Fennec Foxes as Pets: Cost to Buy, Legalities, and Ease of Care

Fennec Foxes are adorable and seem like fun pets, but what is the real cost and ease of taking car of one of these animals. Is it even legal in the state that you live in? I did all the research and found out some great information on our pet the Fennec fox.

What are the cost, care, and legality of Fennec foxes? Fennec foxes are not very easily found on the market but when you do find them be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for this little creature. They are quite like dogs, although, care for them is quite more extensive and they may or may not be legal in your state.

Have you ever wanted an exotic pet but weren’t sure how to do it? Well, with the new found popularity of Fennec foxes you might just have found the right animal for you. Dive into this article with me and learn all about the Fennec fox and what makes it one of the cutest new pets on the market.

Fennec Foxes as Pets and the Ease of Their Care

Talk about cute animals that you just want to cuddle and Fennec foxes should be at the top of your list. These tiny foxes are hugely adorable and they come with the cutest big ears!

Fennec foxes which are also known as desert foxes originated in Africa and are considered to be an exotic pet. This means that there are a lot more rules and a lot more regulations in your path.

There is a lot that goes into the care of Fennec foxes if you are looking into getting one as a pet. They behave quite a bit like a dog but because they are not domestic animals it takes a lot more work and energy to keep them happy, safe and housed.

One of the first things that any potential owner of a Fennec fox needs to know is that their pet is nothing like any pet they’ve ever owned. Quite like a mixture of cat and dog these animals are a serious commitment.

Fennec Fox Catlike Qualities Fennec Fox Doglike
Qualities
They are independent.They are very
energetic.
They can jump and climb anything.They are very social
and need
playmates.
When they don’t want to be touched they don’t want to be touched.They love to play
games like fetch.
They can be difficult to train.When they want to be cuddled,
you better cuddle
them.

Even though these pets are a serious commitment they can be a lot of fun once they are properly prepared for and cared for. Fennec foxes are a lot like other pets we know, but they need special preparations.

If you are going to purchase a Fennec fox the very first thing that you need to do is build an outdoor enclosure. Because these foxes can jump so high and dig very deep they need proper accommodations for when they will be put outside.

An outdoor enclosure for a Fennec fox should have fence walls that extend under the earth about 10 feet, or they should have a floor that is buried about 4 feet underground, extends past the fence line, and has the fence resting on it.

Fennec foxes can dig over 20 feet underground when they put their minds to it.

With both of these cases, it will prevent your little Fennec fox digger from digging their way out of their shelter. I suggest adding a layer of chicken wire under whatever type of floor you decide to use and bury.

Your enclosure should have walls that are buried at least 4 feet underground if they are meeting the underground flooring, or buried at least ten feet underground.

Fennec foxes aren’t cheap and losing one would be devastating. That is why making sure that these animals have the best homes and protected shelters are extremely important.

There should also be a roof to this enclosure so that your Fennec fox doesn’t jump out of the enclosure. You have to remember that these pets are not domesticated and so it is in their blood to roam free not to stay fenced up in a back yard.

If you decide to leave your Fennec fox inside while you are away from home you will probably want to put them in a crate of some sort. Fennec foxes are extremely curious, and you will come home to a destroyed house if they are left to their own devices while you are gone.

You also have to prepare to deal with their energy levels. These animals are cute and adorable but they are wild animals and as such, they need a lot of stimulation and a lot of action to help them remain calm and happy.

There is more that goes into Fennec foxes than just housing. These animals need friends and lots of associations to be happy. In the wild these animals live in packs of at least 10.

Fennec Foxes are one of the smallest breeds of Foxes weighing in at about 3 to 4 pounds.

So, although they are independent like cats, they need social stimulation to be happy and healthy. Early introduction to other people and animals will help them be happy and less aggressive pets.

If Fennec foxes are left too on their own, they can end up being mean and aggressive. This is true for most animals but especially for animals that are used to living in the wild.

Maybe more important than socialization and housing is the fact that these adorable little creatures need to eat, and what they eat really does affect them and how they behave.

What Do Fennec Foxes Eat?

A lot of people think that Fennec foxes are vegetarians and that they only need veggies to survive. This is not true and only feeding your Fennec fox vegetables is going to bad for its health. They are omnivors and actually need quite a bit of meat to survive.

The two most recommended diets for Fennec foxes are a commercial wild candid diet which includes a lot of meat and mice with some fruits and vegetables.

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Fennec foxes eat meat, assorted fruits and vegetables, mice, and insects.

Smithsonian National Zoo

While the second diet is raw meats mixed with assorted raw vegetables. These two meal plans are the best for Fennec foxes as they are the closest to their original diets.

Most homeowners though do a good job of feeding their Fennec foxes using a mixture of dry dog and cat food, a mixture of wet dog and cat food, and occasional raw veggies, fruits, and meats from around the house.

Whichever way you decide to feed your Fennec fox just make sure that they are getting enough meats because even though they are omnivores they are borderline carnivores.

