Fennec or desert fox: characteristics and photos

Fennec or desert fox: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The fennec (Vulpes zerda), also known as the desert fox...

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The fennec (Vulpes zerda), also known as the desert fox, is one of the most exotic animals in the world that lives in desert areas, being able to survive very extreme heat and drought conditions. Its coat, perfectly adapted, allows it, in addition, to camouflage itself in its environment, which allows it to more easily survive.

In this PlanetAnimal breed sheet, we will talk in detail about the Fennec, one of the most popular types of foxes in recent years, probably thanks to its incredible ears which give it a unique appearance.Next we will tell you about its habitat, its diet and its reproduction.


  • Africa
  • Asia

Origin of Fennec

" The Fennec fox, whose scientific name is Vulpes zerda, is native to Africa. His name refers to his condition as a desert fox, however, some scholars suggest that his name also means Smart Fox. Independently, these two statements are true because it is a very intelligent animal, with high cognitive abilities, which lives in a desert climate."

Characteristics of Fennec

Fennecs belong to the Canidae family which it shares with the wolf and the coyote, being, however, the canids of the smallest size. Thus, their weight oscillates between 1 and 1.5 kilos, for a height at the withers around 21 cm and a body measuring between 35 and 41 cm long.Their long tail is bushy, the latter allowing them to cover themselves during the cold nights of the desert.

The head of fennec foxes is small, however, their ears are as large as they are disproportionate and measure between 10 and 15 cm. Given the small size of this fox, you have to realize how big they are in relation to its size. In addition, his ears allow him to have very good hearing as well as to regulate his body temperature. The fennec has a short, thin muzzle and dark eyes.

Its coat is sand colored, with light tones on the belly and darker colors on the back and tail, this design allows it to camouflage itself in its environment.

Habitat of the fennec

These fennec foxes inhabit regions of Africa, particularly in desert areas such as the Sahara and the Sinai Peninsula.

It is in these places that they build their burrows, they locate them in fixed dunes or open spaces.To make them, they dig in the sand and create many accesses in the form of tunnels. They are incredibly long cavities, up to 10 meters deep and more than 120 square meters of surface, in addition, very often these cavities are interconnected, thus creating networks that allow the passage from one cavity to another. 'other belonging to another member of the group.

Thanks to these burrows, fennec foxes can protect themselves from extreme weather conditions and phenomena such as sandstorms. They are nocturnal animals, as soon as day breaks, they take refuge in caves until night returns, when they choose to hunt.

Fennec food

Fennecs are omnivorous animals that hunt their prey alone, because despite being very sociable, they are also very independent and self-sufficient. Their diet is based on the consumption of small animals such as lobsters, grasshoppers, birds, lizards, rodents or eggs.They supplement their diet with leaves, roots and even fruits, which allows them to stay well hydrated and to survive in the absence of water for long periods of time.

Reproduction of the fennec fox

The fennec will be sexually mature at 9 months of age and when it chooses a couple it maintains it for life, thus being one of the most faithful animals in love. The reproductive season of fennec foxes begins in January and February, and it is manifested by a mating that can last almost more than 2 hours.

Gestation lasts between 50 and 52 days, after which between 1 and 4 babies will be born in a burrow. At first, babies have their eyes closed and ears folded, but at 10 days of age their eyes open. The mother feeds them with breast milk for 61 - 70 days and from then on they start to eat solid food.

Can you have a fennec fox as a pet?

At PlanèteAnimal we do not recommend adopting a fennec as a pet because of its concrete needs in terms of climate, behavior and diet. You should know that it is not a domestic animal, living with humans in urban areas that do not allow them to carry out their natural behaviors, inherent to the species, can cause and promote the appearance of many he alth and behavioral problems.

Photos of Fennec or desert fox

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