Two silver foxes whose bodies were found on a main Ħaż-Żebbuġ road this morning didn’t look neglected, an exotic pet shop owner who sells these kind of foxes has said.
“Judging from the photo, they didn’t look neglected or that they died of hunger,” Nicholas Delia, who runs the Rodent Kingdom & Exotics store, told Lovin Malta. “They looked healthy and domesticated.”
Delia has been selling foxes for years but couldn’t confirm as a fact whether the ones who were found dead on Mdina Road had originated from his store.
He said this incident shouldn’t be used to generalise the behaviour of all pet foxes, pointing out that accidents and mistakes occur with all kinds of pets.
“If one dog runs away, it doesn’t mean all dogs will. I’ve been selling foxes for five to six years now; it could be that something happened to some of them but no one took a photo.”
The photo also sparked a debate on exotic pets in general, with several people arguing on social media that foxes shouldn’t be raised as pets, particularly since they aren’t endemic to Malta.
However, from Delia’s point of view, there’s nothing wrong with raising a fox as a pet if you have the necessary space for them to roam.
“Foxes are scavengers and will eat practically anything; it’s easier to raise a fox than a dog or a cat.”
“Foxes aren’t included in Malta’s list of prohibited animals and if some people think they’re dangerous, I remind them that fox terriers can kill them. They also weigh ten kilos, much less than Rottweilers, Alsatians and Huskies.”
He also noted that foxes are double-coated, meaning they shed their hair in the heat and regrow it in the winter, making them adaptable to different temperatures.
“I have no problem with people disagreeing that foxes shouldn’t be kept in cages, but I have a problem with people insinuating things which aren’t true. Once people saw that I had acquired a hairless guinea pig and thought it was a micro-hippo!”
Besides foxes, Delia sells a range of unusual pets such as wallabies, genets, possums, and all kinds of reptiles.
He said several people in Malta are interested in acquiring exotic pets and that one of his most common requests is for monkeys, which he can’t sell because it’s against the law.
Dalli described his job as a passion.
“People don’t say that I take care of my animals instead of going out. If I was just interested in money, I’d be doing something else. It’s a hobby that turned into a job.”