13 Fennec Fox Facts You Need To Know
The fennec fox stands out from all other fox species. If you are considering the fennec as a pet, knowing the top fennec fox facts can help make up your mind.
All foxes are beautiful, however the fennec fox’s uniqueness is undeniable. Their petite size, beautiful cream coat and big, bat-like ears makes them an attractive exotic pet to many people.
However, there is much more to this beautiful animal. In this article, we are going to look at 10 most interesting fennec fox facts.
1. Desert Animals
Most foxes live in the forest. However, the tiny fennec fox’s natural habitat is the deserts. To be more precise, they inhabit the Sahara Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. However, the largest population is located in northern Morocco regions.
Living in such extreme conditions, the fennec’s features have evolved to suit the desert environment. Their coat, large ears and kidney functions are just a few of the fennec fox characteristics that have adapted to the desert environment of high and low temperatures and little to no water.
Fennec foxes are nocturnal animals. They sleep during the day and do all their hunting during the night. Being nocturnal is how these animals have adapted to the extreme desert conditions.
This way of life not only helps them stay cool in the high desert temperatures, but also keeps them safe from predators during the day.
3. They Can Live On Little To No Water
One of the most impressive fennec fox facts is that these creatures can survive on little to no water for long periods of time.
Such as many other desert animals, the fennec has adapted to living in the extreme conditions where water is a luxury and it’s hard to find.
Usually, they will get their water from the vegetation they eat. However, how can they survive with such tiny amounts of water?
Well, their kidneys have developed in a way to ensure that there is minimal water loss in their day to day lives.
4. Unique Ears
As mentioned earlier fennecs have unique appearance. However, probably the most impressive out of the fennec fox facts are their pointed, oval, bat-sized ears.
Their ears can grow up to 15cm in length! This feature gives the fennec fox incredibly sensitive hearing so they are able to find prey. In addition to that, their ears also act as a temperature regulator to prevent them from getting too hot.
Another fennec fox facts is that they are the animal with the largest ears relative to their body size.
5. Mates For Life
Interesting and endearing fennec fox facts include this animal’s mating habits.
Once the fennec fox has found a mate, it’s for life! Once paired, the couple will live together in the same den.
As fennec foxes mate between January and March, after roughly two month long gestation period, the female fennec (vixen) gives birth. The litter is usually anywhere between 2 and 5, and they are known as kits.
In the first two months, the babies would remain in the den as they are still vulnerable. During that period the male fennec vacates the den and only the kits and the mother stay in there. However, the father continues to defends the family and returns in the den once the kits are older.
Fennec foxes are considered matured by the age of 11 months old.
Learn more about fennec foxes here Fennec Fox Characteristics: Is This The Right Pet For You
6. Great Diggers
Fennec foxes have evolved into great hunters and diggers. These animals have long, sharp and curved claw. This allows them to effectively dig their dens and also reach their prey.
The fennec can dig a den up to 4 feet deep to stay cool. The den is usually located under a bush and the roots of the plants are used as support walls for the tunnel.
These dens consist of long tunnel systems with a few entrances. This is so the fennec can escape in case a predator tries to invade.
In addition, during the day the den is used to escape the desert heat and for sleep as fennecs are nocturnal animals.
7. Smallest Of All Foxes
Fennec fox facts include their impressive size. And no, it’s not impressive because they are big. It’s exactly the opposite!
The fennec is not only the smallest of all foxes, but they are also smaller than the average house cat. Although, the fennec is the smallest canine species, they have the largest ears relative to their body size.
Female fennec fox size consist of the following measurements:
- Average body length is 13.6 to 15.6 inches (34.5 – 39.5cm)
- Tail length is average of 9.1 – 9.8 inches (23 – 25cm)
- Ears length is average of 3.5 – 3.7 inches (9 – 9.5cm)
- Weight can reach up to 1.8 pounds or 0.8kg
However, male fennec foxes are slightly larger than the female. The male fennec’s size measures are the following:
- Body length is 15.4 – 15.6 inches (39 – 39.5cm)
- Tail length is average of 9.1 – 9.8 inches (23 -25cm)
- Ears can reach up to 3.9 inches or 10 cm
- Weight can reach up to 3.3 pounds or 1.5kg
If you want a unique, exotic pet but prefer small animals, then this fox is the right choice for you.
8. Fennecs Can Be Kept As Pets
Some of the fennec fox facts such as their unique appearance and small size, is what makes them so attractive to pet owners. These tiny foxes are also kept as exotic animals.
However, before getting the fennec fox as a pet, you must do extensive research. This is because owning a fennec as a pet is not the same as having a dog or a cat.
Fennecs will most likely need an enclosure outside. They also require constant supervision in the house.
If a pet fox escapes, it would be nearly impossible to get it back. Once in the wild, they will most likely die.
Learn more about keeping fennec fox as a pet here Fennec Fox Care – Everything You Need To Know
9. Social Animals
You might read in some places that fennec foxes are referred to as solitary animals. However, these tiny foxes are social and live in colonies in the wild of up to 10 other foxes.
The fennecs live in small communities of 10 and position their dens near one another. Usually, the fennecs community include one breeding couple, a litter of kits and maybe a few older siblings.
They are only “unsocial” when they hunt. The fennec fox prefers to hunt on their own.
10. Fennecs Can Learn To Walk On A Leash
As mentioned above, a popular fennec fox facts is that they are kept as exotic pets. They are not the same as owning a dog. However, it might come as a surprise that the fennec fox can be trained.
Although, it might take longer than training a dog for instance, it’s doable. However, you need to be very patient during the process.
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
11. Fennec Foxes Are Vocal
An entertaining one of the fennec fox facts is how vocal these tiny creatures are.
The fennecs vocalizations are frequent and varied. Both adults and pups chatter, whimper, wail, growl and shriek. In addition to that, they will howl. However, the howls can be brief but loud.
12. They Are Extra Furry
Living in the desert can be scorching hot during the day and freezing cold during the night. For that reason, the fennec fox has evolved in many ways.
One of those ways is having a thick coat to protect them in the cold. However, that coat also serves a purpose of deflecting the sunlight during the day and keeping the fennec cool.
In addition, they also have extra fur on the bottom of their feed. This is to protect their pads from the hot sand and to assist them when digging their dens.
13. Fennec Fox Is In Disney
Zootopiais is a US Disney animation. Zootopia tells the story of a city populated by talking animals. One of the central characters is a wily con-artist red fox. However, the sidekick is called Finnick, a fennec fox.
There is no doubt that fennec foxes are unique animals. They are the smallest wild canine and are beautiful to look at. For that reason, many pet owners are interested in having this animal as a pet.
However, before taking this step, the first thing you should do is look into the top fennec fox facts to see if this is the right pet for you.
If the fennecs is the animal you have set your sight on, then you must do further research into what care these tiny foxes require to thrive and be healthy.
The top fennec fox facts we have discussed in this article are:
- Desert Animals
- They Can Live On Little To No Water
- Unique Ears
- Mates For Life
- Great Diggers
- Smallest Of All Foxes
- Fennecs Can Be Kept As Pets
- Social Animals
- Fennecs Can Learn To Walk On A Leash
- Fennec Foxes Are Vocal
- They Are Extra Furry