Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Fennec Fox - Vulpes zerda
#1
Fennec Fox - Vulpes zerda

[Image: fox_01.jpg]

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Vulpes
Species: Vulpes zerda

The fennec fox is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which serve to dissipate heat. The fennec is the smallest species of canid in the world; coat, ears and kidney functions have adapted to a high-temperature, low-water, desert environment. In addition, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. 

Habitat

[Image: Fennec_area.png]

The species is found in North Africa and the Middle East. The range is from Morocco through to Egypt, as far south as northern Niger and as far east as the Sinai Peninsula and Kuwait.

A fennec fox's typical den is dug in sand, either in open areas or places sheltered by plants with stable sand dunes considered to be their ideal habitat. In compacted soils, dens can be up to 120 square meters, with up to 15 different entrances. In some cases different families interconnect their dens, or locate them close together. In soft, looser sand, dens tend to be simpler with only one entrance leading to a single chamber

Description
The smallest canid alive, the fennec fox weighs about 1.5–3.5 lb (0.68–1.6 kg), with a body length of between 24–41 cm (9–16 in). It is around 20.3 cm (8 in) tall. The tail has a black tip and is 18–31 cm (7–12 in) long, while the ears can be between 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) long. 

The coat is often a cream color and fluffy, which deflects heat during the day and keeps the fox warm at night. The fennec's characteristic ears are the largest among all foxes relative to body size, and serve to dissipate heat, as they have many blood vessels close to the skin. The ears of a fennec are sensitive enough to hear prey that may be underground; the soles of its feet are protected from the hot desert sand by thick fur.

[Image: Fennec-Fox-05.jpg]

Ecology
The fennec fox is a carnivore. Food sources include rodents, insects, birds, eggs, and rabbits. An individual can jump up to 2 ft (61 cm) high and 4 ft (120 cm) forward, which helps it catch prey and escape predators.

When hunting, large eared foxes such as the fennec, or the bat-eared fox, can seem to stare at the ground while they rotate their heads from side to side to pinpoint the location of prey, either underground or hidden above ground. There are reports that fennec foxes climb date palms while foraging for fruit; however, some experts consider these reports unlikely unless low branches are available for support.

The species is able to live without free water, as its kidneys are adapted to restrict water loss. A fennec's burrowing can cause the formation of dew. They are also known to absorb water through food consumption; but will drink water if available.

[Image: 640px-Fennec_Foxes.jpg]

Information on fennec fox social behaviour is mainly based on captive animals. The basic social unit is thought to be a mated pair and their offspring, and the young of the previous year are believed to remain in the family even after a new litter is born. Playing behaviour is common, including among adults of the species. Fennec foxes make a variety of sounds, including barking, a purring sound similar to that of a domestic cat, and a snarl if threatened.

The fennec fox's main predators are the various African varieties of eagle owl. Other possible predators include caracals, jackals, striped hyenas, and the saluki, a greyhound-like domestic dog local to the area. However, fennec foxes are considered very difficult to capture, and reports of predators other than the eagle owl are considered to be anecdotal and questionable.

[Image: Vulpeszerdaskull.png]

Reproduction
Fennec foxes are social animals that mate for life, with each pair or family controlling their own territory. Sexual maturity is reached at around nine months old. In the wild, mating usually occurs between January and February for litters to be born between March and April. However, in captivity most litters are born later, between March and July, although births can occur year round. The species usually breeds only once each year. Following mating, the male becomes very aggressive and protective of the female, providing her with food during her pregnancy and lactation periods.

Gestation is usually between 50 to 52 days. The typical litter is between one and four kits, with weaning taking place at around 61 to 70 days. When born, the kit's ears are folded over and its eyes are closed, with the eyes opening at around ten days and the ears lifting soon afterward. The life span of a fennec fox has been recorded as up to 14 years in captivity.

[Image: 6a010535647bf3970b01116898bd5b970c-800wi]
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)