What Do Fennec Foxes Eat in the Wild and in Residential Homes?
Fennec foxes are cute but cunning. They mostly thrive in the wild, but they can also be kept as pets. Just like small dogs, you can carry them around and play with them. But like any animal, make sure that you feed them well. Even though fennec foxes are closely related to dogs, their diet is very similar to that of a cat. So, what do fennec foxes eat on a regular basis?
Fennec foxes have long coats that are thick and soft. Their colors usually range from white to cream, and they have bushy black-tipped tails. They also have very large ears that are useful for hunting prey and dispelling heat.
The majority of fennec foxes live in the Sahara Desert in North Africa, but there are also others that can be found in Northern Morocco as well as near Nigeria, Chad, and Kuwait.
These creatures are used to the desert life. They are adept at camouflage and running in the sand. They do not mind the terrain and the extreme heat. In fact, they are able to survive without drinking water for long periods. They get most of their water supply from the food that they eat. Speaking of food, what do fennec foxes eat? In general, fennec foxes can eat the following:
Vegetables and Roots
Commercial Food Products
Anything except leafy greens and carrots
Anything except grapes
Vitamins and supplements
All seafood except tuna
Tuna contains mercury, which can be dangerous for both humans and their pets. Hence, it is not advisable to give tuna to your fennec fox.
Outdoor Fennec Foxes vs. Indoor Fennec Foxes
Fennec foxes are small. Some of them are even smaller than cats. Hence, it is possible to keep them as pets. In fact, domesticating them can increase their lifespan. Indoor fennec foxes may live up to fourteen years, while those left out in the wild may only live up to ten years.
Fennec foxes that are in the wild mostly survive on insects and other animals, such as beetles, lizards, birds, rodents, and reptiles. They also eat bird eggs. At times, they scavenge for roots and fruits. They need protein to stay active. They also get leafy nutrition by eating animals that consume plants.
Fennec foxes are actually part of the canine family. Nonetheless, their diet is similar to that of a feline. So, if you get a fennec fox for a pet, you have to give it lots of protein. Keep in mind that these creatures cannot digest fiber properly. Refrain from giving them human food such as oats. You should also not give them carrots, grains, and corns.
As much as possible, you should give it meats and insects. Stay as close to the wild fennec fox diet as possible. Otherwise, your fennec fox may develop liver disease or cardiomyopathy.
You should also give your pet raw meat. According to a study conducted by Dr. Francis Pottinger, cats on raw diets were generally healthier than cats on cooked diets. In fact, those that were given cooked foods developed heart problems, infections, allergies, arthritis, and neurological diseases.
So, in order to play safe, you should only give raw meats to your fennec fox. Nonetheless, you may give it cooked chicken and seafood. You can mix these cooked meats with its usual meals.
You can give it dozens of crickets, mealworms, silkworms, and other types of insects along with their eggs. You can also feed it some mice or raw meat. In addition, you can give it some commercial food, particularly cat food. Just make sure that such food contains lots of meat products and taurine.
To ensure that your fennec fox gets sufficient amounts of taurine, you can give it taurine capsules. You can mix the supplements with its diet of vegetables and meats. Foxes also need Vionate, which is a type of vitamin. You can give this to your pet twice per week.
Aside from meats, you can also give your fennec fox vegetables, such as broccoli and tomatoes. You can either feed it frozen or fresh vegetables. You can also give it fruits and berries. Cherries and cranberries, in particular, are recommended because they can help neutralize urine odor. After all, they do eat vegetables, fruits, and roots in the wild.
Be wary of grapes. Veterinarians warn canine owners to avoid feeding their pets grapes. Dogs tend to develop kidney issues from eating grapes. In fact, there are at least fifty reported cases of canine dying from grape overdose.
Even though fennec foxes are able to survive for long periods of time without drinking water, you should make sure that your pet has access to a water supply. After all, it lives inside your home, not outside in the wild. The domesticated fennec fox diet should mimic the natural diets of these animals as much as possible.
Fennec foxes that thrive in the desert stay hydrated by retaining moisture from the dew that accumulates in their burrows and from their food. Make sure that your pet drinks clean and fresh water. You can train it to drink from a ceramic dish or a water bottle designed for big rabbits.
Ideal Pet Food Brands for Your Fennec Fox
If you give commercial food to your fennec fox, make sure that you rotate the meats. Give your pet raw, dry, and canned food. Here are some of the cat food brands that you can buy:
- Prairie (Nature’s Variety): It is available in canned, frozen raw, and dried varieties. It is rich in taurine and has very little grains.
- Wellness: It has a special formula that contains 2% taurine and 8% fat. Its main ingredients are salmon, herring meal, deboned turkey, menhaden fishmeal, and salmon meal. It does not have any artificial preservatives.
- Mazuri Wild Feline: It is rich in taurine, making it ideal for fennec foxes.
- Azmira: It contains natural ingredients that are good for fennec foxes.
Recommended Foods for Fennec Foxes
By this time, you already have an idea about the diets of fennec foxes in the wild and in residential homes. Here is a list of the foods that you can give your beloved fennec fox:
- Raw beef muscle
- Raw beef kidney
- Raw lamb muscle
- Raw lamb kidney
- Raw pork liver
- Raw pork muscle
- Raw chicken muscle
- Raw oysters
- Raw codfish
- Raw clams
- Cooked crab
- Cooked tone
- Cooked squid
- Cooked octopus
- Cooked clams
- Cooked moule
- Cooked scallops
- Pasteurized milk
How to Raise Mealworms at Home
Since your pet fennec fox lives in an urbanized area, there is no way for it to hunt for protein outdoors. Thus, you need to give it sufficient amounts of protein to maintain its good health.
Worms are excellent protein sources for your fennec fox. They are widely available in pet stores and even easy enough to grow at home. Experts recommend feeding fennec foxes several dozens of mealworms and silkworms per day.
In order to save money on pet food and ensure that your fennec fox only eats high-quality foods, you can raise mealworms in your home. Simply get a tub and fill it with wheat germ. Your base should be thick enough to hold the mealworms.
You can feed these mealworms cornmeal, potatoes, carrots, and apples. Don't forget to give them powdered milk and monkey biscuits to increase their size and protein content. Never use hormones on your mealworms to make them bigger; this would only reduce their nutrition content.
Aside from mealworms, you can also raise black bugs. However, before you feed the adult bugs to your fennec fox, see to it that they have already laid out eggs. This way, you will not run out of black bug supply.
Just like dogs, fennec foxes are social animals. They like to play and run around. They are very active and can be trained to do certain tricks, such as fetching. To prevent your exotic pet from running away, always keep it on a leash whenever it is outside.
Of course, you need to make sure that your fennec fox has a balanced diet. Depending on its age and size, it may require a certain balance of foods. For instance, pregnant or young fennec foxes may need more protein. Overweight fennec foxes, on the other hand, may consume more vegetable matter.
Furthermore, you should take your pet to the veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure that it is in top shape. Aside from nutritious foods, you should also give your fennec fox the right vitamins and supplements to prolong its lifespan.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, you have learned more about fennec foxes that you ever did before. What do fennec foxes eat when they are in the desert? What types of food can you give a fennec fox that lives in an urban home? Share your answers, along with this article, with family and friends on social media. Ask them, too, about what they think of fennec foxes and whether or not they would be willing to keep one.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.