Fennec Fox Adaptations

Fennec fox Adaptations

It’s amazing how animals can adapt to their environment after years of evolution. The fennec fox is no exception, they are perfectly adapted to the desert environment in which they live. Fennec foxes live across Northern Africa and Sinai, for more information about where they are from, click here. In this short article we will check out a few fennec fox adaptations, some are more obvious than others and some may surprise you.

No Water!

river dryFennec foxes can literally live without any water! Their kidneys are specially adapted to restrict water loss. They receive some moisture from their diet and from the dew that collects on vegetation. When living in their natural environment they are nocturnal, so they avoid moving from their burrows during the day. This way they can stay cool and avoid dehydration from sun exposure. the fennec fox is one of the few omnivores that can survive in the desert and is one of the only animals in the world that can survive without free-standing water. This neat fennec fox adaptation would be a pretty useful superhero power! The name would suck though…. nowaterman!?

Big Ears

One of the most distinguishing features of the fennec fox is it’s ears, but did you know that this is another important fennec fox adaptation? A fennec fox is the smallest type of fox in the world. they weigh less than 5 pounds and are no more than 2 feet long from head to tail. This means that it’s ears are huge relative to it’s body size, meaning it can dissipate heat from it’s body very efficiently. The ears can keep the fox cool during the day, while its fur can keep it warm during the night. Their ears are about 6 inches long and make up about a quarter of a fennec fox’s entire body. A fennec fox also has a very good sense of hearing which can help track prey scurrying underground.

Fur

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

That cute soft fur is also super important. It helps keep the fox warm during nighttime when the temperature can drop below freezing in the desert but did you know it also protects against the sun? The color of the fur helps reflect the sunlight to keep their body temperature down and the sandy color also provides a natural camouflage against the desert backdrop. They also have fur on the bottoms of their feet. This helps protect their feet against the scorching hot daytime sand. The fur also helps provide traction meaning they can turn sharply and quickly, useful for catching speedy prey or escaping a predator. Remember that time you went to the beach and the sand was too hot. Bet you wish you had hobbit feet….or fennec fox feet.

Sociable

anthropomorphized-animals-1296354_1280Fennec foxes mate for life and keep 1 partner meaning they are monogamous. On top of this they tend to live in larger family units of up to 10 foxes. They are expert diggers, using their furry feet and sharp claws to make underground networks which each of the males can guard. Fennec foxes are the only fox species that can have 2 litters in a single year owing to their relatively short gestation period of 50 days. They usually mate around January and February and then give birth in March or May. The kits reach sexual maturity within 90 days! Living in these larger groups improves their rate of survival making this fennec fox adaptation one of the most important.

Comments are closed.