A rough and tumble little fennec fox is pouncing into life at the San Diego Zoo. The three month old kit has just entered into quarantine to prepare her for life as an animal ambassador.
The wee kit weighs in at just 1.5 pounds and currently lives in the Children’s zoo nursery. He is noticeable by his massive ears which are what makes this species notable.
When he is fully grown this fox will be just 3 pounds. As such these are the world’s smallest foxes.
In this video you get to see the young fennec fox enjoying some play.
San Diego Zoo’s Neonatal Assisted Care Unit Keeper, Becky Kier said, “Fennec foxes are great hunters, and in order to foster those natural behaviours, we will give him some stuffed mice that he’ll toss around and pounce on as if he’s practicing hunting.”
Due to his spurts of energy keepers have begun to engage the little one with toys and food puzzles. The energetic youngster is given boxes with mealworms hidden inside or sometimes these scattered in his sand pit and he loves his plush mice. His playtime is used to encourage the foxes natural foraging behaviours. His foraging is helped those large ears. They help the foxes to hear prey which are underground or 1.5 miles into the distance.
Kier say’s that, “In the wild he would normally dig for insects in the sand, so we provide him with something to dig through to encourage that behaviour as well.” While foraging in the sand they are protected by long, insulated fur which even covers the base of their feet. This helps protect them from the hot sun and sand when they are living in the Sahara desert.
One day he will work to educate visitors on his species which is threatened in the Sahara by trapping to sell these animals to tourists.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo