Friday, August 23, 2019

The Fennec Fox, Intriguing and Exotic

The very social fennec fox makes its home in colonies of up to ten throughout the Sahara Desert and east to Sinai and Arabia. Weighing in at 1.5 to 3.5 pounds, this petite little canid is from 9 to 16 inches long with an additional tail length of 7 to 12 inches.

Photo:  A-Z Animals
Yvonne N

Having adapted to life in the desert, the fennec fox has the longest ears of any fox. Tiny blood vessels in their ears run close to the surface of the skin allowing the outside air to cool the blood and reduce body temperature. These bat-like ears can grow from 3.9 to 5.9 inches in length and also provide sensitive hearing to detect prey.

Photo:  A-Z Animals
Millie Bond

Their lightly colored fur provides great insulation and the color reflects the sun to slow body temperature both cold and hot. A thick coating of fur on the bottom of their feet protects the surface from the scorching sand while providing an additional grip on soft sand.

Photo:  Floridapfe/Getty Images
via The Spruce Pets

Being highly social, family groups can be comprised of up to ten individuals, and there have been instances of complex dens providing housing for multiple families.

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Dens are dug with their long, sharp, curved claws, providing multiple entrances and chambers often near established vegetation and root systems. These underground communities are referred to as a skulk or a leash, and provide each individual mating pair with their own living area. Lining their own burrows with soft materials, including fur and feathers, provide comfort and warmth while sleeping during the day.

Photo:  San Diego Zoo

Diet includes grasses, root, berries, and fruit. Being nocturnal, the night is often spent hunting also for insects, small reptiles, and rodents both in and on the sand to add to their dining pleasure.

Photo:  A-Z Animals
Millie Bond

Fennec foxes can be kept as pets but require educated and responsible owners to provide the necessary diet, environment, and protection.


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