On a scale of 0-Cute these little foxes are MAX cuteness!
Since fennec foxes fall under the exotic pet category there are some things that need to be clarified (such as legality, costs, and diet) and we hope to provide you with enough information to understand what it takes to own fennec foxes as pets.
Can you keep fennec foxes as pets? Fennec foxes are an exotic pet, which means that it is legal to own them in some states and not in others. You need to check the up to date laws in your state. Like many other exotic pets, they can be very pricy to obtain (thousands of dollars) and their care goes beyond a regular pet like a cat or dog.
They are very tiny creatures, weighing only 2-3 pounds, that’s smaller than some cats! Fennec foxes are often referred to as the desert fox, because of the region where they originated.
Their fur is a tan and cream color that helps deflect the sun and keep them warm in the cold desert nights. Their undersides are white, and their tails are bushy and black-tipped.
|Species: Vulpes zerda|
|Regions: Africa, Arabia, Desert|
|Regions: Africa, Arabia, Desert|
|Endangered status: Unknown|
Fennec foxes are a fox that until recently, very little was known. They come from the desert regions of Africa and Arabia. Unlike other foxes, who have been studied in the wild, not much is known about their lives in the desert.
This means most of the information on fennec foxes come from ones that are kept in captivity and as pets.
Fennec Fox Facts
- They are tiny! They weigh only 2-3 pounds
- Their huge ears are a great asset in the dessert
- Fennec foxes can run up to 20 miles per hour!
- Their main diet consists of insects
- They are legal to keep as pets in some states
These little guys are the smallest of all the species of foxes. They grow to be only around 2-3 pounds.
In the natural environment where they thrive (the desert) they use their huge ears to listen for insects, rodents, and even to be alerted by predators.
Despite their tiny size fennec foxes can run up to 20 miles per hour! Talk about speed racer.
Their diets mainly consist of insects, making them insectivores and omnivores, however, they also eat vegetation and small rodents.
They are legal to keep as pets in some states, laws change regularly, so if you are considering them as a pet make sure you check your state for up to date laws.
Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets?
As in the case of many exotic pets, people sometimes ask if they make good pets even though they could have special diets, needs, and exhibit wild behavior.
To answer this question, you must first ask yourself a few other questions.
- Do you have the finances to raise an exotic pet?
- Do you have the energy to take care of an energetic pet?
- Is it even legal in your state to own a fennec fox?
- Can you keep up with a special diet and veterinarian visits?
These are all valid questions for most exotic pets. When owning an exotic pet there are usually way more conditions that go into raising a wild or tamed animal.
Due to a 50-year long domestication program from Siberia, some foxes have been domesticated. However, most foxes that are kept as pets are just tamed animals and not domesticated.
What does that mean? A tamed animal has been raised by humans and they have learned to live among them without hurting them, biting them or being too aggressive (for the most part).
Tamed animals can exhibit wild behavior, such as scratching and biting. They will oftentimes urinate and poop anywhere, even if they have been potty trained. They usually do this out of excitement not out of fear or anger.
Lastly, foxes are high energy pets. They will tear up almost anything, furniture, toys, structures, and housing.
While it is up to you to decide if fennec foxes would make a good pet for you, I would say that a lot of work and care goes into raising them.
This might be too much for some, but that is the thing with exotic pets, some people don’t care and just want to have them and share a bond with them.
Can Fennec Foxes Be Potty Trained?
Fennec foxes can in some cases be trained to use a litter box, but I wouldn’t expect them to use it every single time.
I have interviewed multiple pet fox owners of different species of foxes and one of the biggest problems with pet foxes is that they cannot be truly potty trained, and in most cases aren’t suitable for indoors.
They have an ammonia type smell and put out a lot of odors when kept inside or brought inside for any long period of time.
How Long Do Fennec Foxes Live?
In the wild foxes have very short life spans, 1-2 years. This is because mother nature can be very hard on its creatures. It is thought that fennec foxes in the wild live up to 10 years, considerably longer than other species.
In captivity, a fennec fox can live up to 14 years, with the right care.
In the wild, they have predators that feed on them, and they themselves must constantly be on the hunt for their own prey.
On top of that foxes can have accidents that hurt them (falling, wounds from scrapping with other animals) and can cause them severe health problems.
While not much information is available on fennec foxes in the wild, we do have information that has been gathered about them from sanctuaries and pet fox owners.
Luckily with the right care, diet, and housing, fennec foxes live very long lives.
Fennec Fox Behavior
For being such small animals’ fennec foxes have a TON of energy. If you are considering fennec foxes as pets, then you will need to be able to keep up with their active lifestyle.
They zip around their housing and enclosures like a tiny tornado!
Heavy panting is a useful tool in the desert and allows fennec foxes to cool off by breathing up to a rate of 600 breaths per minute!
They are very noisy. Most foxes are. They have a wide array of noises that they make such as little eeps, screeching, yapping, high pitched barking, howling and more.
As mentioned, they can be litter trained, but that doesn’t mean they won’t poop and pee everywhere when they get excited.
Out of all the foxes, these cute little suckers seem to get the most excited, like they just drank 5 expressos in a row!
They do make great companion animals. Foxes love to be loved. They usually do well with other pets and cultivate bonds with their human caretakers, other fennec foxes, and other pets.
Most animals that are kept as pets need a friend, while you can own just one fennec fox, I would suggest having at least two.
Or at least having them in a house where there are other pets and humans to interact with them as an outlet for all that energy.
What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?
