FENNEC FOX (Vulpes zerda)


Where can I find fennec foxes in the wild? 
   Fennec foxes are found across the Sahara Desert region of North Africa, extending from Mauritania in the West to north Sudan and Egypt in the East as well as northern Saudi Arabia. This canid is especially adapted for life in sandy deserts. It’s very small size and disproportionately large ears help it survive in a very hot climate. These large ears are useful for radiating heat and may also help it "zero-in" on its prey. The furred soles of its feet also protect it when walking on hot sands. The Fennec Fox is able to withstand the extreme heat of the desert day by remaining submerged in a burrowed, grass-lined tunnel, 3 feet deep and up to 31 feet in length.


What do fennec foxes eat?

Fennec foxes eat plant material, small rodents, birds and their eggs, lizards and insects, such as the harmful migratory locust. Laboratory studies suggest that Fennecs can survive without free water for an indefinite period of time. Plants are also an important part of their diet since they may be an important source of water. Some food is apparently obtained by digging, as evidenced by the pronounced scratching and raking habit of captive fennec fox.


Do fennec foxes live in groups?

Although poorly studied, fennecs have been observed in groups of up to 10 individuals but the relationship of members of these groups is unknown. Males mark territories with urine and become aggressive during the breeding season. Females defend their nest site which males do not enter. Fennecs breed in Jan.-Feb., rebreeding if a litter is lost. Pups first exit the den when four weeks old and leave the den at three months.  At birth, these little foxes are barely an ounce in weight and are covered with a light peach fuzz. Their skin is charcoal gray where the dark markings will be in their hair when they are adults. At birth, their ears are folded over just like domestic dog puppies and are sealed shut just like their eyes. The tiny ears stand up at about 2 weeks. As kits, you can see the blood vessels throughout their ears and it is thought that their blood circulating through the ears is cooled - thereby helping to dissipate body heat during the hot part of the day.


How much do fennec foxes weigh?

Fennecs are the smallest fox, with distinctive large ears and a cream-colored coat with a black-tipped tail. They weigh 2-3 pounds with a body length of up to 17 inches and tails an additional 8 inches long.


Are fennec foxes endangered?

        Fennec foxes are considered least concern by the IUCN Red List with a stable population. Regionally fennecs are trapped and sold as pets, and extensively hunted for pelts by indigenous people of the Sahara. In addition, they are exported for the international pet trade.