With its oversized ears and beautiful dark eyes, there's no denying that the fennec fox is an absolutely adorable creature! But good looks don't necessarily mean that a fennec fox is a good pet for everyone. In today's post our Thomasville vets look at the challenges of owning a fennec fox as a pet.
Is owning a fennec fox as a pet legal?
Before deciding to purchase a fennec fox it's important to research whether they are legal to own as pets in your state, county and in your city.
Most states have some form of legislation regarding owning exotic pets such as fennec foxes, ranging from permit requirements to outright bans on ownership. It's best to be sure about the laws in your area before laying out a sizeable fee for one of these beautiful animals.
Does a fennec make a good pet?
Legal stuff aside - do fennecs make good pets? The answer to that question depends on what your definition of a good pet is. These little creatures come with a host of requirements and surprises. Here is a little about what owning a fennec fox as a pet is like.
What are the characteristics of a fennec?
Fennecs, even those bred as pets, are high energy nocturnal animals that can be flighty, skittish and shy. Sudden noises or unexpected movements can put them on high alert and make these little guys extremely nervous.
Fennec foxes are not cuddly mini dogs! With their soft fur and big eyes fennecs look like they should be cuddly and friendly but this couldn't be further from the truth. Fennec foxes typically do not enjoy being handled let alone cuddled, and may bite if scared or nervous.
Do fennec foxes need much exercise?
Exercise is essential for these energetic animals. Allowing your fennec space to play in your home will be key to keeping an fennec as an indoor pet. Indoor play can be high spirited and can result in broken items. When planning for indoor fennec activity it's important to note that unneutered males will spray urine to mark their territory. If outdoor walks are more suited to your lifestyle, with some time and lots of patience fennecs can be trained to walk outdoors on leash.
In warmer climates, a large outdoor enclosure can be an ideal way to both house your fennec and provide room for exercise. (Be sure to check with an exotic companion animal vet to ensure that your area is warm enough to comfortable house your fennec outdoors). An outdoor enclosure should include plenty of room to run and play as well as logs to climb and places to hide, and will need a solid base. (In the wild fennecs dig underground burrows that often reach 32 feet in length).
If you have a well-fenced backyard (5 - 6 feet high with no gap at the bottom) you could allow your fennec to run freely with vigilant supervision.
- As well as being amazing diggers, fennecs are also agile climbers. Fennec foxes are capable of quickly escaping over the top of most fences. Keeping your fennec on a harness and leash when outdoors may be the best way to prevent escape.
Are fennecs noisy?
From screaming and screeching to cooing and more, fennecs are very vocal animals even when they are content. That said, when frightened or upset fennecs can become very loud, letting out high pitched screeching sounds that can be difficult to cope with for owners and their neighbors!
What kind of enclosure do I need for a fennec fox?
Whether you plan to keep your fennec fox indoors or out, it is essential to provide your pet with a secure space with plenty of room for exercise. These animals need a surprising amount of space to be happy.
In the wild fennecs are dessert animals and as such need to be kept warm. While a large outdoor enclosure can be ideal, fennecs should only be kept outdoors in areas that do not go below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Outdoor enclosures must be designed to prevent your pet from digging their way out of the bottom, or climbing over the top. Space to run, play and hide should all be part of the outdoor enclosure you create for your fennec fox.
Fennecs should not be left caged indoors all day since they require large amounts of exercise. To keep your fennec housed indoors you will need a large enclosure for times when your pet cannot be supervised. You can create a larger sized cage by joining multiple ferret cages together to create a multi-story cage or a long play area. When your fennec is out of the cage, you will need to be tolerant of your pet jumping on furniture and possibly knocking things over.
Fennecs can, in some cases be taught to use a litter box through positive reinforcement training, involving lots of treats and encouragement.
How much does a pet fennec cost?
If a fennec fox sounds like the ideal pet for you, you can expect to pay between $2500 - $3500 for one (plus shipping if you do not live near a breeder). Take the time to check out the breeder to be sure that they are raising their animals ethically, and that the animals are both in good health and well cared for.
Do all vets provide care for fennecs?
No, not all vets can offer veterinary care for fennecs. Most vets care for standard companion animals such as cats and dogs. If you are considering getting any exotic animal as a pet be sure to check that you live near a vet that cares for exotic companion animals. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to know where to turn when your fennec fox needs medical care.
Do you have a fennec fox in need of a wellness exam? Contact Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery today. Our exotic companion animal veterinarian can help you to provide your fennec with the best possible care.
Looking for a vet in the Thomasville area?
We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.