Exotic Pets: Fennec Foxes

These wild dogs originally come form Northern Africa and Saudi Arabia but have recently become popular as exotic pets. Their big ears and unusual personality, as well as over all cuteness, have made them a pet of interest.


These canines are considered of least concern on the world conservation status chart, however some areas have CITES laws, or area laws, that restrict them from being kept as pets without special permits. As such anyone interested in acquiring a Fennec Fox as a pet should first research the laws in their area.

The lifespan of the Fennec Fox is roughly 12-16 years in captivity so anyone interested in getting one needs to consider their ability to provide a lifetime commitment to such a pet.

File:VulpesZerdaScratching cropped.jpg

Photo source

They are fairly small, standing only 8 inches (20 cm) tall, and weighing less than a small cat.

Unlike most dogs, Fennec Foxes are nocturnal. This is probably a point of concern for some owners, as these dogs are awake and active at night.

Their large ears are a desert adaptation, helping them to stay cool in the heat, they can tolerate some cold but if in climates where the temperature regularly drops below freezing they require extra protection when outside, and should not be left out for long. Careful attention should prevent them from getting frost bite on their ears.

Sleepy Fox by suneko.

Photo source



Fennec Foxes are Omnivores, in the wild they will eat what they catch, bugs, mice, even eggs. As house pets they should be fed a top quality dog food. Top quality dog foods are not sold in grocery stores. This food may be supplemented with fruit, cooked vegetables, eggs, mealworms, and even canned dog, or cat, food.



Fennec Foxes can be litter trained if introduced at an early age. As they enjoy digging, much like a cat, their litter box should be covered. Similarly they can be house trained to go outside, where they will enjoy having a place to dig for their bathroom purposes. As with house training other dogs, rewarding for correct behavior works a lot better than punishing them for the wrong behavior.

They will need regular vaccinations which should be discussed with their breeder and your veterinarian according to your areas risk factors. They will also need to be dewormed (including for heartworm). Be sure your vet is familiar with providing care for these animals, and that the check to ensure any vaccine provided is safe for Fennec Foxes.


Photo source

They are social animals who thrive on attention. For them to be successfully kept as pets it is important that they are socialized to humans at an early stage. Their wild and curious nature can lead them into trouble (they will escape from most yards) so must be watched carefully. They are good climbers and diggers. It is important that they be walked on a snug collar, or harness, when startled they tend to bolt and can slip out of a loose collar with ease and will run.

As mischievous, and smart, animals, it is important they are kept in a kennel when they cannot be watched or may become destructive. Providing ample toys is important.

Fennec Fox (耳廓狐) by eviltomthai.

Photo source  10 month old pup

When happy Fennec Foxes tend to purr like cats. In fact many people consider them to be a dog with a cat-like personality.

If you are considering getting a Fennec Fox as a pet, do more research and speak to people who own them. Never purchase a Fennec Fox through a pet store or similar “supplier”, always deal directly with the breeder.


Related Links


Unusual Breeds of Dogs

Unusual Breeds of Cats

Unusual Breeds of Horses

Regarding Owning an Exotic Pet

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User Comments
  1. deep blue

    On April 16, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Interesting creature. Thanks for sharing, Brenda.

  2. ken bultman

    On April 16, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Excellent article about a little known animal. Cute critter and desirable although for most people, I doubt it should be the pet of choice.

  3. ken bultman

    On April 16, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Excellent article about an unusual animal. Cute, desirable but, for most families, not the pet of choice I should think.

  4. catlord

    On April 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    cute! love Fennec foxes

  5. catlord

    On April 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    p.s., -I believe that this is the ‘desert fox’ from which the name “Zorro” comes from… the swashbuckling nightswordman..

  6. VTech

    On April 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    nice , thanks for sharing.

  7. Daisy Peasblossom

    On April 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    They sure are cuties. But I think I’ll stick with my kitties.

  8. Jo Oliver

    On April 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    AWWWWW that little fellow is soooooooo cute.

  9. PR Mace

    On April 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I have never heard of or seen this breed of fox. They are so cute. Excellent article.

  10. Tulan

    On April 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    They are the cutest little things with their big ears.

  11. Matthew Bonadio

    On April 19, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Your articles would make a great syndicated newspaper column. Might take some time, but seeing if you could get them published (if you haven’t) and then submitting them to a syndicate as samples might be worth the trouble.

  12. MartineP

    On April 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Love to own one, but they are prohibited in Belgium.

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