Fennec

From Academic Kids

Fennec
Conservation status: Unknown
Missing image
Vulpes_zerda_sitting.jpg
Fennec Fox


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Canidae
Genus:Vulpes
Species:V. zerda
Binomial name
Vulpes zerda
(Zimmermann, 1780)

The Fennec is a small fox found in the desert of Northern Africa (excluding the coast) which have distinctive oversized ears. Although some authorities classify this as the only species of the genus Fennecus*, it is shown here in the genus Vulpes.

Contents

Description

The Fennec is the smallest canid, only weighing up to 1.5 kg. The fox is 20 cm tall at the shoulder, with a body length of up to 40 cm. The tail is an additional 25 cm or so, and the ears can be 15 cm long. The animals are often a sandy color to blend in with their desert surroundings.

The large ears serve to help dissipate heat. The coat can repel sunlight during the day and conserve heat at night. The soles of the feet are protected from the hot sand by thick fur.

Habits

The Fennec is nocturnal. During the night, it will hunt for rodents, insects (such as locusts), lizards, and birds and eggs. The Fennec gets most of its water from food, but will sometimes eat berries and leaves as an additional source of water.

Fennecs live in large dens (extending up to 10 meters), often with several foxes.

Reproduction

In the spring, after about 50 days of gestation, a female fennec will give birth to a litter of 2-5 young. The young will rely on their mother's milk for about a month.

Population

The fennec is rare and is not often seen. It is often hunted by humans, even though the fox does not cause any harm to human interests.

Domestication

The fennec is the only variety of fox which can properly be kept as a pet. Although they cannot be considered completely domesticated, they can be kept in a similar manner to dogs, although care must be taken to ensure that they do not escape; since they are adept diggers, outdoor pens and fences must be extended many feet below ground. Escaped fennec foxes are extremely difficult to recapture.

Pet fennecs are usually very friendly towards strangers and other household pets. However, they are extremely active, and need outlets for their energy; they may exhaust other household pets with their excessive playfulness.

It may be illegal to own a fennec in many areas. Check with local animal control authorities before considering having a fennec as a pet. Also ensure that a local veterinarian will be able to provide vaccinations and any necessary medical care. Furthermore, consider that fennecs are not often able to be housebroken.

* The name "fennec" apparently comes from the Arabic word for fox. "Zerda" may come from Greek and mean "dry", a reference to its habitat.bg:Фенек da:Fennek de:Fennek et:Fennekrebane it:Fennec la:Fennecus nl:Fennek pl:Fenek pt:Feneco fi:Aavikkokettu

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