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The Fennec Fox: Cuteness personified

I like to think of myself as immune to cute. When you have a love for the exotic, “cute”, can sometimes lead you to buy things that are anything but after owning them for a time. I will state here and now that I have a love for foxes. There is just something splendid about their various colors, those molten golden eyes, and an intelligence that radiates from their form.

I’ve already looked up local breeders, and even found the exact coat pattern I was looking for. I was all set to go, but I just had to do one last check to see if I was missing anything before I went to buy my new companion. In short, it was my misfortune, or possibly fortune if you look at it as a “glass half full“ angle, to stumble on a breeder that sold more than just your average fox, but also those known as “fennec foxes”. I was hopelessly smitten. That positively beautiful sand colored coat, those large radar dish like ears that give it’s appearance such personality, and the small stature, all did me in.

I was irrevocably ensnared by this tiny little fox.

As such, I wanted to give some information to anyone out there who finds one of these desert descended gems to be exactly what they’ve been looking for in a pet.

To start off, the Fennec fox is native to North Africa, more specifically the Sahara Desert region. They are the smallest foxes in the world, weighing in on average around two to three pounds. Their length from head to body is around 9.5-16in and a tail that measures approx. 7-12.2in. Their most distinctive feature is their large radar dish-like ears, typically measures 6in. The ears themselves are used to regulate body heat and keep the fox cool. They are nocturnal omnivores; feeding on insects, small mammals such as rodents and birds, eggs, and some vegetation. Like many desert dwellers, the Fennec has evolved to go long periods of time without water.

Fennec foxes have a dense, thick coat that insulates them from the cold of the desert night, to protecting them from the heat of a Sahara day. Their feet are also quite furry. This is an evolutionary adaptation that protects their feet from scorching desert sands, and acts as a shovel to aid in the excavation of dens.

A community dweller, they live in groups of up to ten individual foxes. Like their canid cousins, mating season brings out the male fennecs competitively aggressive tendencies. During their mating season, the males mark their territory with urine.

Laws regarding ownership of these wonderful animals vary by city, county and state. I cannot stress enough the importance of researching about ownership laws. It would be a shame to pay so much money, only to have the animal confiscated due to illegal ownership. The foxes absolutely need to be vaccinated for rabies, distemper and parvo. As wild fox populations in North America are notorious for carrying those diseases.

With a price tag of, on average, $2,500, you’ll have plenty of time to study the needs, personality, and maintenance of these wonderful foxes. Please purchase from reputable, federally licensed breeders such as Her track record in excellence is why, when I manage to ferret away the extra cash, I will buy from her only. It is also imperative to purchase hand reared fox kits. Those kits that are parent reared DO NOT make good pets. Those that are wild caught are even worse. It is your responsibility as a prospective buyer to purchase from reputable breeders only. Do your homework folks, an ounce of research now saves you from a bad experience later.

Above all else, if you have legally and responsibly attained a Fennec fox, enjoy it! The little bugger can be taught basic tricks, be potty pad trained, and can make an excellent pet.


  • Amy 5 years ago

    As a past owner of these amazing little animals- all I can say is YEA, they can be great pets. I had a breeding pair, very handleable, and so were their offspring. The big ears and black eyes with the cunning of a fox, speed of light, size of a chihuahua and snuggliness of a puppy is an experience forever etched in my mind. Maybe again someday, wish they lived forever. Fennec Farm in Florida (many, many moons ago)had awesome temperament foxes available. Shipping back then by Delta Dash was fast and not very stressful for animals.

  • Wendy 5 years ago

    HELLO--any compassionate animal lover knows that no matter what the laws say it is WRONG to have a fennec fex or ANY exotic (translation: WILD) animal as a pet. There's no such thing as a domestic fennec fox--come on, people.

  • Joel 5 years ago

    I am a new owner of a 8 week old female fennec fox. She is an amazing pet! I must have read every snippet I could find on the internet before finding a reputable breeder, getting on her waiting list, and buying my fox. I am finding that her behavior however is very similar to that of chihuahua puppies (which my extended family has raised several of)and not nearly as "wild" as a domestic Abyssinian kitten I used to own! I would say that they truly are a combo of both puppy and kitten behavior-wise. Fennecs bred in the US all come from USDA breeders and have generations of "kept" parents... so they are not really "wild" animals. It has been illegal to import fennecs for many years now in the US. If you are interested in owning a fennec fox and have done the research and can afford to pay for the animal and its upkeep... I would say do NOT let people who are against ownership of exotic pets (which means anything but a domestic dog or cat) convince you otherwise!

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