The Fennec Fox's scientific name is Vulpes zerda
Fennec fox's range
The fennec fox or fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Arabic word فنك (fanak), which means fox, and the species name zerda comes from the Greek word xeros which means dry, referring to the fox's habitat. The fennec is the smallest species of canid. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments. In addition, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.
The fennec fox's diet
Fennec foxes are opportunistic eaters. They forage for plants but also eat rodents, eggs, reptiles, and insects. Like most desert dwellers, the fennec fox has developed the ability to go for long periods without water.
The fennec fox's physical description
Fennec Foxes are the smallest species of fox. They have a body length between 24 and 41 cms (9.5 - 16 inches), a tail length between 18 and 31 cms (7 - 12 inches) and they weigh between 1 and 1.5 kgs (2.25 - 3.25 lbs).
They are cream or fawn in colour and they have extremely large ears. The soles of their feet are covered in fur to prevent their pads from becoming burnt on the hot sands of their habitat.
The fennec foxes breeding info
After a gestation period of 50 - 53 days, Fennec Foxes give birth to a litter of 2 - 5 young in a den. They are weaned at 2 - 3 months and they reach sexual maturity at 6 - 11 months old.
Fennec foxes special behavior
The Fennec Fox has uncharacteristic behaviours compared to other foxes. While foxes are normally solitary creatures, the Fennec Fox forms groups. These small communities consist of around 10 individuals. Males are territorial and mark their boundaries with urine. Males also become aggressive with each other when mating season approaches. Fennec Foxes are sociable animals that mate for life and each pair or family has its own territory.
Fennec fox, interesting info
A desert is a tough environment because of the extreme temperature variations. A fox needs plenty of fur to stay warm on nights when the temperature plummets below zero. But that fur also protects the animal from the heat. The fennec fox has extra furry feet, which protects its paw pads from the hot sand. The thick fur also gives the fox extra traction when maneuvering across loose sand and dunes.
Fennec fox video