Marble Fox: Your Questions Answered

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: December 18, 2020
Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: December 18, 2020


What is a marble fox? Do they make good pets? Are marble Arctic foxes the same as marble foxes? A reader recently asked these questions, so we got to work and found the answers. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Marble Fox?

Marble foxes aren’t a naturally occurring species. Instead, they’re the offspring of red and silver foxes purposefully bred by humans. Other names for the animal include “Canadian marble fox,” and “Arctic marble fox.”

A marble fox running through the snow.
Marble foxes are the human-bred offspring of red and silver foxes.

What Makes Them Special?

Primarily, it’s the fur — their thick, gorgeous, coveted fur. Secondly, they’re delightfully clever animals.

Beautiful Fur

As their name suggests, marble fox coats are reminiscent of stone marble: mostly white with delicate streaks of gray, black, or tan artistically woven throughout.

Scientifically speaking, their coloration is a genetic mutation known as a “color phase.” The highlight hue typically run down the spine and across the face. Many look like they’re wearing old-fashioned burglar masks.

A marble fox standing near a hole in the ground with its tongue out.
The marble fox’s coloration is a genetic mutation known as “color phase.”

Cunning Intelligence

Their second calling card is intelligence. After all, there’s a reason we say “sly as a fox!” 

To keep them happy and healthy, use puzzles. If you’re lucky, they’ll spend time playing with the games instead of plotting ways to nab things from the house!

Do Marble Foxes Make Good Pets?

Foxes are popular “exotic pets,” but they’re illegal to keep in 35 states. However, folks in the following jurisdictions can legally own foxes:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

But just because you can have a pet fox doesn’t mean you should have a pet fox.

Cautions

People with cats and small dogs shouldn’t get foxes. They get on like Hamilton and Burr — terribly! Never, never, ever put a kitten near a marble fox. Chickens are also untenable yard partners.

Needs

Before welcoming a marble fox into your home, do the research — and then do it again! Living with one is vastly different than living with a dog or cat. For instance, you don’t need a large, enclosed outdoor pen with a roof and three-story tower for the average family pet — but for a fox it’s a must. They enjoy straw, dirt, and hiding places for playtime as well. 

Activity and lots of attention are also on on the marble fox must-have list. If these needs aren’t met, they will get destructive.

A marble fox crouching near the snow-covered ground.
Having a pet fox is vastly different than a having pet dog or cat, and one should do their research before welcoming a pet marble fox into their home.

Bonding and Buying

The first six months are critical bonding times for foxes, and it’s best to find one as young as possible. It could mean the difference between a successful and fraught relationship. Foxes are typically born in April, so start contacting breeders in March. 

According to owners, talking to them incessantly during the baby bonding period goes a long way. They learn your voice, which strengthens the relationship.

Here’s another marble fox tip: never spend more than $600 on one!

kit fox emerging from burrow
It is important to bond with a pet fox within the first six months of ownership to establish a bond.

Litter Training

Believe it or not, foxes can be litter trained. It will take much longer than it does for cats, which seem to instinctively understand that “the sandbox is for peeing.” Prepare to work on it for months with marble foxes. But once they get it, they get it!

Marble Fox Nature

Spaying and neutering foxes is a good idea. However, unlike dogs and cats, they will continue to mark their territory post-procedure.

Another difference between traditional pets and foxes is predictability — or a lack thereof. We learn our dogs’ and cats’ patterns because they establish daily routines. Their reactions are uniform and predictable, which allows us to plan for their comfort and ours.

But marble Foxes — like all wild foxes — are famously unpredictable. One day they may respond positively to a given stimulus and reject it the next. 

Things to Understand Before Getting a Fox

  1. If you’re in search of a cuddle buddy, marble foxes aren’t the answer. Yes, they have personalities — and are impressively independent — but they’re not super affectionate. Many don’t even like to be touched.
  2. Even if they bond with you, foxes will run away if given the opportunity. As such, quality enclosures are essential.
  3. Foxes cannot be punished like dogs and cats. Attempting to do so could end in disaster.
  4. Scent sensitive? If so, you may want to think twice about living with a marble fox. They smell way worse than dogs. Their stench is on par with skunk stank. 
  5. Foxes like to dig and burrow in holes to escape the heat.
A captive marble fox sitting on a tree stump.
Even once a bond is formed, a marble fox will run away at the first opportunity.

Marble Fox FAQ

What Are Baby Foxes Called?

Like all fox newborns, babies are called kits.

What’s a Marble Fox’s Lifespan?

They usually live for 10 to 15 years in captivity.

How Much Do Marble Foxes Weigh?

Marble foxes weigh between 6 and 20 pounds.

What’s the Main Difference Between Foxes and Wolves?

Foxes and wolves belong to the same taxonomic family: Canidae. So while they share genetic similarities, differences abound. For example, foxes are smaller than wolves. Also, wolves hunt in packs whereas foxes go it alone.

What Do Marble Foxes Eat?

Foxes eat red meat, poultry, veggies, fruits, and some dog foods. They love sweets, but most owners advise limiting them to a once-a-month treat.

Is it OK to Chain Them?

Some dogs can tolerate being chained up outside. Foxes cannot.

Do Marble Foxes Bark?

Yes, some bark like dogs. However, it’s a slightly different sound that’s often described as “more wild.”