What Does the (Fennec) Fox Say?

You asked the internet, we answered.

Today, we’re answering some of the most-searched questions about the desert dwelling, big-eared fennec fox!

Where do fennec foxes live?

These foxes are found in the sandy deserts and arid regions of northern Africa, including the Sahara.

Why do fennec foxes have big ears?

The fennec may be the world’s smallest fox, but it sports outlandishly large ears! In fact, relative to body size, it has the largest ears of any member of the canid family.

It uses those big ears to listen for sounds of prey in the sand. The ears also help dispel body heat to keep the fox cool.

What do you call a group of fennec foxes?

A group of foxes is called a skulk!

Can I have a fennec fox as a pet?

Fennec foxes may seem cute and cuddly, but these wild animals have not been domesticated, and it’s not a good idea to keep one as a pet. In fact, in many jurisdictions it’s illegal.

Not only are fennecs highly social, incredibly active and very destructive — they also require specialized diets, health care and socialization with other fennec foxes.

Why do fennec foxes scream (aka what does the fennec fox say)?

These foxes communicate using many different vocalizations, including whimpers, barks, shrieks, squeaks, growls, howls and chatters.

Why do fennec foxes have furry feet?

Their thick-furred paws provide traction for running through the sand. They also protect the fox’s feet from the desert’s extreme heat!

How does a fennec fox survive in the desert?

Fennec foxes have many desert adaptations, including fur-covered feet, heat-radiating ears and pale fur that offers excellent camouflage in the sand. Panting helps regulate their temperature; at times of extreme heat, their breathing rate can climb from 23 to 690 breaths per minute!

Living in underground burrows helps these nocturnal animals avoid the heat of the day. Their thick fur offers additional protection from the sun and keeps them warm during cold desert nights.

What does a fennec fox eat?

This fox eats grasshoppers, locusts and other insects, as well as small rodents, lizards, birds and their eggs. It also feeds on roots, fruits and leaves, which help it stay hydrated.

How does a fennec fox hunt?

Fennecs hunt alone at night, listening for food in the sand and then digging with all four feet to find it.

On your next visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, stop by the Small Mammal House to see female fennec fox Daisy and new male fennec fox Barkley!