Should you keep a fennec fox (also known as a desert fox) as a companion animal?
A guide for fennec fox owners
A fennec fox is an exotic creature that requires a lot of effort and patience.
This article will help you know the basics of owning this adorable animal.
What is a Fennec Fox?
A fennec fox is a desert fox that lives in the Sahara, North Africa. It has a large, drooping nose and big ears. Fennec foxes have large eyes with vertical pupils. They have long legs and a bushy tail that curls around their body to protect them from the sun.
Fennec Foxes are not as common as other desert animals because they need water to survive and there’s not much of it in the Sahara Desert.
Fennec fox: Their physical characteristics, living arrangements, diet, and other information
It is also known as the desert fox and is a small animal that is native to the Sahara desert and other parts of North Africa. It is also known as the fennec fox.
Despite the fact that it is not frequent, these little foxes with large ears are occasionally kept as pets. Fennec foxes behave in a manner similar to that of lively, playful small dogs.
The fact that these are still wild animals with wild instincts must be kept in mind at all times, regardless of whether the animals were bred in captivity.
They are not normally extremely cuddly with people when kept as pets, and because they are predatory animals in the wild, they can be readily startled and startled easily when kept as pets.
Furthermore, fennec foxes are primarily nocturnal, which means they are more active at night.
It can be particularly challenging to control their high levels of energy during the hours when the majority of the population is asleep. Because of this, it is difficult to care for a pet fennec fox.
Fennec Fox Overview
COMMON NAMES: Fennec fox, desert fox
ADULT SIZE: 9 to 16 inches long, weighing 1.5 to 3.5 pounds
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Vulpes zerda
LIFESPAN: Up to 11 years in captivity
Is it Possible to Own a Fennec Fox?
Is it Legal to have a fennec fox?
Laws for having a fennec fox vary widely based on the jurisdiction. Fennecs are subject to a variety of restrictions in most parts of the United States, ranging from outright bans to the simple requirement of a permit.
Additionally, some local rules may be in contradiction with state laws, so be sure to check the regulations for your specific area of residence.
Fennec breeder or rescue
Your fennec must be obtained from an established breeder or rescue organization in order to be considered a success.
Even if the chances of finding a vendor of wild-caught fennecs in the United States are minimal, it is still necessary to ensure that your fennec was raised in captivity before purchasing it.
These creatures often fare far better in captivity than an animal that has previously lived in the wild.
Fennec Fox – Things to Take Into Consideration:
Fennec foxes, despite their indisputable cuteness, are in fact noisy and energetic creatures.
While they are capable of adjusting to human life, they require a significant amount of time and effort from their owners, who must commit to providing these large-eared companions with the appropriate sorts of exercise, diet, and veterinary care.
The Temperament and Behavior of the Fennec Fox
Despite the fact that fennecs normally live in groups in the wild, they are rather autonomous when kept as pets. It is possible that they will like playing with their humans at times, such as an intense game of fetch.
However, there will be instances when kids choose to play by themselves as well.
Furthermore, the majority of pet fennecs will let individuals they know to pick them up, although the vast majority do not appear to appreciate being handled in general.
Fennecs are naturally wary creatures, and they will escape if they are threatened by an unfamiliar object. While most would rather choose flight over conflict, they will bite if something genuinely angers them.
In addition to marking their territory with urine, some fennecs, particularly unneutered males, will mark their territory with pee inside your home.
There are many different vocalizations that these creatures use to communicate their moods, and some of them are rather loud. They’re most definitely not a suitable match for someone who likes a more sedate companion.
Depending on their size, some fennecs will get along with other household pets, particularly dogs and cats of similar size.
When introduced at a young age, they will be able to coexist more harmoniously with other animals and will form stronger bonds with their human family members as a result.
Expect to put in a significant amount of time and work to keep your fennec active. They are animals that are swift, active, and nimble.
In most cases, though, fennecs will adjust their schedule to that of their human companions, rather than remaining nocturnal.
Fennecs may be taught to walk on a leash, which allows them to burn off some of their excess energy during the day.
Fennecs require temperatures of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit because they are desert animals. If you live in a climate that allows for it, an outside enclosure that is as large as possible is best for providing your fennec with enough exercise.
Many individuals build their own outside enclosures out of wood and wire screening to keep their pets safe.
The pen must be constructed in such a way that your fennec will not be able to dig under or climb over the walls, both of which these foxes are quite capable of accomplishing.
