zerda - Fennec fox
Range: North Africa
- 3 lb (1 - 1.5 kg)
The fennec (Fennecus
zerda), is the smallest of the wild canids.
They average 8-10 inches (20.5-25.5 cm) in height at the shoulder,
and typically weigh 2-3 lb (1-1.5 kg). The coat colour is of a pale
cream to fawn hue. The fur on the sides of the body is often somewhat
darker than the rest of the coat, ranging from dark fawn to greyish.
The tail is tipped with black. The most notable feature of the fennec
is of course its incredibly large ears, which measure up to 6 inches (15
cm) in length. These enormous ears make the fennec extremely sensitive
to sound, and also assist in thermoregulation in its desert habitat.
The diet of the fennec consists mainly of small desert rodents such as
mice and gerbils, as well as lizards. Birds and insects are also
taken whenever available. Living in some of the driest deserts on
Earth, fennecs also dig up roots for the valuable moisture they contain.
Although fennecs will drink water readily when they have an opportunity,
they are physiologically well adapted to survive on a minimal intake of
moisture. They have very efficient kidneys which keep the body's
water loss to a minimum. Fennecs are somewhat more social than many
other fox species, and often live in small family groups. The female
fennec is unusual among foxes in that she capable of breeding twice a year.
If the first litter of the year is lost, a second can take its place a
few months later. This feature of the fennec's biology can prove
valuable in the harsh environment in which they live. The average
size of a litter is 2-5 pups. Fennecs are considered mature at 1