There is a familiar theme playing out at The Living Desert with the birth of four baby Fennec Foxes that can now be seen by zoo guests in the Tennity Wildlife Hospital.
One female and three male Fennec Foxes, or kits as they are called when young, were born in late April at The Living Desert. Currently there are two pairs on exhibit, one behind the scenes and one that can be seen in the animal encounter show.
“With so many babies in bloom at The Living Desert, like the Fennec Foxes, jaguar cubs, and the baby giraffe, summer is the ideal season to visit the park,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “This time of year allows visitors to get more familiar with our newest additions.”
The Fennec Foxes’ mother was born in Germany and transferred to The Living Desert as part of an SSP (Species Survival Plan) recommendation to bring unrepresented genetics to the U.S. captive population of Fennec Foxes. These four youngsters will spend the first 6-12 months at the Living Desert before being sent to other AZA institutions to be paired with unrelated foxes or put in social groups to be ambassadors for their species.
Infant Fennec Foxes stay in the den with only their mother to nurse, and after about a month will begin to hunt with her for their own food. Nocturnal by nature, they hunt at night to combat the heat of the day, yet they have evolved to battle all elements of the harsh desert heat.
The Fennec Fox’s characteristic large ears help to regulate body temperate by radiating heat out to return their climate back to normal. Their thick fur keeps skin protected from the sun and offers insulation during cool nights, also hair-covered feet allow them to walk comfortably across extremely hot sand as well as act like insulated shovels when burrowing below it.
Fennec Fox fun facts:
- A female Fennec Fox can birth three to four kits at a time, twice but normally once a year
- Smallest of the worlds foxes
- Ultra sensitive ears allow them to hear their food below the ground
- Omnivorous and opportunistic eaters
- Light color fur deflects heat and blend into desert environment
- Their ears are normally half as long as their body length
Summer hours at The Living Desert are 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily, with the last admission at 1 p.m. through September 30th. General admission is $17.25 Adults; $15.75 Seniors and Military; $8.75 Children 3-12; Children under 3 Free.