Fennec foxes may seem like an extremely tempting pet to procure for yourself for a variety of reasons. They’re tiny and cute with giant ears, healthy coats of fur, and can be kept in a domestic setting as other pets are. However, just because they can be kept in a domestic setting, Tom Harford Columbia warns, does not mean fennecs are domesticated. They’re still considered wild animals, and as such, require an extreme amount of care and attention to properly watch over.
The first step, Tom Harford Columbia suggests to anyone considering adopting a fennec fox, is to research the legality of keeping one wherever you live. You’ll need a permit or license in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas. If you live in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, or Washington, you’re out of luck: fennec foxes are illegal to own in these states.
Assuming you live in a state where caring for a fennec is legal, you’ve still got your work cut out for you. Fennec foxes require almost constant attention due to their extreme amounts of energy. They have a very playful nature, which, combined with their impressive energy reserves, usually translates into constant laps being run around the house and jumping off furniture for hours on end.
Fennec foxes are nocturnal animals by nature, but will adjust to your schedule if you keep them long enough. Despite being nocturnal, Tom Harford Columbia notes, fennecs love lying in the sun.
While their vocalizations are referred to by some as “barks”, Tom Harford Columbia warns: if you’re sensitive to noise, a fennec fox might not be the pet you’re looking for. Their “barks” can be ear-splitting, and with their capacity for energy and play, can sometimes be heard for hours on end.
Tom Harford Columbia doesn’t want to totally deter you from the idea of keeping a fennec fox as a pet, however. While they technically can not be domesticated, they can adapt quite well to living in a home with humans, if shown the proper care and raised correctly. They require veterinary care similar to dogs and should be taken for checkups semi-regularly. Beware, though: if you’re attempting to keep one in an illegal state or don’t have the proper paperwork, your vet is legally obligated to inform the authorities.
One surprising fact about fennec foxes Tom Harford Columbia shares with us is their ability to be litter trained. They tend to dig, so a deep, covered litter box is suggested to cut down on potential messes.
In conclusion, fennec foxes are definitely a tough pet to keep, but if you have the time, energy, and love to give, it can be a very rewarding experience raising a fennec. Properly cared for, they can live for up to 14 years in captivity.