The fennec fox is a small fox found in the Sahara Desert of North Africa (excluding the coast) and in some parts of Arabia, which has distinctive oversized ears. Although some authorities classify this as the only species of the genus Fennecus, it is shown here in the genus Vulpes. Its name is derived from an Arabic word for "fox".
fennecfox

Description

The fennec is the smallest of the Canidae, weighing up to only 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg). The fox is 7.9 inches (20 cm) tall at the shoulder, with a body length of up to 15.7 inches (40 cm). The tail is an additional 9.8 inches (25 cm) or so, and the ears can be 5.9 inches (15 cm) long. The animals coats are often a sandy color to blend in with their desert surroundings.

Its characteristic ears, which are the largest in the canid family, serve to help dissipate heat and to hear the movement of prey at night. The coat can repel sunlight during the day and conserve heat at night. The soles of the feet are protected from the hot sand by thick fur.

Habits

The fennec is nocturnal. It is also an omnivore. During the night, it will hunt for rodents, insects (such as locusts), lizards, birds, and bird eggs. It also eats a small lizard known as a sandfish. The fennec gets most of its water from food, but will sometimes eat berries and leaves as an additional source of water. They can last long periods of time without water, but will drink water when available.

Fennecs live in large dens (extending up to 32.8 ft or 10 meters), often with several foxes.

Reproduction

In the spring, after about 52 days of gestation, a female fennec will give birth to a litter of 2-5 young. Breeding season is normally January through March. The young will rely on their mother's milk for about a month. When the litter of young are born, the female won't allow the male to come into the den until the offspring become older.

Population

The fennec is rare and is not often seen. It is often hunted by humans, though the fox does not cause any direct harm to human interests. Like other foxes, the fennec is prized for its fur by the indigenous people of the Sahara and Sinai.

Fox or not?

There is some debate among scientists as to whether or not fennecs belong to the "fox" genus. Uncharacteristic behavior, such as packs called 'harems' (while all other foxes are solitary), as well as genetic differences (other foxes have between 35 and 39 chromosome pairs, while fennecs have 32) have left researchers with two conflicting classifications: Vulpes zerda implying that fennecs are foxes, and Fennecus zerda, implying that fennecs belong to their own genus.

Domestication

It has been suggested that the chihuahua was originally a domesticated fennec, not simply a breed of dog imported from Asia by immigrating humans. However, chihuahuas are a breed of dog (Canis familiaris), which are more closely related to wolves than foxes. The difference in chromosome numbers (39 in dogs vs. 32 in the fennec) makes it impossible for the two species to breed and produce hybrids.

The fennec is classified under CITES as an Appendix II species (here): "species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival (CITES website)." In the United States there is a relatively established community of fennec owners and breeders.

The fennec is considered the only species of fox which can properly be kept as a pet. Although they cannot be considered completely domesticated, they can be kept in a domestic setting similar to dogs or cats, though several factors make it important to ensure that they do not escape. Their speed and agility (they can jump four times their own body length) combined with their natural chase instinct creates the risk of a fennec slipping its harness or collar. Further, since they are adept diggers (they can dig up to twenty feet a night in their natural environment), outdoor pens and fences must be extended many feet below ground. Escaped fennec foxes are extremely difficult to recapture.

Pet fennecs, being the most social among foxes, are usually very friendly towards strangers and other household pets. However, they are extremely active, and need outlets for their energy; they may exhaust other household pets with their playfulness.

The vast majority of their diet in the wild consists of meat and protein sources like insects. Any diet in a domestic setting should reflect this. Food sources commonly used include (but are not limited to) high quality meat-rich dog food, wild canine food brands, cat food, raw meats, insects, mealworms, custom dietary mixtures, or any combination thereof.

The legality of owning a fennec, as with many exotic pets, varies with jurisdiction, so check with local animal control authorities before considering adoption or purchase. Also, because it is an exotic, not all veterinarians will treat fennecs, so make sure to find one who will provide vaccinations and any necessary medical care. Furthermore, consider that fennecs are not often able to be housebroken, although a few pet owners have reported being able to litter-train their fennec foxes.

