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fennec fox

fennec fox facts

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key point

  • The fennec fox is the smallest canid on earth.
  • They tend to mate for life and mate between January and March.
  • They prefer to hunt at night to avoid the desert heat during the day and enjoy eating berries, grasses, insects, reptiles and rodents.

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Classification and Evolution

Fennec foxes prefer to hunt at night to escape the scorching desert heat

© Millie Bond – Copyright AZ Animals

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The fennec fox is a small species of fox found in the deserts of North Africa. They are the smallest of the canids, but have the largest ears for their size, which both help them improve their hearing and help them manage their body temperature in harsh living environments. Fennec foxes are primarily nocturnal, as this both helps protect them from the African heat and keeps them safe from predators during the day. Their adorable appearance has led to them being kept as pets in most natural areas and overseas. Male fennec foxes are called reynards and females are called vixens .

anatomy and appearance

Animals that stay up late - Fennec-fox
The light-colored fur of Fennec foxes helps reflect the desert heat away from them during the day and keep them warm at night

©DONGSEUN YANG/Shutterstock.com

The Fennec fox is the smallest fox species found in the world, reaching a length of 41 cm and weighing just 1.5 kg. They have long, bushy black tails that help guide them when changing directions while running and keep their noses and feet warm when they sleep curled up in their dens. Fennec foxes are animals with light, sandy fur that helps ensure they are well camouflaged when on the beach. Their fur is long and thick, which helps keep them warm at night when desert temperatures drop, but also keeps them cool during hot days because their color also reflects sunlight. The most notable feature of fennec foxes are their oversized pointed oval ears, which can reach a maximum length of 15 cm. Their large ears give fennec foxes very sensitive hearing so they can find prey, and also act as thermostats to keep them from getting too hot. Fennec foxes have long, sharp, curved claws that allow them to efficiently dig burrows at great speed.

Distribution and Habitat

Fennec foxes can be found from Morocco to Egypt, Niger to Sudan and even as far away as Kuwait

© iStock.com/wrangel

The fennec fox is an animal that inhabits the sandy and semi-arid desert regions of northern Africa and the northern Sinai Peninsula. They have a relatively wide range, from Morocco to Egypt, south to north Niger and Sudan, and east to Kuwait. Fennec foxes are found in the Sahara and Nubian deserts, where they dig vast underground burrows, and sand dunes are considered their best habitat. Although little is known about the exact distribution of wild fennec fox populations, they are currently not considered to be much threatened in their natural environment, as they are able to survive successfully in a range of desert environments from coastal areas to more sparsely inland desert.

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Fennec Fox Health and Recreation

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Behavior and Lifestyle

Animals of Algeria - Fennec Fox
Fennec foxes are pack animals unlike most other solitary foxes

©Christian Musat/Shutterstock.com

Fennec foxes are primarily nocturnal and tend to be most active on cool nights. Their thick, sandy fur means they are easier to spot on the sand, but they tend to avoid too much activity during the day due to the extreme heat. Fennec foxes are unique among foxes in that they are actually relatively social animals (other fox species are highly solitary and only come together to mate). They live in elaborate, interconnected burrows in small communities of up to 10 individuals, with each individual or pair having its own territory within its subterranean community. Like other canids, male fennec foxes mark their territory with urine and become extremely aggressive towards each other, especially when competing for females during mating season.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Small Fennec Fox Set
Fennec foxes mate for life and share living quarters year-round

© pianoman555/Shutterstock.com

Fennec foxes mate between January and March. Once they find a mate, they mate for life with the couple that live in the same den. After a gestation period of almost two months, a female fennec fox (vixen) gives birth to two to five offspring, called kits . Born with gray skin and weighing just 50 grams at birth, fennec fox pups are breastfed until they are about 5 weeks old when they start weaning and start eating more solid food. Young fennec foxes remain in their mother's den for the first two months, protected by the female, and adult males are temporarily expelled until the pups grow up. Fennec foxes reach full maturity at 11 months of age and can live up to 12 years in the wild.

diet and prey

Fennec Foxes are omnivores that feed on plants and small animals

© Tim Parkinson/Creative Commons

Fennec foxes are omnivorous and forage primarily on cool nights. They eat a wide range of desert vegetation, including grasses, roots, berries, and fruit, as well as insects, small reptiles, and rodents in and on the sand. Using their extremely sensitive hearing, they can hear their prey walking around or burrowing in the soft sand. Like many other desert-dwelling creatures, fennec foxes are well-adapted to living in such a dry environment and get nearly all the moisture they need through the vegetation they eat. Their kidneys were specially developed to ensure minimal water loss during their daily lives.

