Fennec Fox Dies at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

We are sad to share that Daisy, our 13-year-old fennec fox, died Oct. 6. The median life expectancy for this species is 11 years. A few weeks ago, keepers noticed that Daisy was lethargic and not showing an interest in her once-favorite foods: meat, mice and chicken. An exploratory veterinary exam revealed kidney disease and a mass on her liver. Due to her poor prognosis and declining quality of life, the animal care team made the decision to humanely euthanize Daisy.

Daisy arrived at the Zoo in November 2014 from the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. She received a recommendation to breed with a male named Charlie. Together, the pair produced two kits. Since Daisy previously had limited success raising kits on her own, Small Mammal House keepers stepped in to hand-raise her kits, Teddy and Hokees, and give them the best chance of survival. They have since gone on to other zoos to participate in the fennec fox Species Survival Plan. 

Keepers fondly remember Daisy’s sweet, sassy and rambunctious personality. She seemed to believe that the world revolved around her and sought out one-on-one attention from keepers while training, playing or relaxing. Daisy would often pick up a frozen-thawed mouse (one of her diet items) in her mouth, excitedly scream and run around the exhibit with it. She charmed staff, scientists and visitors with her personality and taught them about fennec fox behavior, biology and reproduction. She was a terrific animal ambassador, and our Zoo family misses her dearly.

Want more Small Mammal House stories? Check out the latest news about this exhibit here.