Fennec Fox Pet: History, Appearance, Lifespan, Care

Fennec foxes are the smallest members of the fox family and are native to the deserts of North Africa. They are known for their large ears, which help them to dissipate heat in the desert environment. Fennec foxes are also very agile and can jump up to 6 feet high.

History of the Fennec Fox

The fennec fox was first described by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1788. Gmelin gave the fox the scientific name Vulpes zerda, which means “yellow fox” in Latin. The fennec fox is also known as the desert fox, the sand fox, and the fennec.

Appearance of the Fennec Fox

Fennec foxes are small foxes with a body length of about 14 inches and a tail length of about 10 inches. They weigh between 2 and 4 pounds. Fennec foxes have a pale cream to fawn-colored coat, with a white underside and black ear tips. Their ears are very large, up to 6 inches long, and help to dissipate heat in the desert environment. Fennec foxes also have large eyes and a long snout.

Lifespan of the Fennec Fox

Fennec foxes have a lifespan of about 10 years in the wild and up to 14 years in captivity.

Breeding Season Care

The breeding season for fennec foxes is from January to March. During this time, the female fennec fox will go into estruses, or heat, for about 3-5 days. The male fennec fox will be able to smell the female’s pheromones and will come to mate with her. The gestation period for fennec foxes is about 50 days.

Here are some tips for caring for a fennec fox during the breeding season:

  • Provide a safe and comfortable nest box. The female fennec fox will need a place to give birth and raise her pups. The nest box should be large enough for the female and her pups to fit comfortably, and it should be filled with soft bedding material.
  • Make sure the female has access to plenty of food and water. The female fennec fox will need to eat more food during pregnancy and lactation. 
  • Minimize stress. Stress can cause the female fennec fox to miscarry or abandon her pups. Try to minimize stress in your fennec fox’s environment by avoiding loud noises and sudden movements.
  • Monitor the female and her pups closely. After the female gives birth, it is important to monitor her and her pups closely to make sure that they are all healthy and doing well. 

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you have a male and female fennec fox, separate them during the breeding season unless you intend to breed them. Male fennec foxes can be aggressive towards females during estruses.
  • If you do not intend to breed your fennec fox, you may want to consider having them spayed or neutered. This will help to prevent unwanted pregnancies and behavioral problems.

If you are having any problems caring for your fennec fox during the breeding season, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Housing for Fennec Foxes

Fennec foxes need a large enclosure that is at least 10 feet by 10 feet by 6 feet high. The enclosure should have plenty of hiding places and should be escape-proof. The enclosure should also have a sandpit or dirt area where the fennec fox can dig.

Diet for Fennec Foxes

Fennec foxes need a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. A good diet for a fennec fox would include a mix of raw meat, vegetables, and commercial fox food.

Exercise for Fennec Foxes

Fennec foxes are very active animals and need plenty of exercise. A good way to exercise a fennec fox is to give it a large enclosure where it can run and play. You can also take your fennec fox for walks on a leash.


Fennec foxes are relatively low-maintenance animals when it comes to grooming. They are very good at cleaning themselves and do not need to be bathed often. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep your fennec fox’s coat and skin healthy.


Brushing your fennec fox’s fur once or twice a week will help to remove loose hair and prevent mats. Use a soft-bristled brush or a slicker brush designed for small animals. Brush your fennec fox gently, following the natural direction of their fur.


Fennec foxes do not need to be bathed often. Bathing them too often can strip their skin of its natural oils and make it dry and flaky. If your fennec fox gets dirty, you can spot-clean them with a damp cloth. If they need a full bath, use a mild shampoo, and be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Ear cleaning

Fennec foxes have large ears that are prone to ear infections. Check your fennec fox’s ears regularly for signs of infection, such as redness, discharge, or odor. If their ears are dirty, you can clean them with a cotton ball dipped in a mild saline solution.

Nail trimming

Fennec foxes’ nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly to prevent them from overgrowing and curling.

Additional tips for grooming your fennec fox:

  • Get your fennec fox used to being groomed from a young age. This will make the process easier and less stressful for both of you.
  • Be gentle when grooming your fennec fox. They have delicate skin and can be easily startled.
  • Use grooming products, that are specifically designed for small animals.
  • If you are unsure how to groom your fennec fox, ask a veterinarian or other animal expert for help.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your fennec fox’s coat and skin healthy and looking their best.

Is the Fennec Fox a Good Pet?

Fennec foxes can make good pets for people who are willing to provide them with the proper care and attention. They are very active animals and need plenty of exercise. Fennec foxes can be trained, but they can also be destructive if they are not properly supervised.

Here are some additional things to consider when deciding if a fennec fox is a good pet for you:

  • Fennec foxes are wild animals and may not be suitable for all households.
  • Fennec foxes can be expensive to purchase and care for.
  • Fennec foxes may not be legal to own in all areas.

If you are considering getting a fennec fox as a pet, be sure to do your research and talk to a veterinarian or other animal expert to make sure that a fennec fox is the right pet for you.

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