Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fennec Fox

Fennec Foxes (Vulpes zerda) are the smallest of all the foxes, and can be found in desert regions in North Africa and the Middle East. They reach around 28 inches from head to tail (with a good foot of that being just the tail) and weigh between two and four lbs. Fennecs have cream colored bodies, with darker-tipped tails.

(Image Source)
Fennec Foxes have some great adaptations to help them survive in their hot, dry climates. First of which are those gigantic ears, which they use to regulate body temperature. They also have thick coats that work as insulation; keeping heat out during the day, and holding it in during the potentially freezing nights that they are active during (Fennecs are nocturnal.) The coloration of their coat is also an adaptation. The sandy color acts to both reflect heat and to serve as camouflage. Fennecs also have furry paws that help to give them traction and to keep their footpads from burning on the hot sand. Finally, Fennecs have a remarkable set of kidneys that helps them to retain maximum levels of moisture.

Fennecs are social animals that live in groups of around ten individuals. They live in burrows during the day and do their hunting at night. Fennecs are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on everything from plants, to insects, to eggs, to small rodents and birds. The Fennec's main non-human predators are large(ish) cats and birds.

Not much is known about their wild status, and they are listed by IUCN as being of Least Concern due to deficient data and unavailable information. You apparently can own Fennecs as pets legally, but keep in mind that they are burrowing, nocturnal, wild animals. I wouldn't recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Fennecs in captivity usually die with kidney failure. All kidney diseases are very painful. Do not keep fennecs as pets.

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