Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Fennec Fox

Vulpes zerda

Fennec foxes are small African desert foxes that have evolved adaptations to survive the heat. They are easily distinguished by their tan fur and oversized ears, which help them listen for prey underground but also help them shed excess heat.

Range & Habitat

Fennec foxes live in arid regions of North Africa, the Sahara Desert, Sinai and Arabia. They prefer areas with adequate grasses and vegetation for den building.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Least Concern, however, their numbers are decreasing due to habitat loss, hunting and the illegal pet trade.


In the Wild: Fruit, leaves, roots, small rodents, birds, bird eggs, lizards and insects. At the Zoo: Canned protein (Science diet and Zupreem feline diet) and crickets. They also enjoy meal worms, fruit and vegetables.

Life Span

In the Wild: 10 years; In Human Care: 12-14 years.

Fun Facts about the Fennec Fox

  • Fennec foxes have ears that can measure up to 6 inches in length. They have the largest ear to body size ratio than any other candid family member. Their large ears help them regulate their body temperature and locate prey.
  • Fennec foxes have fur on the bottoms of their feet to protect their feet pads from the intense heat, and to provide extra traction when running.
  • Fennec foxes are nocturnal. They escape the outside heat by sleeping in their dens during the day and going out to hunt at night.
  • Like most desert dwellers, fennec foxes can go long periods without water.


Celebrating Wildlife and Wild Places. (2020). Retrieved May 14, 2020, from

Fennec fox. (2019, October 03). Retrieved May 14, 2020, from

Fennec Fox. (2020). Retrieved May 14, 2020, from

Updated September 26, 2020