(They are capable of digging holes up to 20 feet deep!)
Rather than building the enclosure over pavers, concrete, or wood decking, consider building it over a layer of sand or dirt on top of the decking to provide a more natural setting for your fox.
Either you will need to slant the fencing in at the top or you will need to cover the entire enclosure with screening.
While playing indoors, your fennec will most likely jump on furniture and may even knock over decorations and other stuff as it runs around the house. As a result, it’s critical to store breakables and anything else that could cause harm to your pet.
Fennecs should always be kenneled when you are not able to oversee them because they have a proclivity to get into anything and everything.
If you don’t have access to an appropriate outside pen, you can utilize a dog cage indoors.
In addition, some fennecs can be taught to use a litter box when they are kept indoors. Because of its proclivity to dig, a covered box is the best option. (If this is not done, a lot of litter will fly out of the box.)
The training method consists in taking the fox to the litter box on a regular basis and rewarding it with loads of treats when it successfully uses the box.
If you want to train the fox to relieve itself outside, you can use the same technique. If your pet has an accident in the house, never reprimand him or her.
Fennec Fox Requirements That Are Specific
Maintain a dust-free floor of your fennec’s crate, as well as plenty of ventilation and low humidity levels.
You can line the floor with old newspaper to make it easier to clean and replace the carpeting and rugs.
What do Fennec Foxes eat and drink?
Fennec foxes are omnivores that consume a wide variety of meat and plants in the wild, including rodents, birds, insects, and fruit, among other things.
A commercial wild canid diet, which is what many zoos feed their fennec foxes as pets, is the best food for them to eat.
However, the majority of fennec owners feed their pets a combination of dog food, cat food, veggies, and fruit.
Making certain that a fennec’s diet has a proper amount of taurine, an amino acid that is essential for a variety of metabolic functions in the body, is very critical.
Consult your veterinarian about the appropriate amount and type of food for your fox, as this will vary depending on the fox’s age, size, and degree of activity.
Most owners give their pets food twice a day, though you should always follow your veterinarian’s advice.
Alternatively, you may just place the food in a bowl for your fox, or you can conceal some of it in a rewarding puzzle to provide mental stimulation for your pet. Additionally, keep a clean bowl of water available at all times.
Health Issues Related to Fennec Foxes
Before you even consider purchasing a fennec fox, you should check to see whether there is an exotic veterinarian in your area who is capable of caring for such a creature.
Fennecs require preventative maintenance in the same way as dogs do. They should be vaccinated against rabies, canine distemper virus, parvovirus, and adenovirus on a consistent basis.
Your veterinarian should be able to advise you on the best course of vaccinations to take. In addition to a yearly wellness exam, your veterinarian will advise you on deworming, heartworm prevention, and flea management as needed.
Fennecs commonly suffer from health issues that are comparable to those that many dogs suffer from.
They are more susceptible to renal, liver, and heart disease, particularly if their diet is inadequate. Lethargy and a lack of appetite are among the symptoms of these disorders, among others.
They can also become infected with skin illnesses and mites, as well as contracting intestinal parasites.
Skin infections are characterized by excessive itching, whereas intestinal parasites are characterized by abnormal stools, weight loss, and a lack of appetite.
Exercise Requirement for Fennec Foxes
Fennec foxes require a great bit of exercise, both inside and outside of your home, to remain healthy. Provide your fennec with plenty of areas to explore, climb, and play if you want him to be happy and healthy.
You can also allow your fennec to roam freely in a fenced yard, as long as the barrier is at least 5 to 6 feet high and secure.
However, you must continually keep an eye on your fox to ensure that it does not start climbing or digging beneath the fence. Additionally, you can bring your fox outside on a long leash and allow it to roam freely as long as it is under your direct watch.
Animals Species that are Similar to the Fennec Fox
- Russian Red Fox
Otherwise, check out other exotic animals that can be your new pet.
Is it simple to take care of a fennec fox?
Yes. If you provide your fennec with everything it requires to keep itself occupied and constantly monitor their enclosures and fences to ensure they are strong and safe, these big-eared foxes are rather easy to care for.
Is it possible to domesticate a fennec fox?
No. It is possible to interact with it and, if you’re lucky, train it to use a litter box, but it will always be considered a wild animal.
What is the average lifespan of a fennec fox kept as a pet?
In captivity, these desert foxes can live for up to 11 years.
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