Russian Fox Experiment

russian fox

When a fox crosses my path, just yards in front of where I stand, I hold my breath and stay as still as possible, hopeful its curiosity will outweigh its fear of me.  But after the fox stops and turns to face me eye-to-eye, he eventually prances off, bounding effortlessly to the far reaches a neighbor’s backyard where it is dark and free of human presence. 

The fox is shy and does not trust me.  I get it. However there is a genetics program that is in its 58th year in Russia (Siberia) where foxes are domesticated and are sold for $9.000 as pets.  These foxes are docile, playful and cute as buttons.  The story about their domestication is a fascinating one and begins with Dmitry Belyaev, a Russian geneticist, who decided to study domestication by selecting a wild animal to tame through selective breeding.

This new “breed” of foxes have floppy ears, mixed coats, and curlier tails.  In addition, they seek out human attention, wagging their tails and licking humans to show their 1) eagerness to interact and 2) affection for humans.  What is so cool about this genetics study is that the scientists and researchers were able to create a domesticated breed of foxes in just 10 years. Now 70-80% of the foxes born within the genetics study are considered “elite” or domesticated.  Now if I can just find my way to Siberia, all of my fox dreams will come true.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/domesticated-foxes-genetically-fascinating-terrible-pets

 

7 thoughts on “Russian Fox Experiment

  1. My favorite line is, “hopeful it’s curiosity will outweigh its fear of me.” This quote speaks to me…because I feel like this could represent so many things in life–animals in the wild, students in our classrooms, parents in our hallways, the way we feel about trying new foods and experiences. I hope curiosity always outweighs the fear for the things we want to accomplish in this life. Thank you for that perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My favorite line is, “hopeful its curiosity will outweigh its fear of me.” This quote speaks to me…because I feel like this could represent so many things in life–animals in the wild, students in our classrooms, parents in our hallways, the way we feel about trying new foods and experiences. I hope curiosity always outweighs the fear for the things we want to accomplish in this life. Thank you for that perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have heard about this work and also imagine a quick trip to Siberia. It does make me wonder about what we could accomplish in 10 years in other fields with that much attention and study.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Favorite line: hopeful its curiosity will outweigh its fear of me.
    I can feel the moment of balance between you and the fox. Beautifully stated. That line between fear and curiosity is present for all of us in so many ways!
    Also, how have you not found a way to secure one of these foxes?! Right up your alley 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I knew you loved foxes, but I didn’t realize you wanted them to approach you with wagging tails and affectionate licks. Thispost adds a whole new layer to your fox fandom! My favorite phrase: “docile, playful and cute as buttons”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had to click through and read the article. Boris, the domesticated fox, is ADORABLE–but I wouldn’t want him peeing in my coffee. So I think the fox is out as a pet for me. They are so beautiful though and on the rare occasions I’ve seen them in the wild, I’ve felt that I’ve witnessed something very special.

    Liked by 1 person

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