A man was walking through the forest in Pripyat, Ukraine when a very curious and playful fox decided to tag along. Pripyat is an abandoned city on the northern Ukraine border that, according to Wikipedia, was founded in February 1970 as the ninth city in the Soviet Union to be part of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It wasn't until 1979, however, that it was proclaimed a city with almost 50,000 residents. It was only seven years later in 1986 that the city was abandoned because of the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl. Though the city remains abandoned, the levels of radiation present have greatly reduced since the time of the nuclear disaster, and the area is considered safe to visit.
In the video below, a man interacts with a fox on his walk through the Pripyat area. While it is delightful to assume that this is a wild fox that is genuinely curious about his human visitor, it is also possible that this is a domesticated fox. According to the Popular Science website, the domestication of foxes began in 1959 with a Soviet geneticist named Dmitry K. Belyaev who wanted to experiment with foxes to better understand the process of domestication. Now almost sixty years later, his research is being carried on in a program at The Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk, Siberia.
What researchers ended up finding was that foxes actually make great pets as long as you adopt a legitimately domesticated fox and have the extra time and energy to give them the attention they need! Eventually, they were able to breed a domesticated fox that acted almost exactly like the modern domesticated dog, but this creature had 30-35 generations of selective breeding that led to these desirable traits. Because they are highly adaptable and very intelligent, foxes do a wonderful job of learning over time to communicate with humans similarly to how dogs have learned to recognize and respond to commands. However, this definitely doesn't mean that pet foxes are for anyone and everyone. They are very energetic and intelligent creatures and need tons of mental stimulation and physical playtime. Even further, the cost to acquire a pet fox is $8,000 (if you're having one sent from Siberia to the United States).
We at SF Globe loved seeing this adorable fox show its playful nature, regardless of whether or not its domesticated or wild. Do you think this fox is a pet or a chance visitor? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!