Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets: Pro’s and Con’s
Do fennec foxes make good pets? They make good pets for certain people. However, fennecs will be unsuitable in some circumstances.
Before getting any pet, it’s important that you make an informative decision and weigh in all the positives and negatives. Any pet should be for life.
What Is A Fennec Fox
The fennec fox, also known as Vulpes Zerda, is the smallest fox in the world. Male fennecs are known as reynards and females – vixens.
Normally, these tiny foxes live in deserts.
Their features have highly evolved to suit the desert environment they live in. Their coat, large ears and kidney functions are just a few of the fennec fox characteristics that have adapted to the harsh desert environment such as
- High temperatures during the day
- Low temperatures during the night
- Little to no water
Fennec foxes live up to 10 years in the wild and up to 14 years in captivity. Yes, these unique looking foxes are also kept as exotic pets. The reason they live longer in captivity is that when kept by humans there is less chance of the foxes being killed by predators or starving to death.
Most people are attracted to own a fennec fox because of the following reasons:
- Size – These foxes are the smallest in the world and don’t grow to be bigger than a regular house cat
- Unique appearance – Probably one of the most noticeable thing about fennec foxes is their ears. These animals have abnormally big, pointy, bat like ears. In addition to that, their coat is a lovely cream/straw color
Read more about fennec fox characteristics here Fennec Fox Characteristics: Is This The Right Pet For You
Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets
As any pet, owning a fennec fox comes with its positives and negatives. Before committing to having this animal as a pet, it’s important that you keep reading to find out – do fennec foxes make good pets.
Furthermore, you need to decide if this is the right choice for you and your circumstances.
Pro’s Of Owning A Pet Fennec Fox
Owning a fennec fox as a pet can be challenging. However, there are many positives to consider and fennecs can bring a lot of joy and enrichment to your life.
These are some of the positives of owning a pet fennec fox:
- Rare Breed
- Unique Appearance
- Playful Personality
- Affordable Diet
Fennec foxes are considered a rare breed as their populations appear to be at risk. The reasons for that include:
- Habitat loss
- Hunted by predators
These foxes don’t pose any threat to people or livestock but unfortunately are slowly disappearing. This makes the fennec fox unique and one of a kind.
If the fennec succeeds in avoiding all the mentioned threats in the wild and live through their natural life, that would be an average of 10 years. However, when kept as a pet they can live up to 14 years! Therefore, by keeping them as a pet, you’d prolonging their life (as long as you provide them with a up to standard care).
Another positive of owning a fennec fox is their appearance. This is probably one of the top reasons people are attracted to this pet.
The fennec fox is easily recognisable and stands out compared to other foxes. Their appearance consist of the following features:
- Ears – Probably one of the most unique of all the fennec fox characteristics is their ears. Fennecs have abnormally large, pointy, bat-like ears. They are covered in darker reddish color on the back and are white on the edges
- Size – The second most noticeable feature is their size. This fox doesn’t grow bigger than a regular house cat which is very appealing to many people
- Coat color – They have a light creamy color coat, black nose and black tip on their tail
Overall, the fennec fox’s appearance is cute and adorable. But what about their personality?
When exploring do fennec foxes make good pets, there is a positive that stands out – their personality.
Fennecs are energetic and love to play and make unique, laughing-like noises whilst playing. Not only that but they can also be goofy and make you laugh all day long.
On the other hand, you can also share a relaxing moment on the coach together.
It’s important to note that these moments might not be the norm and you should learn to understand your fox’s moods. This can be judged by how they are acting. For instance, if you attempt to pick them up and they back into a corner, it means they don’t want to be handled in that moment.
However, this goes for all pets and no animal should be forced into play or affection.
Another positive to having a fennec as a pet is their diet. As they are so small in size, these animals don’t require you to spend large amounts of money on their food.
As a pet, the fennec fox diet consist of the following:
- Mix of dry kibble dog and cat food
- Vegetables and fruit
- Insects as an occasional treat
Read more about fennec fox diet here Fennec Fox Diet: How To Pick The Best Food
It might come as a surprise but fennec foxes can be trained. However, it might take longer than training a dog for instance. You just need to be very patient during the process.
The actual training is similar to that of a dog or a cat.
For instance, if they pee on the floor, you need to straight away move them to the their allocated toilet.
It’s important that you prepare to be patient and to do this repeatedly until they learn.
On the other hand, when your fennec fox does something right, you should use treats and praise to reward that behaviour.
