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Fennec Foxes as Pets

What to Expect From a Pet Fennec Fox

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The fennec fox, also known as the desert fox, is a beautiful, small member of the canine family. Fennec foxes can be kept as pets, although they are not very common. They are petite, save for their enormous ears. They behave much like dogs, but since they are not domesticated they do require careful socialization as well as precautions against escape. As always, before deciding on adopting one of these beautiful little animals, be sure you will legally be allowed to keep them where you live.

Fennec foxes have a mature weight of just 2 - 3.5 pounds, with a soft, thick, short coat that is off white on the underside and reddish or tawny on the back, with some black markings on the back and tail. They are very active, quick and agile, and have a high pitched yelp. These foxes are nocturnal in the wild although pet fennecs adapt somewhat to their owner's schedule. They are clean animals and can be litter trained, although owners have varied opinions on how easily.

In the wild, fennec foxes are omnivores, eating a diet of insects, rodents, plants, fruit, and reptiles. The ideal diet for pet fennec foxes would probably be a commercial wild canid diet (such as zoos would feed), but most owners will feed a mix of dog food, cat food, vegetables and fruit with good success. Some breeders will alternatively recommend a diet of raw meat, vegetables, and a vitamin mix.

Fennecs are very active and need an outlet for their energy. They are curious, and will get into anything and everything. They are also known for their digging. Outdoor enclosures must be designed to prevent them from digging under or climbing over the fence, both of which they will do quite readily. Burying a significant portion of the fence and turning the fence in at the top (or completely covering the enclosure) should prevent escape. Some owners have taught them to fetch like dogs, and this makes a good outlet for their energy. If out of a secure yard, however, they must be leashed. They are extremely quick and if they run after something as they would in the wild they can be very difficult to recapture. As long as adequate shelter is provided they are fairly tolerant of both hot and cold weather. One of their favorite activities is basking in the sun.

Fennec foxes are quite similar to dogs, and hand raised pups are usually docile, only biting if feeling cornered or threatened. They can be trained to a leash and to come when called (still, they should always be leashed when out of the house/yard). They are also generally not afraid of strangers and are friendly to everyone. They may bother other pets in the household, if only because fennec foxes will want to play with them all the time.

Also be sure to have a veterinarian available who will treat fennec foxes. They are quite hardy animals, but will require vaccination against standard canine diseases and medical care similar to a dog.

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