Fennec Fox Fun Facts
Fennec foxes are one of the few creatures on the planet that can live without water for extended periods of time. They have big ears and small bodies, and if you aren’t paying attention, you could mistake them for corgi dogs!
In this article, we’re going to take a look at fennec foxes in detail. We’ll take you through a series of facts about the fennec fox, including what they eat and how they have adapted to living in the desert. We will also look at how they behave, how they reproduce, and their average lifespan. We will also conclude the article with a short list of fun facts about the fennec fox!
Let’s get started.
What does a Fennec Fox look like?
Fennec foxes are the smallest foxes in the world. Their most easily recognizable features are their large ears, which are four to six inches long.
They have light brown fur the color of sand or straw, a black nose, and a white snout. One of the most notable physical characteristics of the fennec fox, aside from their ears, is the dense fur that covers the pads of their paws. The fur on their paws helps protect them from getting burnt or overheated on the hot sand that fennec foxes walk on in the desert.
How big and heavy do Fennec Foxes get?
The weight of the average fennec fox can be anywhere between 0.60kg to 1.5kg. Female fennec foxes are smaller than males, weighing around 1-1.3kg, while male fennecs way a little more at around 1.5kgs.
In terms of the fennec fox’s length and height, the average height at the fox’s shoulder is around 8 inches tall, while its length from the head to its body can range from 14 to 16 inches, or 35 to 40 centimeters.
Female fennec foxes are generally 13-15 inches long from head to the body, while their tails are around 9 inches long, and their ears are around 3.5 inches long. Male fennec foxes are generally larger than the females, as they are 15-15.5 inches long from head to the body, while their tales are around 9.5 inches long, and their ears are 3.9 inches long.
Fennec Foxes Ears
Their long ears have long and red vertical stripes close to the ears edge, with dense fur inside the ears to protect the ear’s inner flesh. The edges of their ears are white on the inside but are a darker color on the back. Their light brown fur also helps keep them safe by reflecting light during the day and keeping them warm at night.
In addition to being able to listen for prey lurking nearby, the ears of the fennec fox are so big because they help the fox dissipate the desert’s excessive heat.
Where do Fennec Foxes Live?
The fennec fox habitat is in dry and arid regions, particularly in North Africa and in many parts of the Sahara Desert. You can also find them in Arabia and Sinai. The deserts that they live in contain desert grass and lots of scrub grass.
Desert Adaptations of the Fennec Fox’s Body
The fennec fox has many desert adaptations. Their feet are covered with dense fur that helps provide them with insulation and protection against the hot sand in the desert. Their ears help them dissipate heat on scorching days.
Fennec foxes also pant to help regulate their body temperature. When the desert gets very hot, their breathing goes up from 23 to 690 breaths a minute.
These foxes are also one of a few carnivores that can survive without water for long stretches of time. Over time, their kidneys have adapted to survive without a steady supply of water.
What do Fennec Foxes Eat?
Fennec foxes are carnivores living in the desert, meaning they eat primarily small creatures like insects, termites, rodents, and birds. They also eat eggs and lizards. The insects that they eat are mostly grasshoppers and locusts; these insects are always easy to find in the desert.
Minimal Water Requirements
In addition to small creatures, fennec foxes also eat leaves, fruits, and various roots. These plants provide the foxes with hydration. Their kidneys have adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert, and as a result, fennec foxes receive hydration and moisture from the foods they eat.
Fennec Fox Behaviour
Fennec foxes are nocturnal creatures, which means that they are active during the night and can avoid the desert’s heat during the day. When they are asleep, fennec foxes typically sleep inside a burrow that they construct themselves.
Natural High Jumpers
The fennec fox is a small but mighty animal, as evidenced by the fact that it can jump two meters high in the air when they are in a standing position, and it can leap forward for a distance of about four meters.
These foxes also form groups and live together, unlike other foxes who live solitary lives. Fennec fox groups usually consist of 9-10 members. When burrowing to make their homes, fennec foxes sometimes interconnect their dens or burrows or build them close together.
Fennec Foxes and their Territory
Fennec foxes mark their territory with their urine and feces, as they are incredibly territorial animals. When the mating season begins, males and females mate for life and establish their own territory as a pair or as a family.
Fennec foxes communicate with a variety of sounds. They either whimper, growl, bark, or shriek. They also howl and chatter! Many people have discovered that the fennec fox purrs when it’s happy, much like a cat.
Fennec foxes are nocturnal creatures, which means that they sleep during the day and become active at night. Their dense fur helps them stay protected from the sun when walking on hot sand, and it also keeps them warm when temperatures drop in the night.
How long do Fennec Foxes live?
The average lifespan of a fennec fox is around ten years in the wild and 12-13 years in captivity.
Family, Genus, and Species of Fennec Foxes
The fennec fox belongs to the family called ‘Canidae.’ Its genus is called Vulpes, and its species is called V. zerda.
Breeding in Fennec Foxes
The mating season for the fennec fox is usually between January and April. Unlike other animals, fennecs breed only once a year.
They reach sexual maturity when they are nine months old. When the male and female fennec foxes copulate, their period of copulation lasts for around two and a half hours, or close to three hours.
The period of gestation lasts for roughly seven weeks or 50-52 days. Male fennecs become more protective over the females while they are pregnant, and they become aggressive towards other fennecs. Male fennecs also hunt and take care of their female mates by providing them with food during the gestation and lactation periods.
Female fennecs typically give birth to a litter of pups consisting of one to four pups. Both male and female pups take care of their offspring.
Baby Fennec Fox
Baby fennec foxes open their eyes about a week after they are born. They communicate with their parents by squeaking, yapping, barking, or purring. Fennec pups are weaned after they are about two and a half months old.
Family Life of Fennec Foxes
Unlike other species of foxes, fennec foxes prefer to live in groups. They often burrow close together or create multiple entrances leading to a single den. They are not solitary animals as they enjoy living and playing together.
Are Fennec Foxes at Risk?
Unfortunately, they are.
Threats to Fennec Foxes
While they are not classified as an endangered species as yet, fennec foxes are at risk because humans all over the world consider these small foxes to be exotic pets. They are small and easy to transport, making them the perfect animal to be sold in the pet trading industry.
Climate change and fur trade also affect their livelihood.
Fennec Fox Fun Facts
- They are Algeria’s national animal.
- Pairs of male and female fennec foxes mate for the rest of their lives.
- They are the smallest members of the dog family.
In this article, we took you through a list of facts and information about fennec foxes. They are small and cute animals, but remember that they don’t make good pets!