An around 9-month-old red fox has become a member of a farmer's family. The fox follows the daily routine of the family. For example, it follows the bedtime and wake-up time of the family. The fox is not kept in chains. Rather it roams around the house freely. The fox also goes to the market and shops with the farmer named Ismail. Sometimes, the fox sulks. Such an unusual friendship between a fox and a human being is seen at the house of Ismail at Char Pagla village in Kamalnagar upazila of Lakshmipur.
That is why Ismail named the fox Bondhu (friend).
Ismail said, "All the members of my family take care of the fox as if it is one of us. If it becomes sick, we provide it with medical treatment. We want the fox to stay with us as long as it wants."
Ismail found it about eight months ago in a hole along with two other cubs in a nearby village.
"I brought them home and started feeding. When the cubs grew up, I realized that these are the babies of a red fox," said Ismail.
"Unfortunately two of them died. Only Bandhu survived," Ismail added.
Sometimes at night, the parents of the fox come to the house to take away the fox. But it does not go with them.
"Rather it takes shelter in our laps," Ismail said.
When our correspondent visited the house recently, the members of the house said that the fox eats cooked rice, vegetables, ruti (bread) and fruits. It takes bath every day and likes to swim in the pond.
The children of the house play different games with the fox.
Saifullah Helal, a neigbour of Ismail, said, "I have never heard or seen that a fox behaves like a domestic animal. This is really unbelievable."
"Ducks and hens usually run away if they see any fox. But this fox is a good friend of the chickens in the house. It guards the chickens. Dogs do not come to the house fearing the fox," Helal added.
Kamalnagar Upazila Livestock Officer Dr Akhtaruzzaman said, "Fox bites cause rabies. However, it is really humane to raise a fox cub with so much care and love. If possible, it should be handed over to the forest department."