Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets?
No, fennec foxes do not make good pets. Firstly they’re wild animals and their wild instinct can kick in anytime; secondly, there are many challenges with keeping a fennec fox: they’re one of the most difficult exotic pets to care for.
- Why Fennec foxes do not make good pets
- Top 7 Challenges with keeping a fennec fox
- How much does it cost to acquire a fennec fox
- Fennec fox maintenance costs
- 4 other exotic pets similar to a fennec fox
Why Fennec Foxes Do Not Make Good Pets
If you’ve ever seen a fennec fox, you’ll know why these creatures are desired as home pets: they’re cute, really cute. Their big flappy ears, small face, and furry tail make them irresistibly attractive, and to top it all off, they are small in size (about the size of a bunny).
But though they have all the outward and physical qualities of an ideal pet, fennec foxes actually make bad pets. Even when you want to consider other exotic pets like lynxes or bears, some are still better compared to a fennec fox. This is because Fennec Foxes have certain traits that pose a major challenge to whoever keeps them; they’re wild on a different level. Even zoo keepers have a hard time keeping fennec foxes in the zoo, so imagine how bad it’d be for someone who keeps a fennec fox at home. Here are some challenges with keeping a Fennec Fox as a pet.
Top 7 Challenges With Keeping A Fennec Fox Pet
1. Wild Instincts
No matter how cute these animals are, you can’t separate their wild instincts from them. Fennec foxes can be quite aggressive, especially at maturity. What’s the use of having a pet you can’t cuddle at will? At best, a fennec fox pet would come to you for food and quickly retreat to hide the food (or go somewhere private after eating). Also, if these animals get scared, they’ll easily freak out and bite you.
2. Nocturnal Behaviour
Fennec Foxes are nocturnal, meaning they’re most active at night. This is a major problem, especially if you’re keeping them indoors. They’ll disrupt your sleep with the numerous noises they make and may ruin things in your home. Even if trained to sleep at night, fennec foxes will only sleep partially at night.
3. Company and Companionship
If you’re buying a fennec fox, it’s best you buy more than one. These animals are mostly kept in groups (even in zoos) because they are very social with each other. No amount of human interaction or attention can replace that of another Fennec Fox. Acquiring only one would make your fox feel lonely and insecure and may force it to develop some behavioral disorders.
4. Habitat Problem
Fennec foxes are desert animals found in northern Africa (especially the Sahara desert). They’re fond of burrowing into the ground underneath, where they make dens and dwell as a family. If you’re going to keep a fennec fox as a pet, you should create a large, warm, dry, sandy enclosure in some part of your home. If you keep a fennec fox indoors, it can cause stress and restlessness to them. Fennec foxes are very sensitive. Even when bathing these animals, you don’t use water: rather, you use a dust bath. Using water can cause health complications in them.
5. Behaviour Issues
Fennec foxes are like a combination of a cat and a dog. They are incredibly fast, noisy, and agile like hyperactive dogs, but like cats, they tend to be aloof and territorial. Fennec foxes will use their urine or feces to mark territories in your home (and did I mention their urine smells a lot). They’ll nibble at you with their front teeth and may begin to show real signs of defiance or aggression toward you when they reach sexual maturity.
Fennecs feed on fruits, small rodents like rats and gerbils, birds, lizards, eggs, and insects. These animals are very sensitive, so any slight change in diet can cause severe health problems and allergies. Plus, they have a healthy appetite. You’ll have to spend a substantial amount feeding a fennec fox each month.
7. Burrowing Problems
As mentioned earlier, fennec foxes live in underground dens. If you must keep one, make provision for burrowing; otherwise, your carpets and floors will pay the price. This is another reason why they do not make good indoor pets. If you can’t allow them to make burrows in your surroundings, then make lots of digging substrate available on the floors where you keep them. Otherwise, your fennec fox will rub its nose on the hard ground while trying to dig a hole and end up bleeding.
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Fennec Fox?
You can expect to spend between $2,500 and $3,500 to acquire a pet fennec fox. Bear in mind that well-bred and baby fennec foxes are always more expensive. You may also pay extra charges for shipping, depending on your distance from your supplier.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Fennec Fox?
You may spend anywhere between $100 to $150 every month on Maintaining your pet fox. These costs will cover food and grooming, as well as maintenance of the enclosure it’s been kept. However, the initial setup costs in the first month (cage, leash, digging substrate, etc.) may be quite high.
Tips For Keeping A Fennec Fox.
Now you know all the difficulties and expenses involved in keeping a fennec fox as a pet, if you still wish to own one of these cute little foxes, here are a few tips for you:
- Ensure your country or state allows for the keeping of wild or exotic animals (get a permit if you must).
- Feed a proper diet. If you can’t afford a regular fennec fox diet (insects, worms, rodents, etc.), you can supplement with an exotic dog or cat food.
- Provide fresh water at all times
- Bathe with dust only
- Take them out for sun basking every day (remember they’re desert creatures)
- Take your fox to the vet for an annual examination
- Vaccinate against rabies
- Use a restraint (leash or crate) when taking your fox out
- Don’t try to cuddle all the time
- Have tolerance for the spraying urine (males) and loud, noisy character these animals have
- Make digging substrate available
- Train your fennec or hire the services of a trainer (or get help from an experienced zookeeper).
- Make a big-enough room for exercise and play (or take it outdoors for exercise)
- Don’t lock your fox up in a cage all day
- Don’t startle your fox (it may get scared and bite you
4 Other Pets Similar To A Fennec Fox
|Animal / Pet||Cost Of Acquisition|
|Silver Fox||$10,000 (domesticated)|
|Grey Fox||$400 – $700|
|Red Fox||$500 – $700 ($8,000 for fully domesticated Russian specie)|
|Bunny rabbits||$20 or more|