Fennec Fox

Vulpes zerda

Order: Carnivora


Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Contact the SSP coordinator, Karen Bauman, St. Louis Zoo (kbauman@stlzoo.org), for information on housing and husbandry information. The SSP is working on developing a husbandry manual but in the interim, contact the SSP coordinator for the most up to date information. This species does NOT need to be single housed.
  • They have been observed to enjoy climbing and high perching. This appears to be more important than nest boxes although the opportunity to hide is also very important.

Diet Requirements

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • Greater success with program use is correlated with higher rates of training and more consistent husbandry and handling. Staff that work with this species should focus on maintaining consistency and training for handlers.


Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • According to the fennec fox SSP coordinator, there is a lot of misinformation regarding the use of this species as in ambassador capacity. They have found that there is no need to neuter them to use them for programs and they do not need to be be housed singly to be successful for program use. Additionally, animals can be pulled temporarily from program use and placed into breeding and go right back into the breeding situation without causing issues with breeding success or program usage.


Potential Messaging

  • Climate change: Desert and Dryland species have specific adaptations for the temperature and water availability in their natural habitat and may not be able to adjust to the drying effects of climate change. Hotter conditions promote wildfires. More extreme drought conditions kill plants that hold the soil in place and occasional extreme rain events wash that soil away preventing them from growing back in a process called desertification. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Please ask guests to walk, bike, or take public transportation when possible and to reduce their use of fossil fuels when they do drive by buying a fuel economic car, carpooling, combining errands, and keeping vehicles properly tuned up and their tires properly inflated. At home and work, purchase Energy Star appliances, turn off lights when they are not in use, and use heaters and air conditioners sparingly. The principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle will also help by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions involved with the manufacture and disposal of unnecessary goods. http://www.unep.org/geo/gdoutlook/045.asphttp://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/ https://biomesfirst09.wikispaces.com/Desert+Conservationhttp://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov/pdf/Desert_Ecosystems_Paper.pdf
  • Cell Phones – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Congo region and the island of Madagascar are extensively mined for coltan and other minerals that go into cell phones, tablets, and computers. Natural habitat, frequently in areas that are legally protected, is lost for wildlife, trees and topsoil scraped away. In addition, toxins from discarded electronics leach out of local landfills and contaminate waterways here at home. Please ask guests to think twice before replacing their electronic devices and to recycle their old ones when they do.

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

  • Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park: TERRIBLE travelers! They constantly scratch inside the carrier to we cannot send them long distances.
  • Houston Zoo: The individual I knew showed a lot of fear in guest areas.
  • Maryland Zoo in Baltimore: Requires advanced-skilled handlers.
  • Toledo Zoo: Overall, I do not think that for the most part they have the temperament for a program animal.

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat


Physical Description


Life Cycle




Threats and Conservation Status


Did you know…




Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters

Top Photo: By yvonne n from willowick, usa (Fennec Fox) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons