Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)
Range (where they are found): Saharan Africa (northern Africa)
Description (what do they look like?): When young they are insanely cute... other than that? ... they are the smallest canid (dog-like animal) in the world, weighing only up to 3.5 lbs (that's ~ 1.6 in kg).
The fennec fox is generally a creamy color with a dark-tipped tail.
Behavior (how do they act and what do they do?): They live in family dens, dug out of the desert sand. These dens can even be joined to other fennec fox family dens, like an underground village!
Life Span (how long they generally can live): 14 years
Special Adaptations (ways that they are especially well suited to their environment [environment = the area in which an organism lives/operates] ):
- Ears - very large ears (larger ear to body ratio than any other type of fox) with blood vessels very close to the skin that allow the fox to get rid of heat through it's ears! (we'll talk more about different types of thermo-regulation [ => ways that organisms manage their temperature!] in another post!)
- Ears - very sensitive ears! It can even hear prey under the ground!
- Coloring - camouflages it, so it blends in to it's environment!
- Feet - it's hairy feet protect it from the hot sand!
The fennec fox seems to be doing very well in the wild and is listed as "least concern" by IUCN RedList.
Fennec foxes are bred in captivity as pets... the legality of this varies by area... they fall in to the category of exotic/wild. As with all wild animals, great care should be used in keeping these in captivity!