Fennec Foxes can be leash-trained and litter trained.
The Fennec Fox,
(Vulpes zerda), (formerly aka Fennecus zerda), is from the arid regions of Northern Africa and is the smallest wild
canid today. At birth, these little fox are barely an ounce in weight and are covered with a light peach fuzz. Their skin
is charcoal gray where the dark markings will be in their hair when they are adults. At birth, their ears are folded over
just like domestic dog puppies and are sealed shut just like their eyes. They nurse their mother for about 10 weeks in an
At about 12-14 days their eyes open for the first time - their bright, jet black shiny eyes. If you
are hand-raising the pups, they will look you straight in the eye from the moment they open their eyes. It is an incredible
sensation when your own eyes make contact with theirs. The tiny ears stand up at about 2 weeks. But that is when the magic
begins. From that time on, it seems that the ears are the fastest growing part of their body. You can actually measure the
change daily. Within a short time they have full-sized ears and still have a small kit's body. The ears are a marvelous adaptation
of nature. As pups, you can see the blood vessels throughout their ears and it is thought that their blood circulating through
the ears is cooled - thereby helping to dissipate body heat during the hot part of the day.
Fennec males are good
dads and will help the mother protect her young but mom will not let the father interact with the pups until they start to
play at the den entrance at about 5-6 weeks. Fennec foxes, like many animals, somehow miraculously adjust the size and numbers
of their litters to the available food supply. Normally they produce only one litter a year of from 2-5 young. If the young
are killed, they will produce another litter if the food supply is plentiful.
They are sexually mature at about 9
months of age. As adults, they will weigh about 2 to 3.5 lb. They have a lovely, soft, thick coat of silky-textured fur. Their
under parts are off-white and the upper parts are light with a tawny to reddish glow. The tail is tipped with black. Their
whiskers, nose and eyes are black. Their faces are absolutely stunning to look at with the ultimate innocent look. They have
fur on the soles of their feet to protect the pads from hot sand and to help them travel in soft sand.
rapid diggers and are well noted for this feat. Natives tell a tale that they can disappear in the sand while standing still.
I do not know about that, but they can dig 20 feet in one night - I have seen that feat myself!
Coffee, Tea, Or ME? 3 week old baby Fennec Fox
Fennecs can make amazing animals
for zoo displays and animal educators. They are very fox-like in their movements being quick and agile. They are easily trainable
and fastidiously clean about their bodies. They can be trained to a litter box, similarly to a cat. We recommend a litter
box that has a protective shield, however, as they can scatter the litter great distances. Clumping litter may not be a good
choice for this species. We have had both good and bad luck with it. We find that it will sometimes adhere to the fur on their
foot pads, forming hard pieces that must be removed. Fennecs also have a habit of dragging their food from a dish to their
favorite spot in their enclosure. That could be the litter pan and if so, they will ingest some of the litter with their food.
Fennecs are diggers in the wild and that does not change in captivity. They need a release for this drive. We suggest
daily exercise from the age of weaning such as directing their energies to chasing and retrieving toys. We have taught them
to retrieve small soft dumbbells and toys. They bring them back and lay them on our feet - After they 'kill' the toy. They
are truly a joy.
Fennecs can make endearing companions if the owner is willing to train them to a leash. These, as
well as most exotics, should never be taken outside without a leash (if not in a container). Wild instincts are possible to
modify but never can be over-ridden. The instinct to search and hunt will over-ride their training and attachment for you
and they will scamper off in pursuit of a grasshopper or other fast moving creature without giving you a second thought at
the time. They could easily be lost in a flash.
We also find that the Fennec has little odor but if it is fed a diet
of raw meat the urine may develop a strong odor. We furnish a complete diet and care instructions with all of our animals.