Family: Canidae Genus: Vulpes Species: V. zerda
The secondary species of focus, Vulpes zerda; commonly known as the fennec fox. This breed is often referred to as the cutest breed of foxes. Distinguished by its large ears, creamy-yellow coat with a black-tipped tail, they are the smallest of the world’s foxes. Generally they grow up to 9-16 inches in body length, with a 7-12 inch tail in adults. Their massive ears can grow up to 6 inches long. The average weight for the fennec fox is around 1.5-3.5 lb. expected life expectancy is around 14 years in captivity, although few survive that long in the wild.
This little fox is native to the Saharan desert of Northern Africa. Their bodies are adapted to live in the harsh environments of the endless beating sun. Its large ears help dissipate heat as many blood vessels are located near the surface. Fur-padded paws provide protection when running across the hot sand. A fluffy sand-colour coat helps it deflect the hot arid sun during the day, while keeping it nice and warm at nighttime. The fennec makes its home in burrows in the sand. During the day, they are sleeping and the burrows provide a nice cool environment.
Breeding occurs from January to March, after 52 days the vixen gives birth. Unlike red foxes, fennecs only produce a litter of up to 5 pups. At birth, the pups weigh only 50 grams and are typically born with a grey coat. Males will be kept away from the den until the pups are older.
These particular foxes do not have musk glands, which makes them a popular exotic pet in certain parts of the world.
1. Asa, C.S., Valdespino, C., Cuzin, F., de Smet, K. & Jdeidi, T. 2008. Vulpes zerda. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 March 2015.
2. Dampsey, J., Hanna, S., Asa, C., Bauman, K., 2009. Nutrition and Behavior of Fennec Foxes (Vulpes zerda). Vet. Clin. Exot. Anim. 12, 299-312.
3. Brahmi, K., Khechekhouche, E., Mostefaoui, O., Doumandji, S., Baziz, B., Aulangnier, S., 2012. First quantitative data on the diet of the fennec fox, Vulpes zerda (Canidae, Carnivora), in Algeria. Folia. Zool. 61, 61-70.