Species: V. zerda
Common Names: Fennec Fox
Fennec foxes are found throughout the Sahara Desert in North Africa. Due to the intense heat during the daytime, they are more active at night. They live in dens that are dug into the sand dunes. These dens are complex tunnels that may have more than a dozen different entrance points. Multiple families may occupy the same den.
These foxes eat meat as well as plant material, making them omnivores. They eat small animals including rodents, reptiles, birds, and insects. They also eat fruits, leaves, and roots. Since water is scarce, most of their liquid intake comes from the animals they eat.
Fennec foxes are monogamous, meaning they have one mate for their entire life. They breed once yearly, with pregnancy lasting around 50 days. Their litters usually contain between one and four pups.
They have sandy colored fur to help camouflage them in their desert habitat. Their most noteworthy feature is their large ears. Proportionately, they have the largest ears in relation to their body size in the entire Canidae family. The ears are believed to help them hear better to locate prey, as well as help to dissipate heat in their arid desert habitat.
The name “fennec” comes from the Arabic word for fox, “fanak”.