Before we get two ahead of ourselves we have to remember that Fennec foxes aren’t even a liable pet in some areas of the United States and the world.

Can I own a Fennec Fox Where I Live?

A lot of people are hearing about the new Fennec fox craze and they want to join in, but that can be easier said then done in quite a few places. So before you rush out to buy your Fennec fox you need to make sure they are legal where you live.

In the United States of America, Fennec foxes are legal in every state except Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington, and a few other states including Idaho and Georgia. These states have rules and regulations that strictly detain anyone from owning one of these creatures.

For example, some states seem to have no law against these little animals but with further searching, most cities and towns have laws preventing the ownership of foxes.

That being said, just because your state may deem it legal to own a Fennec fox that does not mean that your city or county doesn’t have rules and regulations that inhibit these animals as pets.

Lots of cities have laws that prohibit the inhabitants from owning foxes without specifying what kind. That means that in those cities Fennec foxes are not legal.

If it is legal in your state it is imperative that you purchase your Fennec fox from a licensed and approved breeder. Otherwise it is considered an illegal pet even if it is legal to own them where you live.

How Can You Purchase a Fennec Fox? What Costs Are Associated with Them?

So, where is a good place to buy a Fennec fox and how do you get in contact with licensed breeders? These two questions are vitally important and are questions that need to be answered.

It can be rather hard to find breeders in your area that breed Fennec foxes and are licensed. There are a few online places that sell kits and adults but all are back ordered and shipping these animals isn’t always the safest idea.

If you do want one of these animals you may have to be prepared to travel far. There is a great online resource that gives a list of breeders by state and their contact information.

This is helpful because you can find the breeder closest to you and buy your Fennec fox. If you are wanting to check out this website, click here. There are also other websites like this on the internet.

Although very little, Fennec Fox’s ears can grow to be about 3-6 inches long! They must have borrowed their ear genes from a larger relative.

Now once you have found out that you can legally own one of these adorable animals and you are wanting to make it yours, it is important to know the price and upkeep of these animals.

Just for purchasing the animal alone it costs anywhere from $1500-$2500. Not to mention that all breeders are taking pre-orders for their foxes so you may have to wait a year or more before getting your Fennec fox.

Once you guys find and obtain your Fennec fox there comes into play the price of housing and feeding your new cute critter. You need to be able and prepared to spend a couple of thousands of dollars on your animal.

Also, take into account that you will need to find a vet that is not only willing to work on an exotic pet but will specifically work on Fennec foxes. Understanding that these vets will probably charge more for the care of exotic pets is important to remember.

Although not as bad as skunks, Fennec Foxes have glands on the ends of their tails that emit a foul odor when they are frightened or angry.

What do Fennec Foxes Look Like?

Everyone is on a huge rage about how cute and special the Fennec fox is, but most people don’t even know what they look like and have never seen a picture of a Fennec fox.

These animals are quite adorable, although they can be described as rather unique looking. They look a lot like the foxes we know and are used to with a few minor and major differences.

One of the biggest major differences between regular red foxes and Fennec foxes is their size. Red foxes get to be around 20-24 pounds, and they are considered small in the dog family.

Fennec foxes on the other hand only get to be about 3-4 pounds. So while they are part of the dog family, these Fennec fox’s bodies do look a lot like the body of a cat.

They are the smallest breed or type of fox and one of the reasons that they are so loved is their size. So although they are foxes, these little guys measure in way under the normal weight range.

One of the most distinguished features that Fennec foxes are known for is their rather large ears. measuring in around 3-6 inches long a Fennec fox’s ears can easily be just as long as their bodies.

The 6-inch-long ears are indeed a great tool for listening in on prey. The foxes tilt their heads from side to side while triangulating sound so they can pinpoint the exact location of insects, rodents, reptiles and other tasty treats, which are often hiding just under the sand.

Mother Nature Network

This trait is unique to the Fennec fox. Their ears help them find prey in the desert as they are hunting. So, don’t say anything bad about your Fennec while it is in the other room cause it will always hear you.

Their ears are also useful for controlling their body heat and protecting them in their environment. Pretty much these animals ears are like a superpower for these little animals.

The last distinguishing feature for the Fennec fox is its coloring. Red foxes have rather red coats while arctic foxes have white coats. Fennec Foxes, on the other hand, have coats that are almost strawberry blonde in color. Some taking more after the red side while others are obviously blonder.

Their coats are one of the many things that make them special and unique. They help them camouflage in the desert and make them look a little more doglike.

All of these differences being said, Fennec foxes do look predominantly like a fox. From the pointed shape of their faces to the shape of the body and the fluffiness of their tails Fennec’s are foxes through and through.

Another unique quality that foxes share is their tail glands. Foxes have glands above their tails that release a musk when they are frightened or scared.

Not nearly or anywhere close to the stink that skunks and muskrats release when they are scared, the foxes musk can still be unpleasant and gives them a bad rap for being smelly animals.

These animals do look dog-like when running and have a lot of their personality traits. They must run in the family. But these animals are desired not only for their dog like traits but because they are very much so foxes.

