Fennec fox

Latin Name
Vulpes zerda

Class
Mammals

Order
Carnivora

Description

The fennec fox is a small, sand-colored fox weighing just about 3 pounds. Its small snout contrasts oversized ears.


 

Range

Sahara Desert and North Africa


Status

Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Fennec Fox Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Habitat

Desert sands and brush


Niche

A nocturnal omnivore, the fennec fox hunts rodents, insects and birds—and browses desert grasses and fruits—under moonlight.


Life History

Though cute in appearance, male fennec foxes become aggressive during mating season. Females birth two–five young once a year, which they nurse in the den until the young are old enough to explore the desert.


Special Adaptations
  • Those huge ears help the fennec fox dissipate heat and detect sound from prey. They are sensitive enough to detect beetles walking across the sand.
  • Thick hair insulates them on cold nights and blocks the sun during the day.
  • Hairy feet serve as boots to protect from the elements.
  • To protect themselves from the extremes of their environment, fennec foxes live in underground dens.


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ARKive image - Fennec fox infantARKive video - Fennec fox - overviewARKive image - Fennec fox juveniles

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit