Fennec Fox

Fennec Foxes are a ZooBorns Hit

Fennec fox

Time for a ZooBorns classic: Fennec Foxes! These little newborns were recently photographed at Everland Zoo in Seoul, Korea, by zoo photographer In Cheryl Kim. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that a Fennec Fox photo by In Cheryl Kim was the number one cutest picture featured on our website, single-handedly bringing 500,000 new visitors to the ZooBorns website. (See those top 25 photos here.) The Fennec Fox has since become our mascot. To browse through our previous Fennec Fox posts— they are truly adorable—click here.

Fennec Foxes are endemic to the Sahara Desert, where their big ears let them detect insects dancing across the sand at night and fur lined paws protect them from scorching hot sand during the day. They are the smallest species of canid in the world. And there's good news: the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Fenne Fox as a species of Least Concern, meaning that they are common throughout their range and don't seem to be declining. 

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Fennec foxPhoto credits: In Cheryl Kim / Everland Zoo

Shy Fennec Fox Kits Emerge at Artis Zoo

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Caretakers at Artis Zoo in Amsterdam are keeping an eye out for kits in their Fennec Fox exhibit. The mother has quietly given birth to at least two male kits since July 2nd, but it still isn't clear exactly how many have been born. Every now and then, caretakers have caught a glimpse of some kits and heard little squeaks coming from behind stumps and other hiding places.

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Photo credits: Ronald van Weeren / Artis Zoo

Fennec Foxes live in the deserts and semi-arid lands of northern Africa. Also called the Desert Fox, their most notable feature are their ears, which are enormous in proportion to their body size. An adult Fennec Fox measures about 16 inches (40 cm) in body length and has ears six inches (15 cm) long. These huge ears are used for cooling the body of excess heat and for locating prey, such as lizards, insects, and eggs, buried deep under the desert sand. Fennec Foxes are a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation's Red List of Threatened Species. 

Meet Little Moose, Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Newest Fennec Fox Kit

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County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo staff to introduce their newest Fennec Fox kit. Born on the afternoon of March 23 to parents Rhiona and Copper, he weighed approximately 40 grams (that's less than a hard-boiled egg). Regardless of his diminutive size, he was named Moose! Today, at just about two months old, he's half-grown at 455 grams. Mahoney said, “It’s great to see yet another testament of the zoo staffs’ dedication to furthering animal conservation and protecting endangered species.”

Ted Fox, Curator and Zoo Director siad, “Fennec Fox parents are very cautious and elusive during the kit rearing process. Due to their acute hearing and sensitivity, reproduction of Fennec Foxes in a zoological setting is a challenge. Hand-raising this kit will habituate him to close contact with humans, helping him to become a confident and well-adjusted adult.”

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Fen port

Photo Credit: Photos 1,2: Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Photo 3: CNY News

Fennec Foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. One of the smallest of canines, Fennec Foxes are well built for their natural habitat. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well. Their distinctive bat-like ears act like natural air conditioners, radiating heat away from their bodies, and allowing them to hear the movements of predators and prey over long distances. They have long, thick hair that insulates them during cold nights and protects them from the hot sun during the day. Even the bottoms of their feet are hairy, which acts as a barrier against the extremely hot sand in their native desert environment.

Read More after the fold:

Continue reading "Meet Little Moose, Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Newest Fennec Fox Kit" »

New Bloodline of Fennec Foxes Born at Taronga Zoo

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Australia's Taronga Zoo welcomed three Fennec Fox infants, the first to be born to a new breeding pair from Europe. The kits, which are just starting to emerge from their nest box, were born on December 19, 2012, a year after the zoo introduced their parents, Zinder and Kibali, a new breeding couple from Europe.

Carnivore Keeper Tamara Bell said, “Any new arrival is special, but what makes these Fennec kits even more important is that they’re the first offspring born to Zinder, the male who came from Germany, and Kebilli, the female from Poland. This means that these kits are not related to any of the Fennec Foxes here in Australia.” 

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Photo Credit: Rick Stevens

Aside from expanding the genetics in the Australasian region, the young Fennec Foxes have also provided a boost to the captive population of the species, which dropped to only six throughout Australia prior to 2010.

Fennec Foxes are the smallest of the canines, growing up to only 16 inches (40 cm) and weighing up to 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg's). Their distinct feature is their large ears that dissipate body heat and keep them cool. Commonly found in the deserts of Sahara and North Africa, Fennec Foxes are burrowing animals that dig tunnels as deep as 15 feet (4.5 m), where their kits are reared.  

