The gray fox originates from the desert southwestern United States and was living some 3.5 million years ago, according to fossil records. Today, wild populations are found throughout much of the nation, as well as in captivity where they are bred for their fur coat and the exotic pet trade.
These small mammals typically weigh from eight to 15 pounds. In some parts of their native habitats they dominate the red fox. More recently, though, the red fox has become more dominant in the eastern states while the gray fox is still more common in the west.
"Malibu" was born in captivity and purchased to be kept as a pet. When her male mate was killed by a native coyote her owner made the decision to surrender her to Black Pine, having been unable to locate another male mate to purchase and worried for Mailbu's long-term safety and well-being. She arrived at Black Pine in September 2012 and was quickly introduced to "Ozzie", an arctic marble (red) fox.
Foxes have grown in popularity within the exotic pet trade because of their beauty, curious and playful nature, and similarity to dogs. They are, however, very smelly and will continuously scent mark their home by urinating and defecating often and in obvious places. They are often destructive and skittish, nervous animals, so do not do well in people's homes around other high-energy animals, or children. Foxes often kill cats, too, so can pose a danger to both fellow "pets" and keepers.