Fennec Fox Care – Everything You Need To Know
Fennec foxes are unique animals that can also be kept as exotic pets. However, fennec fox care is something you must research in detail before getting this animal.
What Is A Fennec Fox
Fennec foxes are the smallest of all the fox species. These nocturnal mammals live in the deserts. Furthermore, they are native to the Sahara desert and some parts of North Africa. To cool themselves from the high desert temperatures, they use their big ears.
The most important fennec fox characteristics to remember are the following:
- An adult fennec fox can reach 9 to 16 inches in length
- They weigh 1.5 to 3.5 pounds
- Fennec fox’s lifespan is up to 14 years in captivity and up to 10 years in the wild
Fennec Fox’s appearance consists of:
- A coat that’s a solid cream color
- Tail with black tips
- Large pointy ears
- Thick fur on the body and on their feet. This is designed to keep them warm during the cold desert nights
Usually, fennec foxes are found in the wild. Although, they can be kept as pets, it’s important to remember that they still have wild animal instincts even when bred in captivity.
Fennec Fox Behaviours And Personality
If you are planning on getting this exotic pet, you must provide them with the appropriate fennec fox care if you want to raise a happy and healthy animal.
To care for them properly, first you must know what they are like as pets compared to in the wild.
Fennec Foxes In The Wild
Fennec foxes in the wild are:
- Pact animals
- Cautious, easily startled
Fennec Foxes As Pets
- Fennec fox are nocturnal animals, so you should expect them to be most active during the night. However, in some cases fennec foxes can adapt to your schedule
- They are not very cuddly. However, fennec foxes will allow their owners to pick them up. They just won’t enjoy being held for a long period of time
- These animals have high energy levels especially during the night. You need to find a way to manage this and provide them with enough space to be active and run around
- Fennec foxes can also be trained to walk on a leash. By taking your fennec for a walk, you’d be helping them use up their energy and you’ll also be bonding with them
- Not very social as pets – In the wild fennec foxes travel in a pact. However, as pets you should respect fennec fox’s independence. They will enjoy the occasional play with their human, however they will also want to play on their own
- Cautious – Fennec foxes are naturally cautious and they get startled easily. Although, they are not aggressive, they can still bite if cornered or threatened
- Marking their territory – Another fox behaviour is marking their territory by peeing. This is especially true for unneutered males
- Active – Fennec foxes are very energetic animals, so you should expect them to play and run around
Although, fennec fox care is not easy, these animals are unique. They make great companions and can bring you a lot of joy.
Fennec Fox House
An important part of fennec fox care is providing them with adequate housing.
As mentioned previously, fennec foxes are desert animals, therefore they have specific requirements to be healthy and happy pets.
The following are fennec fox care requirements when it comes to their living environment:
- Minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit – As mentioned earlier, fennecs are desert animals. Therefore, they need to live in place that can provide that temperature
- Outside enclosure – Fennecs are active animals. If you can provide them with an outside enclosure, that will help them use up their energy and exercise
Fennec Fox Housing – Outisde Enclosure
If you can provide your fennec with an outside enclosure or a pen, the following is recommended:
- Material – The outdoor pen should be made of wood and wire screening
- Flooring – You must ensure that the flooring is either concrete or wood decking The reason for that is fennec foxes love digging! These little diggers can create holes that are 20ft deep. Furthermore, you should cover the flooring with a layer of dirt to provide them with more natural environment
If you have an outside area or a yard, you can let your fennec run around. However, you must ensure that you have a secure fence that’s at least 5 feet tall to prevent your fox from escaping.
Always supervise your fennec as if they escape, it will be almost impossible to catch them because of their impressive speed.
Fennec Fox Housing – Inside Cage
On the other hand, if you’re going to keep your fennec fox inside, keep the following in mind:
- Fennec foxes have a lot of energy, so they will jump on furniture and might break stuff. However, this behaviours is not unusual for other pets aswell
- Housing – When you’re not in or can’t supervise them, you should ensure your fennec fox has adequate housing. It’s recommended that their cage is at least 5 feet wide, 5 feet deep and 2 feet high as this will provide them with enough room to roam around. Even better cage will be a multi-level cage like the one below
Picking the right housing is an essential part of fennec fox care. This is where they will spend a big portion of their time, so it must be suitable and meet their needs.
Fennec Fox Diet
The other very important part of your fennec fox care is their diet.
Before talking about what you should feed your pet fox, first you must have an understanding of what they eat in their natural habitat.
In the wild, 80% of fennec foxes’ diet consists of meats such as rodents, birds, etc. However, they also eat plants, insects and fruits.
In captivity fennec fox’s diet should consist of:
- Dry kibble dog and cat food mixed with vegetables and fruits. It’s recommended to feed your fox a commercial wild diet such as the ones they feed them in zoos
- Your fennec’s diet should also include taurine which is an amino acid – a key ingredient for your fox’s health
If you want to learn more about what to feed your fennec fox click here Fennec Fox Diet: How To Pick The Best Food
How Often Should I Feed My Fennec Fox
In the wild, fennec foxes will eat whatever food they come across regardless if they are hungry. It’s important to know this, so you control how much your fox eats and don’t allow them to eat endlessly as that can lead to obesity and other health problems.
It’s recommended to feed your fennec fox twice a day. In addition to that you should provide them with a bowl of clean water.
Fennec foxes have adapted to life in the deserts to the point where they get most of their water from the food they eat. However, when kept as pets, they should always be provided with fresh water.
Fennec Fox Health
Part of fennec fox care is knowing what health issues they are predisposed to.
Before getting fennec fox as a pet, you must ensure there is an exotic vet in your area. The reason for that is – fennecs need to be routinely vaccinated for the following:
- Canine distemper virus
In addition to the mentioned vaccines, you need to be aware of the following common health issues that fennec foxes might develop:
- Kidney, liver and heart disease
- Skin infections
- Parasites such as worms, mites and fleas
Most of these disease can be prevented by providing them with the appropriate fennec fox case that meets their needs such as:
- Regular vet visits
- Nutritious diet
- Regular exercise
House Training – Can You Train A Fennec Fox
Although, fennec foxes can be trained, it might take longer than training a dog. Even when bred in captivity these animals are not as domesticated as dogs. Therefore, you have to be very patient during the training process.
The actual training is similar to that of a dog or a cat.
For instance, if they do something they shouldn’t such as pee on the floor, you should straight away move them to the right place they should pee. Furthermore, you should be prepared to do this repeatedly until they learn.
On the other hand, when your fennec fox does something right, you should use treats to reward that behaviour.
Even if the training is taking longer than expected, you must remember that many fennec foxes are potty trained and even walk on a leash.
Fennec fox care is complex and it’s important that you first understand the animals habits in the wild. If you have set your mind on getting a fennec fox as a pet you must provide them with the following basics:
- Nutritious diet
- Appropriate housing
- Exotic animals vet visits and vaccinations
- Inform yourself on the possible health issues and their symptoms
Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets
If you are considering getting a fennec fox, you might wonder if they make good pets. As any other animal, there are pros and cons to getting a fennec fox.
The following are some of the positives and negatives to consider.
- They make great companions
- Can be funny and playful
- Active and love exercise
- Cute and fluffy
- Unique pets
- They can smell bad due to difficulty with potty training and marking their territory
- Fennec foxes are wild animals. Therefore, it won’t be the same as domesticated dogs or cats
- It might be difficult to find an exotic vet in your area
- Vet bills might be higher as they are classed as exotic animals