Red Fox Fur Mutations:
As we mentioned in Episode 4, red foxes can come in a large variety of colors. These changes in color happen when the genes responsible for fur colorations get mixed.
At times, these fur colorations can be switched up in nature, so you can spot red foxes in shades of black, silver, brown, gold and other odd colors. Of course, true red foxes will always have a white tip at the end of their tail.
So, what about that pink fox that Swift mentioned in the video? Yes, she is a red fox, too. Technically, she is a “pink champagne” fox, and the result of humans intentionally cross breeding foxes with different colored fur until they get a desired fur color. Originally, this started over three centuries ago for the fur trade. People desired exotic colored fur from familiar animals, and this seemed to be a simple, yet time consuming way to do this. A general knowledge of genetics helped this industry as well.
Over the last three centuries, several dozen fur mutations were created, some of which are still around today and some that have since gone extinct (or rather, breeding that particular fur mutation has been discontinued). So the pink champagne fox, while somewhat rare, can still be found whereas the Radium Fox has been extinct since the 1940s after its inception in the mid-1930s.
In more recent years, now that the fur industry isn’t as popular as it used to be, breeders have turned to domestication. That’s right, some game farms and breeders offer foxes as pets. I should point out that in several states, this isn’t legal and those that do allow it, you might be required to have a permit or license to own one and you could be subject to state inspections to ensure the animal is being well cared for, so make sure you read up on your state’s legal guidelines before google searching for pet foxes! I should also point out that foxes aren’t the best pets in the world, but that’s a subject for a later post.
Anyway, for more information about fox fur phases and mutations, check out Living With Foxes’ page on the subject. They have a ton of info and awesome photos.