The issue of owning exotic pets is controversial. Requirements of behavior, diet, environment, socialization, and the demands of the time and attention needed to keep an exotic are often very high. Such factors may not be conducive to the lifestyle of an average person, be more than they are personally willing to invest, or even require special expertise. All these factors, along with the real or perceived danger in handling non- or semi-domesticated animals, are often strongly cited as reasons for never considering the purchase or adoption of an exotic pet. Whatever the decision, such factors must be considered in responsible ownership and care of any pet.

Wild instincts make fennecs both more enjoyable, and more tedious, than domesticated pets. As with all wild pets, fennecs have been reported to have more personality, and are substantially smarter than dogs or cats. However, wild instinct, such as hiding caches of food in case of famine, as well as attempting to burrow into furniture to build a nest, etc, makes them a handful to care for.

79 Comments

5 years 33 weeks ago, 8:49 PM

comatose83

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Hi,
My name is Chris. I'm interested in owning a Fennec Fox. Do you have any idea where I can purchase one? If so please email me at comatose_83@hotmail.com

Thank you very much,
Chris Kennedy

4 years 49 weeks ago, 10:46 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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Hi! u can get one in Sudbury, if u live in Ontario. Its called the''northern exotics''. their web site is www.northernexotics.com. glad to help.:]

4 years 5 weeks ago, 4:36 AM

robinong

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Stop diverting us to some spammy site

5 years 33 weeks ago, 10:33 PM

ilovemyminirexCoco

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Their's a breeder for fennic foxes. But, I'm not sure were in YOUR area.

5 years 31 weeks ago, 1:22 AM

Duthyrabsaresweet

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that makes no sense but the fox is cute!!!!!!!!!

5 years 31 weeks ago, 1:26 AM

ilovemyminirexCoco

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Yeah, I love fennects too. there very cute.

4 years 48 weeks ago, 8:37 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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u got that right!:]

3 years 45 weeks ago, 6:04 PM

fox32619

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where can get a fennec fox?i you know contact me at jmoney326@live.com

where can i get a fennec fox? if you know contact me at jmoney326@live.com
4 years 39 weeks ago, 11:37 PM

ZoieStarr2

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I really want one, I live in NC.
Can toy help?

5 years 11 weeks ago, 12:35 AM

Kyla

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I really want a fennec fox..I live in Kansas...
Do you still sell them?

5 years 33 weeks ago, 5:48 PM

shananigans

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I really want a fennec fox. Does anybody have one or knows someone that has one? Please! Oh, and I am in texas.

5 years 33 weeks ago, 6:23 PM

fennecfoxlover

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I WANT A FENNEC FOX! I AM IN SAFRANSISCO, CA!

5 years 33 weeks ago, 10:21 PM

ilovemyminirexCoco

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I'll help you both.

5 years 32 weeks ago, 1:49 PM

Angelstar

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does anybody know where i can get one? i live in IL!

5 years 33 weeks ago, 10:42 PM

ilovemyminirexCoco

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Ok go to http://www.fennecfoxes.net/breeders.html#US then there is a list of breeders in the u.s Alright?

5 years 32 weeks ago, 9:16 PM

a-shamrock4u

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We would love to have one as a brother or sister but because it is almost imposible to housetrain them, mommy thinks not. Which means the poor thing would have to spend most of its life in a crate and that would not be a good life. So we will not get one. Besides there are plenty of unwanted puppies out there that need a good home so we will stick with that.

Untill next time.....Buck
5 years 32 weeks ago, 9:32 PM

ilovemyminirexCoco

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Yeah, Me too, But, I'm happy to help people get one who can.

5 years 27 weeks ago, 7:12 PM

iluvmydingo

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I would have fun playing with one!!! Ha ha

YEAH BOY!!!
5 years 26 weeks ago, 8:49 PM

lovexoxo1234

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i wanna buy it

5 years 26 weeks ago, 8:54 PM

Thunderpitbull

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Fennc foxs are a lot! and are very hard to take care of! My neice got one and it was mean and it peeed and pooped all over and she ended up giving it away. Some adults cannot even take care of them!!!

