Fennec Foxes

P5242007Weighing in at just 2 to 3 pounds, the fennec fox is the smallest canid in the world! However, their ears tell a much different story. They have the largest ear to body ratio of any canid; their ears can get up to 6 inches long, which is about one third of their body length.

As a native to the Sahara desert and other areas in North Africa, the fennec fox uses its ears and other adaptations to survive the heat. Their ears help to dissipate heat and locate small prey. Their fur is thick to protect them from the sun and to insulate their bodies when temperatures drop dramatically at night. This thick fur also covers their paws, enabling them to walk on top of the sand.

They are omnivores that eat plants, insects, rodents, reptiles, and so on. They can go an indefinite amount of time without water because they obtain fluid from their food sources.

Fennec foxes live in communities of up to 10 individuals that reside in underground den systems. However, they do form monogamous pairs that usually breed once a year, and litters average 2-4 kits. Their lifespan is about 10 years in the wild and about 13 years in managed care.

Officially, fennec foxes are currently listed as “least concern,” but this is greatly due to a data deficiency. There is a lot that is unknown about this fox due to the harsh environment, their elusive nature, and their nocturnal behavior. They do have protected status in some areas, but there are still numerous threats to their livelihood. These threats include human encroachment, climate change, disease, fur trade, and lastly, pet trade. Because of their size and appearance, there is a large market for fennec fox pets. However, it is important to keep in mind that no matter how cute they are, fennec foxes are ultimately still a wild animal.

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