History and Origin of the Fennec Fox and How They Got to America

Fennec foxes come from Africa where they live among the Sahara desert and other locations in Northern Africa. These foxes have adapted to live quite peacefully in the hot Saharan days.

Having a thick fur could seem like a disadvantage for an animal trying to survive in extreme heats, but for the Fennec fox, it is actually quite helpful. Their fur helps to insulate against the heat of the day as their large ears radiate heat helping them remain cool.

Their fur-covered feet act as little shoes and protect the Fennec foxes paws from burning on the hot Saharan sand. They also help in digging which is very important to the survival of the Fennec fox.

Fennec foxes live in dens under the ground, so their paws are one of their most important tools. They are also nocturnal which helps protect them from the harmful heat during the night. Their thick coats help them stay warm as they hunt at night.

When surviving in the desert there are a lot of factors that come into play and safety is one of them. Fennec foxes live in dens of about 10 Fennecs. This helps them remain safe from predators but makes for an interesting mating season.

Male Fennec foxes are very territorial and come mating season are ready to take on anyone who dares interfere with their mating. They can become extremely aggressive this time of year.

The gregarious nature of fennec foxes is evident in their frequent and varied vocalizations.  Both adults and pups chatter, whimper, wail, growl, and shriek. 

Wildlife learning center

They do have a predator that isn’t easily dissuaded and that is humans. Fur from Fennec foxes can be a big commodity and they are often hunted for their beautiful and soft coats.

Fennec foxes have adapted to the desert quite nicely and are used to going long periods of time without water. They also are good at finding food in any situation. Surviving off of mice, eggs, insects, and plants and roots that they find.

The dens of Fennec foxes are made up of families. Usually, there is a breeding pair that run the den and then a newer litter of pups as well as a few older pups that have yet to leave the den.

These mammals are highly social and survive off of these interactions and relationships. The male of the family marks their territory with both his urine and his scat.

Something amazing about Fennec fox’s dens is that they are normally made under bushes so that their den is supported by the roots, and they also can be very intricate. Having many different entrances and escape roots if they are found by a predator.

Life of Fennec Fox Pups

Father and mother work together during the prolonged care of the young. Males bring food to the family and watch for dangers to playing pups.  Fennecs foxes aggressively protect their young, and this added protection for the pups may be a reason to maintain community structure.

Wildlife learning center

Born blind and nearly helpless these animals survive for the first two months of their lives off of their mother’s milk. Around two months is when they are weaned off of milk and onto an omnivore diet.

They live with their parents until they are anywhere from 9-11 months old and then they leave the den to star one of their own with a mate. Around 9 months of age is when Fennec Foxes become sexually mature and can mate.

Mating season is from January until February. The mother Fennec fox will carry her litter of kits for 50 days before giving birth. An average litter is around 1-6 kits but the normal number is 3.

The young are highly watched over and protected being licked and carried to ensure their safety. Fennec Foxes mate for life and this bond is strong and runs the den. Although, most foxes still prefer to hunt separately and alone.

Although the father Fennec fox plays a big role in his children’s lives, he is still partially banned from the den until the babies are a couple of months old. His primary job is to find food and keep the den safe.

The Fennec fox and its reproduction is important to its ecosystem. They keep the balance of many different rodent and insect species. They are very important to the balance and way of life in the Sahara desert.

How Did Fennec Foxes End Up as Pets?

The species is classified a “small wild/exotic canid” by the United States Department of Agriculture and is considered the only species of fox, other than the Russian domesticated red fox, which can properly be kept as a pet. Although it cannot be considered domesticated, it can be kept in a domestic setting similar to dogs or cats.[

Wikipedia

Fennec foxes are beautiful and have been long hunted for their soft and beautiful coats. But as exotic pets started to become more and more popular, the Fennec fox suddenly faced a new danger from humans.

Being taken from their homes to reproduce for the gain of those who wanted pets was the cruel reality that Fennec foxes faced and still face today.

Because of their social nature and their protection of families it must be very hard for the Fennec foxes to handle the constant loss of litter after litter that are stolen form them and sold to the public.

Although this has become a common practice, it is still an adjustment for these foxes and still will be until they are domesticated. It isn’t always easy to transition.

Related Questions:

Can Fennec foxes be potty trained? Some Fennec fox owners have found that they can get their fox to use a litter box or dog potty training pads, but it is very difficult because of their wild nature. It is also quite hard and complicated to try and house train a Fennec fox to use the bathroom outside. Some say it is quite impossible.

How long do Fennec kits stay with their mother? Fennec foxes normally will live with their mother in their den for the first 11 months of their lives before being fully mature and ready to live on their own. For the first two months of their lives, Fennec foxes don’t even leave the safety of their den.

What eats a Fennec fox? The biggest predator for the Fennec fox is the African Eagle Owl, however, they are commonly hunted by jackals, African painted dogs, hyenas, and caracals.

Lord Holmes

I am a funny English major who loves to read books or cuddle on the couch with my husband. I love writing and while I try to be funny it just never seems to come through as well as in conversation.

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