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A neighbor on a local community message board is trying to locate the owner of this stray "dog" pictured below (Raleigh North Carolina area). She was reportedly a little timid at first but became super playful in a few seconds. The kids love her but their dog seemed to really dislike her, but later also became friends.

I say this is a wild red fox.

Neighbors are arguing that this is not a fox but some type of terrier or some other arcane breed I cannot recall.

Is there any plausible breed this could be, i.e. not a fox? Any suggestions?

  • Related sister site question Foxes in the living room - what causes this behavior? – James Jenkins Jan 23 '17 at 13:58
  • These red foxes are all over the place where I'm at, about 2.5 hours away from Raleigh (Wilmington, NC). It's no wonder the dog in the house doesn't like him. The dog knows it's not his kind and has hesitation of welcoming it to his "pack". But what a beautiful little creature! – Christy B. Jun 2 '17 at 17:00
  • This is probably a hoax. That picture doesn't look quite right, pretty sure it's been photoshopped. – Stig Tore Sep 25 '18 at 7:13
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Assuming this isn't a joke, that is a fox. If you want to make absolutely sure, and assuming you can check safely, check the eyes. Foxes have slit pupils when they're contracted, like a cat's. Dogs always have rounded pupils.

Since this is a wild animal, however, do not handle it, and those who have interacted with it should possibly seek medical treatment as foxes can carry serious diseases such as rabies.

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    That's a Red Fox, we see these regularly (as wild animals) here in Europe. While it might look docile here, they can turn nasty in an instant, not to mention the fleas/ticks/diseases that come along with wild animals. Saying that, it's possible that this one may have been raised by humans as a pet. – user8045 Jan 5 '17 at 8:52
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    I would say it is very likely that this fox was raised as a pet. Foxes are very wary of humans by nature, and will flee to avoid contact. There is an old saying "If you see a fox in the daylight, it is probably sick". That fox appears to be healthy. Finding the owner can be tricky, because it is illegal to keep a fox as a pet in NC: blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2015/06/… – jalynn2 Jan 5 '17 at 17:32
  • I'd be careful because it's likely never been to a vet because of it being an illegal pet. Any vet would've reported it. Just saying, if the Fox is found, which will be difficult to do, make sure the other dog in the house is it's on all vaccinations. – Christy B. Jun 2 '17 at 17:04

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