Even if the training is taking longer than expected, you must remember that most fennec foxes can be trained to do the following:
- Walk on a leash
- Potty trained
- Follow simple commands
- Answer to their name
Con’s Of Owning A Fennec Foxes
As any pet, owning a fennec fox can have its negatives. Before getting this animal as a pet, it’s important to get the full picture and have realistic expectations.
Some of negatives of owning a fennec as a pet include:
- Wild Animals
- Vet And Health
- Other Pets And Children
All foxes smell, even if they are as small as the fennec fox. This can be a real dealbreaker for many pet owners.
Although, all animals smell, foxes’ urine smell particularly bad.
As foxes use urine to mark their territory, there isn’t much you can do to stop them doing this.
However, what you can do is cover your furniture with washable covers and clean your floors and cabinets daily.
Some of the bad smell can improve once they are neutered. However, it won’t be fully removed.
The best solution to controlling this issue is to potty training your fennec fox from a young age.
When thinking of the negatives in the discussion do fennec foxes make food pets – some behaviours are definitely worth mentioning.
Even when bred commercially, fennecs are still wild animals. Therefore, you can expect the following behaviours to occur from time to time:
- Foxes can be very destructive such as tearing up your floor, walls, shred your purse, shoes and more. To prevent this behaviour, you need to train them from a young age and set clear boundaries. In addition to that, you can build or purchase them a large enclosure to place outside if you have a yard
- Fennecs can become very nervous and aggressive during breeding and rearing. Like other canines, male fennec foxes mark their territory with urine and become incredibly aggressive towards one another, particularly when competing for females during the mating season. This behaviour can be minimized if you neuter your fennec
It’s important to remember that fennec foxes are wild animals. They won’t behave exactly like cats and dogs when kept as pets.
Fennecs can bond with 1 to 2 people. However, not being around the person they have bonded with can lead to stress, anxiety and other health problems.
Another important point to note is that fennec foxes can easily chew through their leash and once they are loose, it’s nearly impossible to get them back.
If the fennec fox escapes from your home, they will most likely die in the wild as they won’t have the necessary survival skills.
Vet And Health
Another possible set-back in owning this animal is – fennecs are considered exotic pets. Therefore, it might be hard to find a specialized vet in your area. Overall, fennec fox’s health is good. However, as any other pet, they also require a certain degree of vet care. This includes:
- Annual check-ups
- Blood work
- Rabies and distemper vaccines
Although, they will be given a rabies vaccine, there isn’t an officially approved vaccine meant for foxes. For that reason, if they bite a person, the fox will have to be put down.
Another hardship of owning a fennec fox is that they are not legal everywhere in the US.
Owning a fennec fox is legal everywhere in the United States except Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada and Washington.
If you are caught owning a fennec fox illegally, it will be confiscated and then put down. Moreover, your fennec fox will need vet care which you won’t be able to provide if your fennec fox is illegally owned.
If you’re planning of getting a fennec fox as a pet, you should know that it comes with a hefty price tag. You should expect to pay anything between $1500 and $3,500 for a young fennec fox from a reputable breeder.
However, you must be aware that if a breeder is selling a fennec for anything less, it might be a scam.
The fennec fox is a unique exotic pet and the price matches that.
Other Pets And Children
Even when commercially bred, the fennec fox can still be quite unpredictable. Therefore, they might not get along with any other pets you have such as a cat or a dog.
If the fennec is socialized from a young age with the other pet in your house, they are more likely to bond.
However, you should avoid having a fennec fox if you have any prey animals such as birds, rats, hamsters and more.
When it comes to fennec foxes and kids, it’s not recommended to get a fennec fox if you have kids that are 12 years old or younger. This is important, as young kids don’t fully understand boundaries and if they mishandle the fox, it might bite them to protect itself.
Before getting any pet it’s important to have the full picture of the pros and cons. In this article we explored the topic – do fennec foxes make good pets.
As any other house pet, owning a fennec can have its positives and negatives.
However, you should avoid getting a fennec fox as a pet if any of the following applies to you:
- You’re impatient
- Can’t stand bad smells
- Don’t have much spare time on your hands
- Have young kids or prey animals such as birds, hamsters, etc
If you’re thinking of getting a fennec fox as a pet, it’s recommended to visit someone who has a fennec fox. By doing so, you’d be able to see the accommodations, smells and ask questions about the time and effort that goes into looking after a fennec fox.
In addition to that, there are many pet fox groups that you can join on social media.
Finally, the fennec fox is a unique animal – social, energetic and smaller than a regular house cat. They can be a great house pet if provided with the appropriate environment and husbandry.