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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Fennecus
Binomial name
Fennecus zerda
The fennec is a small fox found in the desert of Northern Africa (excluding the coast). It is the only member of the genus Fennecus, although some authorities put it in the genus Vulpes.

Table of contents
1 Description
2 Habits
3 Population
4 External Reference


The fennec is the smallest canid, only weighing up to 1.5 kg. The fox is 20 cm tall at the shoulder, with a body length of up to 40 cm. The tail is an additional 25 cm or so, and the ears can be 15 cm long. The animals are a often a sandy color to blend in with their desert surroundings.

The large ears serve to help dissipate heat. The coat can repel sunlight during the day and conserve heat at night. The soles of the feet are protected from the hot sand by thick fur.


The fennec is nocturnal. During the night, it will hunt for rodents, insects (such as locusts), lizards, and birds and eggs. The fennec seems to be able to get all the water it needs from food, and will sometimes eat berries and leaves as an additional source of water.

Fennecs live in large dens (extending up to 10 meters), often with several other foxes.


In the spring, after about 50 days of gestation, a female fennec will give birth to a litter of 2-5 young. The young will rely on their mother's milk for about a month.


The fennec is rare and is not often seen. It is often hunted by humans, even though the fox does not cause any harm to human interests.

†The name "fennec" apparently comes from the Arabic word for fox. "Zerda" may come from Greek and mean "dry," a reference to its habitat.

External Reference

Walker's Mammals of the World