What Do Fennec Foxes Eat? Nutrition & Diet Facts

Fennec foxes are one of the recognized species of foxes. They are small in size compared to other species. These foxes are mostly found in North Africa’s deserts. They are considered as the smallest canine species. Their adorable appearance has attracted many people and made them pet these animals. If these foxes have many differences compared to other fox species then many of you will wonder, what do fennec foxes eat? Is their food also different? Stick with us as we discuss these animals.

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat? Nutrition & Diet Facts

Facts About The Fennec Foxes

One thing that you’ll notice when you see these foxes, is their long pointed, over-sized ears relative to their body size. Their ears can grow up to 15cm in length. They use these large ears to aid their hearing and also their ears help them to control their body temperature in the aggressive environment in which they tend to live. Their large ears also help them to accurately hear their prey. They are nocturnal animals and this behavior helps to protect them against the aggressive heat of the African deserts and keep them safe from their predators. The male of them is called the reynard and the female is called the vixen.

These foxes are only 41cm in length and their weight is just 1.5 kg. Their tail is long and bushy and have a black tip at the end. Their tail helps them a lot to steer the direction when running. Also, it helps them to warm their feet and nose by covering them up with it. These foxes tend to curl up when they are sleeping in their dens.

Their fur is light and sandy colored which ensures their camouflage when they are out in the deserts. Their fur is long and thick which helps them get warm when the night temperature of the desert drops. Their long, sharp, and curled claws help them to dig their burrows much faster than the other foxes.

These foxes have several adaptations when it comes to surviving in the wild or the deserts. One of them is their furry feet. They fur on their feet which allows them to walk and run on the hot sand without any problem. 

Their group or the small communities are often called the skulk or leash. They consider their dens as their territory because their dens provide an individual or the couple a secure place to live within their community. These foxes tend to line their dens with soft feathers and fur to ensure that their den is kept warm. 

These Foxes Stay Close To Their Families

The foxes are more likely to thrive alone. Around 8 out of 10 of these foxes usually form groups called skulk to live. Their sibling from the previous litter as well as the current litter can be present in the skulk. The female fennec commonly has one litter of up to 6 kits.

These Foxes Will Eat Almost Anything

As you know foxes are opportunist eaters. Being an omnivorous creature they consume anything they find in the wild. Even they eat the eggs of small reptiles. But they mostly tend to eat high-moisture food like roots and leaves. 

These Foxes Breathe As Many As 690 Times Each Minute

The foxes have an average rate of 24 breaths per minute. These foxes begin to pant when the heat rises. During this period they can breathe at the rate of 690 breaths per minute. By doing this they keep their core temperature stable in the heat. For instance, a human can breathe only between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. 

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?

These Foxes Can Survive Without Open Water

Most wild animals need open water like lakes or rivers to survive. But these foxes can live up to years without drinking the water from these types of sources. They get their water need from the things they eat like rodents and roots. Also, they dring dew from their burrow walls. The adaptation of the loss of minimal water is the reason for this behavior. 

These Foxes Are Great At Digging

These foxes like to dig the burrows to live in. They can burrow up to 20 feet deep. They tend to hide in these tunnels to evade their main predator eagle owl. The female foxes line their burrows with the leaves before giving birth to the kits. 

Where Do The Fennec Foxes Live?

These foxes can be found inhabiting both semi-arid desert regions and the sandy regions across Northern Africa. They can be found in wide ranges from Morocco across to Egypt, East to Kuwait, and South to Sudan. They tend to dig extensive burrows with sandy dunes in the Sahara and Nubian deserts. Their population is not considered to be threatened as these foxes mostly live in the deserts and can survive easily in harsh hot environments. Plus, their habitats in the deserts are not threatened by humans as humans are not likely to disturb the deserts, and also not many animals tend to live in the deserts. 

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat? Nutrition & Diet Facts

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?

These foxes are omnivorous creatures. They tend to hunt for food during the cooler nights. Being an omnivorous creature they eat a variety of desert vegetation that includes roots, grasses, berries, small rodents, small reptiles, and also some fruits as well. Their strong hearing sense courtesy of their large ears helps them to hear the small mammals walking softly on the sand or burrowing. They are well adapted to the harsh conditions of the deserts. They fulfill their water needs through the vegetation they eat. Their kidney system is unique compared to other animals, it ensures that there is minimal loss of water in the day-to-day lives of these foxes. 

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?

Predators and Threats

They have only a few natural predators in their natural environment because they spend most of their daytime hours sleeping. Eagle owls are the main predators of them but they are preyed upon by other animals as well including the caracal, jackals, hyenas, and domestic dogs. Few fennec foxes are captured by humans to be sold in the pet trade due to their distinctive and adorable looks. Many humans tend to hunt them for their beautiful fur. 

Relationship With Humans

Most of these foxes live in deserts but some of them live in different regions as well because they can survive any harsh conditions. Many people adore their looks and have pet them. They are friendly with humans as they don’t hurt anyone until they feel threatened. They are not as energetic and don’t need much outdoor exercise. 

Most of these foxes are hunted for the pet trade. The foxes living in the local areas with human settlements increasing pose threats to their population. As the humans evolve their settlements, the foxes’ habitat will destroyed. 

Conservation Status and Life Today

IUCN has declared this species as the least concern from becoming extinct in the wild and the deserts. There are no known range-wide threats that result in the decrease in their population. Only in the local areas, their population is decreasing because of habitat loss.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

These foxes tend to mate between January and March. Once they find their mate, they mate with each other for life and inhabit the same den. Their gestation period is 52 days, after this period the vixen gives birth to between 2 and 5 kits. The kits are born with gray skin and they have just 50 grams of weight. Until 5 weeks, the kits tend to suckle their mother’s milk. The young kits tend to remain in the dens for two months, their dens are protected by their mother. They become fully mature at the age of 11 months. Their average lifespan in the wild is 12 years and in captivity, it could go up to 12 years. 

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?

Communications

They have developed excellent communication skills because they live in large groups. Mostly their groups have complex social dynamics like the humans have. They can produce a wide range of vocalizations in different scenarios. Their vocalizations don’t sound like little foxes would be expected to. 

FAQs

Are Fennec Foxes Herbivores or Omnivorous?

They tend to eat both plants and other animals which is why they are omnivorous.

What Kingdom Do The Fennec Foxes Belong To?

They belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What Class Do Fennec Foxes Belong To?

These foxes belong to the class Mammalia.

What Family Do These Foxes Belong To?

They belong to the family Canidae.

What Order Do These Foxes Belong To?

They belong to the order Carnivora.

What Genus Do They Belong To?

These foxes belong to the genus Vulpes.

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat Mostly?

Like other foxes, these foxes also eat small mammals mostly rodents and snakes. In the desert area, they mostly eat the roots. 

What is the Average Lifespan of these Foxes?

In the wild or the deserts, it’s up to 10 years but in captivity, they can live up to 14 years. 

How Many of these Foxes are Left?

Their exact population is still unknown.