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Predators and Threats

Types of Dingo
Jackals are one of the few predators of the fennec fox


Due to their agile nature and the fact that they spend most of the day sleeping safely in underground burrows, fennec foxes have few common predators in their natural environment. Horned owls are thought to be the primary predator of the fennec fox, but they are also thought to be prey of larger mammals, including hyenas, caracals, jackals, and house dogs. Fennec foxes are often trapped and captured by people to be sold in the pet trade and hunted by natives for their beautiful pelts. In some areas, fennec foxes are also threatened by habitat loss from expanding human settlements.

Interesting Facts and Features

Fennec Foxes like to fill their burrows with fur and feathers for extra comfort

© Millie Bond – Copyright AZ Animals

Fennec foxes have many adaptations that help them survive successfully in desert environments, and one of their most distinctive features is their furry feet. Their thick fur extends down to the soles of their feet, allowing them to walk up and down the scorching sand with no problem. Very unusual among canids, the sociable nature of the fennec fox is a very notable behavioral trait. These small communities are often called skulk or leash . Their extensive underground burrows provide each individual or mate with their own little territory within their community. Individual fennec foxes dig their own burrows and line them with soft materials including feathers and fur to keep them warm while they sleep. Comfortable day.

relationship with humans

Fennec foxes are quite popular in the exotic fur trade

© Chill Chillz/Shutterstock.com

The wide distribution of fennec foxes means that they only really come into contact with people in certain areas, as they are able to survive successfully in the more remote and harsh parts of the desert. In areas with expanding local populations, fennec foxes are increasingly threatened by habitat loss as human settlements develop. Fennec foxes have long been hunted by natives for their beautiful fur, and are often captured and sold in the exotic pet trade around the world.

Protect the status quo and life today

Small fennec fox portrait
The fennec fox is still classified as a species of least concern despite declining habitat and hunting

© Lucie Bartikova/Shutterstock.com

The fennec fox has been listed by the IUCN as an animal of least concern for extinction in the wild in the near future. Although certain fennec fox populations are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and hunting, there are currently no known range-wide threats causing population declines sufficient to place them in the threatened listing category.

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Fennec Fox FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are fennec foxes herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Fennec Foxes are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom do the Fennec Foxes belong?

Fennec Foxes belong to Kingdom Animalia.

What category do Fennec Foxes fall into?

Fennec Foxes belong to the class Mammalia.

What door do Fennec Foxes belong to?

Fennec foxes belong to the phylum Chordate.

What family do fennec foxes belong to?

Fennec foxes belong to the family Canidae.

What order do fennec foxes belong to?

Fennec foxes belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of mulch does Fennec Foxes have?

Fennec Foxes are covered in fur.

What genus does the fennec fox belong to?

The fennec fox belongs to the genus Vulpes.

Where do the Fennec Foxes live?

Fennec Foxes live in North Africa.

What type of habitat do Fennec Foxes live in?

Fennec Foxes live in sandy and semi-arid deserts.

Who are the natural enemies of the fennec fox?

Predators of fennec foxes include eagles, owls, hyenas and jackals.

How many children does the Fennec Foxes have?

The average number of babies at Fennec Fox is 3.

Any fun facts about Fennec Foxes?

Fennec foxes are found in the African Sahara Desert!

What is the scientific name of Fennec Fox?

The scientific name of Fennec Fox is Vulpes zerda.

What is the lifespan of a fennec fox?

Fennec Foxes can live 10 to 14 years.

How many species of fennec foxes are there?

There is 1 species of fennec fox.

What is the biggest threat to fennec foxes?

The biggest threats to the Fennec Fox are habitat loss and hunting.

How many fennec foxes are left in the world?

The population size of the Fennec Fox is unknown.

How fast are fennec foxes?

Fennec Fox can travel at 25 miles per hour.

How did Fennec Fox say in




Caotai to Chau Phi

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  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) Encyclopedia of World Animals
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