A tame fox which was rescued as a baby cub now thinks he is a DOG after being raised like a domestic pet – and even goes for walks on a LEAD.
Owner Emma D’Sylva, 25, adopted Todd when he was just four-months old and looked after him at her home, which she shares with two other dogs.
And the 11-month-old fox has spent so much time around the other pooches – he has started to behave like them.
Todd goes for walks with Emma’s pet Labradors Sky and Oakley causing other dog-walkers to double-take when they spot the animal trotting through the local park.
He also sleeps in a kennel in his enclosure in the garden, plays with dog toys and even wags his tail when it’s feeding time.
Emma, from Stanfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., says: “Todd has been captive-bred so he has never been in the wild.
“I’ve had him since he was about four months old because his previous owners couldn’t look after him any more.
“I get people coming over to me asking if he is a fox and if they can stroke him.”
“He was a bit crazy when he first came to me last year but now he has a really strong bond with me and he will walk on a lead.
“He is very playful with me. He will run up to me wagging his tail when I go to feed him and he will roll over to have his belly tickled.”
“He will come into the house but he has got a purpose built enclosure and he much prefers being outside.
“We got him a little plastic kennel in his enclosure with blankets which is similar to a dog bed.
“He is similar to a dog but he is a bit more hyperactive. He gets on with my two dogs, and wants to play with them all the time.”
“He tries to do what the dogs do but I can’t let him off the lead because he’s deaf so I can’t shout him to come back.
“At first he was bonkers but he is getting more used to being in the company of other people now.
“If people or dogs come up to him in the park he will lie down at first and freeze but after a few seconds he will sniff around the dogs or sit patiently.”
Todd also lives with Emma’s menagerie of other creatures at her three-bedroomed house including a skunk, a raccoon, lizards and snakes.
She takes some of her 40 pets into schools and care homes to enable children and the elderly to interact with a range of captive-bred animals.
Emma, who lives with her partner Steve Johnson, 34, added: “Todd went out on his first school visit the other week and the children really enjoyed stroking him while he was in my arms.
“He’s really getting used to things now and I’m looking forward to letting more and more people meet him.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said there were no legal restrictions on people keeping animals and pets in England and Wales as long as they were treated well.
He added: “Foxes have not been domesticated and a fox in captivity would have the same needs as in the wild.
“Anyone who keeps these animals is under a legal obligation to meet their needs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”