Fennec Fox Kits Born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a two fennec fox kits. Parents, Rhiona and Copper, welcomed the babies-a boy, Todd, and a girl, Vixey, in the middle of the night on April 21. “It has been 21 years since we’ve had fennec foxes born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “This is a particularly exciting birth, as this is a species that struggles with reproduction. We are thrilled to have a success story.” The kits will be on exhibit at the zoo for several months. Fennec foxes reach maturity between six and nine months of age, and the youngsters will likely be relocated to other zoos in the early fall. Fennec foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well. One of the smallest fox species, fennec foxes have distinctive bat-like ears that act like natural air conditioners, radiating heat away from their bodies. Their ears also allow the fennec to hear the movements of its predators and prey over long distances. They have long, thick hair that insulates them during cold nights and protects them from hot sun during the day. Even the bottom of the fox’s feet are hairy, which helps them perform like snowshoes and protects them from extremely hot sand.
“Little is known about the species, so the observations we’ve documented through the pregnancy, birth and rearing of the kits are helpful in building the national knowledge base we have about fennec foxes,” said Fox. Fennec foxes are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival.
FUN FACT: A male fox is called a reynard, the female is called a vixen, and the baby is called a kit. A group of foxes is called a skulk or a leash.