocodiles
  • Hybrids between wild animals and domestic dogs or cats (wolfdogs, bengal cats, etc.)

Texas has laws prohibiting the private possession of dangerous wild animals. This includes animals that pose significant risk to public health or safety. Violating these laws by keeping prohibited dangerous animals is a state jail felony.

Some other animals have restrictions on ownership or may be banned in certain cities and counties within Texas, even if legal at the state level. These can include:

  • Venomous snakes and spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Skunks
  • Raccoons
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Wolves
  • Deer

Many municipalities in Texas prohibit owning wildlife, exotic pets, or wild/domestic animal hybrids within city limits. So local city and county statutes must always be checked when considering owning an unusual animal as a pet in Texas.

Texans cannot legally own big exotic carnivores like large cats, bears and hyenas within the state. And a variety of other wild animals have possession restrictions or bans at the local level, even if not prohibited statewide.

Final Words

It is legal to own certain domesticated foxes in Texas, though some individual cities prohibit fox possession. With proper permits and housing, pet foxes can be owned in compliance with state and local exotic animal laws. Careful consideration should be given to meet the complex needs these wild pets require. When kept ethically, pet foxes can be a unique breeding and conservation opportunity in Texas.


Can I own a fox in Houston, Texas?

Yes, it is legal to own a fox in Houston but you must register it with the city and keep it in appropriate housing that contains the fox securely. Certain zoning laws may prohibit foxes in some neighborhoods.

What if my vet refuses to see my pet fox?

You must find a veterinarian willing to treat a pet fox before acquiring one, as they require annual vet care like rabies vaccines. Some vets may refuse exotic animals, so research ahead of getting a fox.

Do I need a permit for a fox in San Antonio?

No, because San Antonio prohibits possession of wild animals including foxes within city limits. So you cannot legally own a fox in San Antonio.

Can I bring a fox from Oklahoma to Texas?

Yes, as long as you follow importation laws and have paperwork showing you legally acquired the fox. Some states require health certificates for imported pets.

What should I feed a pet fox?

Foxes are carnivores requiring a diet of quality animal proteins like poultry, insects, eggs and reptile meat. They also need vegetables, some fruits and fresh water. Commercial exotic animal diets are also available.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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