Desert Foxes

Desert Foxes

It is said that the desert fox, also known as the fennec fox, can hear a mouse’s heartbeat under the desert sand. Found in North Africa, the Sinai Peninsula and in the Arabian desert, these small foxes have enormous ears compared to their body size.They use their ears not only to hunt but to disperse the searing desert heat. They are the smallest foxes on earth, even smaller than a typical house cat. But they’re highly social and are a favorite among exotic pet owners because they fit right in with the family.

Here’s an adorable, short video of two young Algerian girls playing with a desert fox in the desert. Awesome. This short 2-minute, BBC video is an excellent introduction to desert foxes. In this short video, a desert fox hunts (and fails to catch) a jerboa. 

FunFacts about Desert Foxes: (Source) (Source)  

  • The desert fox is the Fennec Fox.
  • Desert foxes mate for life.
  • They are primarily noted for their huge ears in contrast to their small bodies. The ears can be as long as six inches contrasted with an average body length of 9-16 inches.
  • Basic info, quote: The fennec fox or fennec (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, South West Israel (Arava desert) and the Arabian desert. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Berber word (fanak), which means fox, and the species name zerda comes from the Greek word xeros which means dry, referring to the fox’s habitat. (Source)
  • The desert fox belongs to the family Canidae.
  • Members of the Canidae family are dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, and dingoes.
  • The desert fox’s main predator is the African variety of the eagle owl.
  • The desert fox can live up to fourteen years in captivity.
  • Desert foxes create huge underground dens where they live, up to over 1200 square feet or 120 square meters. They adjoin other dens as well.
  • Because of the number of sightings of desert foxes, it is believed they are not at all endangered.
  • The desert fox is very small and weighs an average of only 1.5 to 3.5 pounds or 0.68–1.59 kg.
  • The soles of the desert fox’s feet are covered with thick fur which protects it against the intense desert heat.
  • Desert foxes bark, snarl and make a purring sound similar to cats.
  • The basic family unit is a mated pair, their current offspring and frequently the previous litter.
  • The desert fox can live without drinking water. The kidneys are well-adapted for desert life and the fox can get the water it needs through the food it consumes.
  • Desert foxes are omnivores.
  • Desert foxes can be kept as pets as long as the kits have been lovingly handled from a very early age. Other than the Russian domesticated fox, the desert fox is the only fox fit to become a household pet.
  • Though very small, this fox can jump two feet high and launch four feet forward while hunting.
  • Desert foxes are very social and engage in play even as adults.

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(Photos from Pixabay)

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May winners: B.N. and Debra G.

April Winners: Shannon C., Marie S., Melanie C., and Catedid!

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To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about Desert Foxes. Have you ever seen one? What do you think of those ears? Which photo did you like best? Feel free to share whatever comes to mind and share from the heart.

*** And tell us where you’re from! I’m from Buckeye, Arizona, not far from Phoenix. (That’s the Desert Southwest, USA.) ***

Above all: Live the fang!!!

45 thoughts on “Desert Foxes

  1. I’ve seen pictures of desert foxes before, but I never realized they were so small! They’re very cute with those huge ears but I’m amazed that they can survive without drinking water.

  2. Caris I loved this blog. I have never known about these beautiful small foxes. I have always thought that the regular foxes that are red and in the woods were pretty but these are so unique. Without your blog I would never had learned about something that is so amazing. That they can be pets is also an interesting idea. I had my raccoon and I loved him dearly but I think I would love to have one of these as I they are so unusual. Thank you so very much for all the wonderful stuff that you write about in your blogs so that we can learn new things. Since I live here in the desert, I think I could be a good candidate to adopt one. What do you think? I know I don’t always leave you messages but if the content is interesting enough I try to do so. I wasn’t sure how much I would be interested in reading a blog but you have converted me. Caris I can’t thank you enough for the pleasure that you bring to me.

    • Julia,
      What a wonderful shout-out! Thank you! I love doing these blogs because I always come across the most fascinating information.

      As for having one (or several) as a pet, I think they’d be wonderful, but you must be guided by your own research and perhaps even a conversation with your veterinarian. They might have more critical information that might not be found on the web.

      Here’s another video link. I didn’t include it originally because while the first half is very good, the second half is kind of frustrating to watch. See what you think. The owners are training their fox to ‘sit’. Adorable.