Sincerly yours,

John

hey
4 years 48 weeks ago, 8:42 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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maybe it was just the fennec foxes persenality.or maybe she didnt take care of him right. i know someone with one and hes really kind.

5 years 26 weeks ago, 1:01 AM

save_puppymill_pups

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Yeah, that's just like animal abuse! You take a fox from it's natural habiat, and Boom, you've got yourself a sherrer, digger and biter of a fox. Ans what else do you have left? Oh just a gallon of expensive bills! They are $25,000.00 people! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND COMPLETLY?!!!!! They only hang out with themselves and hate humans. I nkow this because my brother-in-law has one, and yeah, geuss what? He ended up giving the evil thing away.

animals have rights too ya know!!
4 years 48 weeks ago, 8:45 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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$25,000.00? phhh. i know a breeder and he sells them for $1200.00.

5 years 25 weeks ago, 11:54 PM

ivymak11

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I'm very interested in buying a fennec fox.
Where can I find one?

Please help

5 years 25 weeks ago, 3:02 AM

TaLeekia Bennett

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Hello, does anyone have any idea where I can purchase a fennec fox from? I have been wanting one for quite a while now and haven't had any luck. Seeking advice from others.

Thanks in advance,

TaLeekia

5 years 25 weeks ago, 3:25 AM

a-shamrock4u

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There is a link in one of the above posts. Good luck!

Untill next time.....Buck
5 years 22 weeks ago, 10:24 PM

amreyes

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Hey does any one know any info. on getting a permit for a fennec fox in Miami?

5 years 22 weeks ago, 10:32 PM

deck

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First you have got to get them suntan oil a beach towel and cool looking shades before anyone will look at giving you a permit dude
Hope this helps
Deck

5 years 15 weeks ago, 12:14 AM

mandy

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well i know in some state like CA you cant get one by law. I know that some southerner states like Texas you can get a permit to own one

pit bulls rock the world
5 years 10 weeks ago, 3:04 PM

davesmcd

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I have a breeder pair of fennec foxes for sale, they are 3 years old and have had 2 litters of 3 and 4 kits. I have a new baby and just do not have time to give them the attention they deserve.

5 years 3 weeks ago, 2:30 AM

Anna-Marie McNeil

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DAVESMCD,

ARE THE FENNEC FOXES STILL AVAILABLE? I LIVE IN CENTRAL ONTARIO, CANADA. PLEASE RESPOND AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE. THANK YOU & REGARDS,

Anna-Marie

5 years 3 weeks ago, 5:05 AM

exoticpetlover

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do you still have the pups avail

5 years 2 weeks ago, 5:09 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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yo!where do u live?do u have a baby boy fennec?i would love to have one!

5 years 9 weeks ago, 10:28 PM

twilightluver101

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i want a baby female fennec fox badly im from dallas texas and if u know where i could get one close plese e-mail me at jenny.retiz1901@yahoo.com

5 years 9 weeks ago, 10:37 PM

deck

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Fennic foxes belong in the wild retard and not in your world keep it real
Deck

5 years 8 weeks ago, 2:15 AM

mj

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yes they belong in the wild.. not with people...

dog lover :)
5 years 4 weeks ago, 6:05 PM

disturbedgirl2000

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Okay, the fennec IS domestic if it is raised domsestically. JUST LIKE WITH DOGS AND CATS. Unlike ferrets, where there are two seperate species (one wild, one domestic), the fennec, if bred at home and hand raised will not be a "wild" animal. You should think about trying a little thing called reading before firing off retarded comments.

5 years 4 weeks ago, 7:44 PM

deck

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Cats and dogs became tame and pets only through trust.
If you have a pet and you open the door and it runs away its not a pet but just a caged animal as you would find in a zoo.
People keep this type of animal more as a trophy to show there mates' rather than a pet.
They can never be let outside where they belong like you can with a cat or dog' only to spend its life in some knob heads apartment stressed and frustrated for the rest of its life.
This is not domesticating a animal only imprisoning it' maybe this is why me and most real pet lovers leave the comments like we do.
Deck

5 years 3 weeks ago, 1:50 AM

Lily8808

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I am very interested in buying two fennec pups [one female, one male, preferably from two different litters] please e-mail me at midget101midget@yahoo.com with any info you might come across.

4 years 48 weeks ago, 8:51 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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u can get one in sudbury @ www.northernexotics.com
glad to help

5 years 3 weeks ago, 12:10 AM

Anna-Marie McNeil

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I would love to adopt a baby. Does anyone knows where I can get one in Canada or if it's possible to send by air animal transport? I would also be interested in a pair for breeding. Your help is appreciated. Regards,

5 years 2 weeks ago, 12:00 AM

Fennecfoxlover456

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i would love to have a baby fennec! could somebody please tell me where i could get one?i live in Ontario and is it possible to mail it or something like that?
e-mail me at Jorevale@omniglobe.ca

5 years 3 days ago, 3:49 AM

Miss_Britt08

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I am interested in getting a fennec fox. I am not wanting to spend over 1000 dollars for one. I was wondering if it is possible to find one for aroun 100-200 dollars? I am not picky about getting a baby or an adult. If anyone knows where I can get one please e-mail me at bbkitkat73112@sbcglobal.net or text me at 405-473-4615. Thank you so much!

4 years 51 weeks ago, 5:38 AM

acgirl90

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Its rude for people to try and get on here and tell others not to get them there wild .Mind ur own bussiness if someone is going to buy one theres nothing you can .Who would listen to some random stranger online any ways.By the way if any of you have found a place to buy them post it plz.Until next time i will keeping seaching for a fennec foxes and mate for it to live a happy life with a loving family

4 years 49 weeks ago, 11:00 PM

Fennecfoxlover456

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HEY! EVERYBODY! IF U ARE INTRESTED IN BUYING A FENNEC, GO ON WWW.JULIESJUNGLE.COM!they sell adults and kits. glad to help!:).E-mail me @ Jorevale@omniglobe.ca.

4 years 39 weeks ago, 10:02 PM

skmohr77

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I want to buy one!!!! they are soooo cute!!!! but i cant!!!! soooo unfair!!!!

4 years 35 weeks ago, 2:43 PM

steele2203

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i am looking to buy a fennec fox..i currently have 2 chihuahuas...i live in Mississippi...thanks

4 years 33 weeks ago, 3:03 AM

fryguy726

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i live in pa and you have to have a permit to be able to own one. does anyone know how to go nby getting a permit and who to cal please help its for my wife she reall wants one. thanks

4 years 23 weeks ago, 8:50 PM

kelmar

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Hi i live in Maine and i wont to have one i am so happey yayayayyaya plz tell me were i can get one?

4 years 23 weeks ago, 5:17 PM

Notyourchic

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What's really sad is that over half of you cannot devote the proper time to taking care of a domesticated companion animal let alone ANY exotic animal that belongs in its exotic indigenous location. How cruel can you be? Seriously, you want to keep an animal in a cage or confined to the house so that you can look at it and touch it when you want? VERY few of you have the time or knowledge to give these animals the mental stimulation and freedom they need and deserve. How about the guy who wants to buy one for $100-200?! Really? You sound so cheap, I bet the fox wouldn't even get vet care if something happened to it! I am so sick of all you people who want something because it is SO CUTE and you give little thought to any events that will follow your cute purchase. Where are your morals?! And you ACgirl90, it's attitudes like yours that fuel this exotic animal trade fire. Where are your morals? Is it ok for people to do whatever they want when they want to without any real regard or thought for the life of another, human or not? Wow, you are truly amazing and what a profound compelling argument you have made. Many of you may also want to check your spelling so that you can sound more capable and intelligent enough to care for such an animal.

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