The answer to this question might surprise you. The best method for feeding animals that have not been domesticated is to mimic their diets in the wild.
Fennec foxes in the wild mostly eat insects! Like, cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms and (get ready for this) scorpions!
They also eat small rodents and smaller mammals such as baby chicks, gerbils and mice.
I believe it is best to keep up with the mimicking diet. You will want to keep a fresh supply of crickets and worms when feeding a fennec fox.
As well as wild meats, like rabbits, baby chicks, raw chicken. Foxes need Taurine in their diets, this is only found in wild animals.
If you do not feed them a raw animal diet then you will need to supplement the Taurine, which you can buy, and you may need to give them Taurine even with a raw diet.
You can feed them a few different types of worms, silkworms, mealworms, and phoenix worms.
Their daily diet needs to consist of a balanced number of insects, raw meat, and supplements. They also need a small amount of vegetables and fruit, usually, just a few teaspoons, such as sweet potatoes, pitted cherries and carrots.
Fruits are usually used as special treats.
You can add things like calcium and Taurine if they are not getting enough in their diets.
You need to make sure you supply them with clean fresh water every single day!
How much does a fennec fox diet cost per month? Their diets can cost anywhere from $80-$200 per month. The amount you will spend feeding them depends on how much the price of their foods is in your area. You will oftentimes need to have the meats shipped to you.
Fennec Fox Babies
When it comes to the litter size of fennec foxes, they usually have around 2-5 kits (fennec fox babies are known as kits).
Their gestation period is between 50-53 days and fennec foxes usually only have their kits once a year.
During the rutting season, the males get very aggressive, like most wild animals. They will mark many spots with their urine, letting all the others know who’s in charge.
Fennec foxes do not re-home very well, they usually become very fond of the one who raises them from birth.
For this reason, we would recommend to those who are looking into getting fennec foxes as pets to reach out to a breeder about getting a fennec fox baby/kit.
The mother and father help raise the kits. They are generally very good parents!
In the wild, they can have very large families and large underground dens with up to 10 openings.
How much do fennec Foxes Cost?
Their costs can vary by breeders, but you should expect to pay around $1,500 to $3,000.
We cannot stress enough to make sure that the laws in your state allow you to own a fennec fox before you even think about how much they cost.
If your state doesn’t allow you to own fennec foxes as pets, then you will be breaking the law by obtaining one.
Their feeding costs are around $80-$200 dollars a month, per fox. This amount can vary depending on how much their food sources cost in your area.
Housing costs can also vary, you should always give animals plenty of space. Although they can be kept in a room.
Some housing costs are as follows:
- Enclosure (either indoor or outdoor)
- Cages (they will need individual cages)
- Feeding bowls and water dishes
There are some other costs that come with keeping any pets, such as toys, leashes, and other pet items.
Fennec Fox Housing
You will need to have dedicated spaces for your fennec foxes to live. They will need a room or outdoor enclosure.
If you are keeping them in a room, know that they do have an odor and will also destroy things by clawing and biting things such as door frames, the bottoms of doors and baseboards.
They have a ton of energy and need space to run around. If you are using a room to keep them, you must make sure it is big enough for them to get their exercise and have comfortable bedding.
You will need a kennel if you leave them alone, they will get into and destroy all kinds of things if left completely unsupervised.
If you are keeping them outside you need to keep a few things in mind. Fennec foxes dig, a lot.
It’s their instinct to dig. Foxes build dens in the wild and will dig dig dig. If you are keeping them in an outdoor enclosure, make sure that you have adequate fencing that is buried into the ground.
Make everything in the enclosure dig proof. You must also keep the enclosure covered up top, they will climb to escape.
Fennec foxes are escape artists, they will dig, climb and scratch their way out of almost anything that is not secure.
Keeping them in pens outdoors is fine if the fencing in the ground goes deep and the top of the main enclosure is covered.
Health and Care
When keeping fennec foxes as pets you will need to stay in touch with their needs and health.
Exotic pets are expensive, and they often need special care and attention.
Loving and caring for your fennec fox is the top priority for them. They are social animals and need a lot of attention.
You need to be in tune with their dietary needs and health.
You should contact an exotic pet veterinarian to find out exactly what kind of requirements go into keeping your fox healthy.
One thing you can do to be proactive is to keep a fox book (a health journal). You can write down and keep track of their weight, age, and diet. You can also use it as a journal to record your awesome journey as a pet fox owner.
Things to look for with their health:
- Weight (are they losing or gaining weight)
- Diet (are they having any eating issues)
- Check their urine, and stool/poop
If your fox is gaining too much weight to the point where they are getting fat you will know to cut back on their fatty foods.
If that does not work, you will need to consult an exotic pet veterinarian, the same goes for if they are frail and losing weight.
If they are being picky about what they are eating, consider changing it up a little. Go from roaches to more worms or vise versa.
You should also check their urine and stool, for things like urine crystals (you can feed them cranberry extract to help fix this).
If their stool has too much vegetable matter in it, then you will know to cut back on the amount of vegetables they are getting (they need to digest everything).
See more about Fox Behavior.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Little is known about how many fennec foxes live in the wild. Unlike other foxes, the information we have is gathered from sanctuaries since no large-scale studies have not been done.
Fennec foxes are very small foxes. They have not been known to be dangerous to other pets. They generally get along with both cats and dogs.
Fennec foxes are nocturnal animals, however, they adapt well to human sleep schedules when they are kept as pets.
It is legal to own fennec foxes in some states, but not others. Check the up-to-date laws in your state or region.