      Good luck!
      Buckeye Arizona USA

  3. Love, love, love the pictures. I so love these animals. I can’t decide which pictures I like the best as they all speak to me. As a lover of big ear animals, I’m smitten. I wonder if their ears are heavy in comparison to their tiny heads? Take a moment and imagine what it would be like to be inside that little body and have a world of sound so close. I want one.

  4. I loved this blog the desert fox are so well adapted to their desert homes,they aresicute with the huge earsand so small. Am so happy that they are not believed to be endangered.
    I am an Aussie, from a suburb just 30mins from the capital of Adelaide, South Australia. We are also a desert state, not only that but have one of the largest opal mines state……. A lot of the opal miners make their home underground as the temperatures in Summer are hot really, VERY HOT.

  5. Here is just another reason why I look forward to reading your newsletters. The Desert Fox article and pictures is just fascinating and I had to share this with family. Thank you ever so much for the work you put into your newsletters and blog.

  6. These little ones are fascinating. I liked the first picture best. Those ears are amazing. Thanks so much!

  7. Reading this blog is like watching a nature show on PBS! So informative! Shows me things I never dreamed about and yet want to know more. Thank you for teaching us all of our beautiful planet. This week’s bracelet is stunning!

  8. They are just so cute and those ears, I think of a bat when I see them. Thanks for the photos and information.

  9. I love the pictures of the Desert Fox. They are cute and I can’t believe that they are smaller then a typical house cat. I loved reading this article of yours about the Desert Fox , I found it interesting and fascinating.

    • Lynn,
      That made me laugh! “What big ears you have!” And they are soooo big!

      Still chuckling,
      Buckeye Arizona USA

  10. Oh my goodness!!!!. How adorable are these foxes. The first video was one of the cutest things I’ve seen!! Never knew there were fixed that little. This has to be a 10 on the adorable scale.

  11. They are so little it’s a wonder they can survive. I

    I like that they mate for life, that’s better than most humans.

    • Sue,
      I actually had the thought that they were the Chihuahua of foxes! Seems you had a similar thought! Great minds…

      Buckeye Arizona USA

  12. I’ve never seen one but they are really cute. I love the photo where the one is on the others back ;).

  13. Aren’t they just adorable and I’ve never seen one. Those ears! They are so big but as brought out, so needed for their environment. Thanks for sharing this. You find such amazing things to write about. I sure have learned a lot from your blogs and hope you continue doing this for a long time! AZ

  14. Thanks for sharing the information on the desert foxes .
    My nephew volunteers at the local zoo and shares what he learns about the animals he is working with.

  15. I love fennec foxes! I discovered them recently and couldn’t stop looking at the pictures of the babies. They are just too cute! I actually got one of my nieces a stuffed one for her birthday in February.

  16. The ears make it seem like they haven’t grown up yet, and baby animals are so cute. Didn’t know they were so small.

    Alberta , Canada

  17. wow what cute foxes and so many nice pics of the my fav was the few you had of them all sleeping together on the roof lol thanks for the info my granddaughter loved the pics kept making me to back to look at them lol <3

  18. OMG look at those EARS!!! These little critters are so freaking adorable! Did you know that biologists are now saying that cats and foxes may be related? The fox is possibly a link between cats and wolves. I can believe it, looking at these guys’ paws; they kind of look like a Sphynx cat’s paws.

  19. Totally adorable! I loved how the fox was playing with the little girl, then made a spot for itself right beside her when she sat down. You can’t go wrong picking any of the pictures.

  20. The Fennec Foxes are adorable. I once lived in an area that had a protected species. They lived on the campus of the university and on the golf course near my apartment. One night one of the local foxes followed my neighbor to her door as she carried a pizza.

    The San Joaquin (SJ) kit fox was once a thriving species in the 1930s, making their home in native grasslands of the Central Valley. In 1967 the federal government listed them as an endangered species and in 1971 California also listed them as threatened. SJ kit foxes play an important role in the ecosystem, but because they are adapting to changes in the landscape that are caused by urban development, sometimes humans find themselves in conflict with this typically shy and fearful animal. The cities of Bakersfield, Taft and Coalinga are unique because kit foxes have become established in those urban settings.

    Sharing is caring.

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