Read more about the kits, and see more pictures, after the fold:

Continue reading "New Bloodline of Fennec Foxes Born at Taronga Zoo" »

Meet Rosamond Gifford Zoo's First Baby Fennec Foxes in 21 Years!


Syracuse, New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced today the first birth of Fennec Fox kits in 21 years. The birth is a great breeding success for a species which is notoriously difficult to reproduce. Fennec Foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well.

Their large ears not only help them locate insects, but they also help them to dissipate the harsh desert heat. Long, bushy tails serve as built in scarves which Fennecs wrap around their noses to keep warm when temperatures drop at night.



Photo credit: Amelia Beamish, taken at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Fennec Foxes are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) - a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival.

See many more pictures and learn more beneath the fold...

Continue reading "Meet Rosamond Gifford Zoo's First Baby Fennec Foxes in 21 Years!" »

Florida's Fennec Fox Count Forges Ahead by Five


Palm Beach Zoo's newest arrivals are 5 Fennec Fox kits. The kits are approximately 7 weeks old, though their exact age isn't known, since they were safely tucked away in an underground burrow until earlier this month when they began to venture out to meet their adoring public.

Fennec Foxes are one of the smallest fox species. Large ears allow the Fennec to hear the movements of its enemies and prey over long distances, which is very important for a desert animal. It can even hear its prey moving underground. Fennec Foxes can be found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas. Fennecs avoid the worst heat of the desert by living in burrows during the day and emerging only in the cool of the night. They dig their burrows at the base of small hills or in other places where moisture is likely to be retained for long periods of time. Despite the desert's lifeless appearance, there are in fact a large number of animal species available for the Fennec to feed on. Scorpions, spiders and beetles make up the majority of the Fennec's diet in the wild.





Photo credits: Palm Beach Zoo / Brett Bartek


The Palm Beach Zoo actively participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for fennec foxes and has exhibited the species since 1995. Since then, the zoo has had nine successful births bringing the grand total of fennec foxes on zoo grounds to 13. Initiated in 1981 by the AZA, Species Survival Plans strive to manage chosen species and help maintain healthy, diverse populations that may become self‐sustaining in the future. SSPs also assist with field projects in home range areas, help educate the public, and provide funding for research and reintroduction of animals back into the wild, when appropriate.

Lulu and Roscoe Romp Through Milwaukee County Zoo

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Meet Lulu and Roscoe, the Milwaukee County Zoo's newest Fennec Fox kits. Born January 27th, the cubs recently made their public debut accompanied by mom, Daisy, and father, Duke. Fennec foxes' oversized ears act like natural air conditioners, radiating heat away from their bodies and cooling their blood in the light desert breeze. Their ears also help detect tasty prey at night, including small insects scurrying nearly-silently atop the sand.

Keepers describe the kits as very playful, enjoying their toys and rough-housing with each other. 

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Fennec_fox_kits_4-12-12 (22)Photo credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Meet Bella and Bill, The Baby Fennec Foxes


Safari West in Santa Rosa, California is now home two two six-week-old Fennec Fox kits. Bella, is pictured above and last with Bev Baily, Animal Collections Manager for Safari West. Bill, Bella's brother, is seen having his breakfast in the second picture. Nocturnal hunters, fennec foxes detect tasty insects and small rodents with their ridiculously oversized ears.


Photo credits: Safari West

Fennec Friday!

Twice in one week, the Everland Zoo's photographer, In Cherl Kim, has delivered outstanding photos of one of our favorite animals - this time it's the inimitable Fennec Fox! This small nocturnal fox's oversized ears help it track down tasty critters in the dark and also help it dissipate heat in the hot desert sun. An unanticipated tertiary benefit of the Fennec's huge ears was instant celebrity status on ZooBorns. In accredited North American zoos, Fennec Fox breeding is carefully managed by a Species Survival Plan, administered by the St. Louis Zoo. The first two pictures were taken just three days ago, while the second two pictures depict an older kit back in September.

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Baby fennec fox pup everland zoo 1

Baby fennec fox pup everland zoo 1

Baby fennec fox pup everland zoo 1

Family Portrait

Baby fennec fox pup everland zoo 1

Photo credits: In Cherl Kim / Everland Zoo

If these aren't reason enough to plan a trip to Korea and the Everland Zoo, we're not sure what is.