The fennec fox got its name from the Berber word “fanak”, which means fox.
Scientific Classification :
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Carnivora
Family : Canidae
Conservation Status :
"Least concern" means their population has been counted, but they are not in imminent danger of extinction. That's good news for these little guys!
Range & Habitat:
The fennec fox prefers dry habitats and can be found in the North African Sahara, Israel, Sinai Peninsula, and the Arabian desert. Their nocturnal habits help them to deal with the extreme heat of the desert environment.
Physical Description :
The fennec fox is the smallest species of the Canidae family. They have a body length of 9-16 inches, height of 8 inches, and weighing less than 4 pounds.
These foxes are made for the desert. Their cream-colored coats are good for deflecting the heat during the day but still keep them warm at night. Their ears are the largest among foxes relative to their size, which can grow up to six inches long. Fennec fox ears help dissipate heat as they have blood vessels close to the surface.
Fennec foxes are omnivorous, eating rodents, birds, eggs, insects, and sometimes fruit. They are ambush predators able to jump two feet high and four feet across. Their ears are so sensitive that they can hear prey underground! Scientists have observed fennec foxes staring at the ground, slowly rotating their heads listening for prey. They’ll drink water if available but don’t require large amounts.
Even though fennec foxes can mate year-round, mating usually takes place at the beginning of the year. These foxes mate for life and the males only get aggressive once their female is pregnant. She will carry her young for a little under two months, then giving birth to one to four kits. The kits are born with folded ears and closed eyes, which eventually open after 10 days.