One of Instagram’s latest stars somewhat bucks the social media trend. After all, she never posts any selfies, boasts about her incredible life or shares any amusing memes. That said, she can afford to be different, as she’s practically too adorable to resist.
Undoubtedly thanks at least in part to her overwhelming cuteness, Rylai the white marble red fox has taken the internet somewhat by storm since her owner, Jennifer, debuted her fluffy new acquisition online. Somewhat geekily, the cub was named in tribute to a character in the video game Dota 2.
The Southern U.S.-based 29-year-old obtained Rylai – who was born at the beginning of April 2015 – from a USDA-accredited breeder. And Jennifer also had to acquire a license allowing her to legally possess the creature.
Jennifer admits to having had previous contact with unusual animals as well as being well practiced when it comes to training dogs. And both these credentials are likely to stand her in good stead when dealing with her cute new white pet. For others yearning to get their own Rylai equivalent, though, Jennifer recommends substantial prior preparation.
As Rylai’s Facebook page states, “First, you have to check your local and state laws regarding keeping foxes as pets. Laws vary from state to state and sometimes city to city. In many cases one will require permits/paperwork to own one.” The advice concludes, “Be absolutely sure that it is legal for you to keep a pet fox before getting one.”
Jennifer is also upfront on Facebook about the fact that keeping a fox happy and healthy can cost a bit of money. Just like other pets, domesticated foxes need food, medicines and playthings, while vet bills and charges for licenses all add up as well.
Jennifer herself engaged in considerable fact-finding before acquiring Rylai – something she then did only when the time was right. And when it came down to it, as Jennifer told BuzzFeed, she picked her new companion because of how “stinkin’ cute” she is. Looking at these photos, it’s hard to disagree.
It’s also easy to see why Jennifer wanted to show off her adorable new pet on social media. It’s a move, in fact, that has earned Rylai quite an internet fanbase, with her Instagram followers totaling over 78,000 just a few weeks after her pictures were posted.
Despite being a red fox, Rylai is notable for her snowy “white marble” coat – an attribute that is the upshot of selective breeding. The cub’s striking blue eyes, meanwhile, will apparently take on a darker hue once she is around two months old.
By just a month after her birth, however, Rylai’s baby teeth will have grown in. And she won’t be tiny forever, either; the cute cub will eventually weigh as much as 15 pounds – which will make holding her for Instagram shots that wee bit more difficult for Jennifer.
In spite of those sharp little teeth, though, Rylai wouldn’t be capable of surviving out in the wild. Her breeding means she doesn’t possess the typical caution that wild foxes have around people. This little cub, then, would be at risk from hunters and other hazards associated with humans.
As for day-to-day goings-on, Rylai has been spending a lot of time training for life as a bigger – but surely scarcely less adorable – domesticated fox companion. She’s been taught to lap water from out of a bowl and is getting used to walking while attached to a lead.
Naturally, though, she also enjoys a nap from time to time, as these pictures demonstrate to rather gorgeous effect.
Rylai is additionally being taught how to use a litterbox – something that, as Jennifer has pointed out on reddit, is “near impossible” to do with total success. “Expect accidents,” she added.
In the wild, red foxes may eat anything from smaller animals like rabbits to garbage, but Rylai’s diet is carefully planned for her. She eats top-of-the-range dog food along with “an organic puree of chicken/turkey with fruits and veggies.”
Rylai has also been taught to sit on command. Still, this fox may not always be so obedient once she grows up. In fact, it’s likely that she’ll become prone to more naturally boisterous behavior.
Wondering what she sounds like, by the way? Well, according to Jennifer, sometimes she purrs, other times she barks, and now and then she emits a sound akin to that of a “whining monkey.”
There are, however, drawbacks to owning an adorable cub such as Rylai. Like all foxes, she secretes a musk that will only become more potent as she grows up. Furthermore, it’s trickier to find a pet sitter who knows how to look after a fox properly.
However, the pleasure and companionship that Rylai has provided so far most likely makes all this worthwhile. And of course the considerable cuteness factor helps, too.
A nice final thought to leave with is that with domesticated red foxes like Rylai living for as long as some 15 years, there could well be many more adorable snapshots of her life to come.