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Fennec Fox Pet: Do Desert Foxes Make Good Pets? (Care & Needs)

Fennec foxes do not make good pets. They are noisy, energetic, smell bad, and will constantly try to escape. They also like to dig, so you have to be careful as they can ruin your home and garden. If successfully socialized, they behave much like dogs.

The Fennec fox, also known as the desert fox, is a small canid of the Vulpes family. It is an omnivorous mammal that lives in places with high temperatures. Fennec foxes are small, reaching 3.5 pounds of body weight, and have giant ears.

They behave mostly like dogs, but since they are not domesticated, they need thorough socialization. You also need to take precautions to prevent Fennec foxes from escaping.

Before you decide whether to buy one of these exotic animals, make sure you have the legal right to keep them where you live.

In this article, you will find out if Fennec foxes are good pets, where it is legal to own them, how they behave, and much more.

Can You Have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?

Yes, you can have a Fennec fox as a pet, but it depends on the region you are living in. Foxes are not legal in all states and countries, including Fennecs. In addition, Fennec foxes have certain needs and are difficult to meet for most people.

Can You Have a Fennec Fox as a Pet
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Fennec foxes do not make great pets. Although they are loving and caring once you bond with them, they have difficult needs that have to be met. They are ultimately wild animals.

Even if you buy a Fennec fox from a breeder or another owner, they are still wild. They are not domesticated, only tamed.

The difference between tame and domesticated is their natural behavior. Domesticated animals are genetically used to live with humans, while tame animals are still considered wild.

Before buying or adopting a Fennec fox, you should take the following into consideration:

  • Temperament and behavior: Fennec foxes can become destructive when bored. They especially like to dig.
  • Circadian rhythm: Fennec foxes are noisy and nocturnal animals, but they can adapt to your sleeping schedule.
  • Diet: Fennec foxes are omnivorous animals, so you need to feed them vegetables and fruits.

Related Article: Can You Have a Pet Fox? (5 Reasons Why It’s a Bad Idea)

Is It Legal to Have a Fennec Fox as a Pet?

Fennec foxes are not legal as pets all over the world. They are legal in most of Europe, but only a few states in the US allow them. In countries like Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and Israel it is illegal to own all species of fox.

Foxes are not generally accepted as pets. They are wild animals that can transmit diseases. Some countries have certain regulations you need to follow.

Is It Legal to Have a Fennec Fox as a Pet

In some states in the US, you are obliged to purchase foxes from authorized breeders. 

There are 16 states where you can legally own most species of foxes. Of these 16 states, Oklahoma and Wyoming don’t allow Fennec foxes as pets. On the other hand, New York only allow Fennec foxes as pets and no other fox species.[1]

In Europe, foxes are legal pets in 15 countries, while Canada only allows foxes as pets in seven regions.[2]

It is legal to own Fennec foxes as pets in Korea and Japan.

In Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and Israel it is illegal to own foxes, including Fennec foxes.

Do Fennec Foxes Make Good Pets?

No, Fennec foxes do not make good pets. Although tame Fennec foxes behave much like dogs, they are still wild animals that need thorough socialization. Fennec foxes can also become destructive and ruin your house and yard when bored.

When you get a Fennec fox as a pet, you must know you are taking on a big responsibility. They need a lot of attention, time, and space to consume their energy.

Although Fennec foxes are suitable for apartment keeping due to their small size, they will destroy your home if they don’t have enough space to run and explore. 

They can damage your carpets and furniture, chew the electrical cables, and steal small objects.

Here are the main reasons why Fennec foxes do not make good pets:

  • They are wild animals.
  • They are loud and energetic.
  • They are nocturnal.
  • They can become destructive.
  • They cannot be trained.
  • They are difficult to control.

Fennec Fox Behavior and Temperament

Pet Fennec foxes generally behave like dogs. They are very sociable animals and if you manage to bond with them, they are even loving. Nevertheless, Fennec foxes are wild animals that need thorough socialization to be kept as pets.

Fennec Fox Behavior and Temperament

They also have problems adapting to new owners. 

Fennec foxes get attached to their original owner, so it is difficult to create new bonds with new owners. It is recommended to buy or adopt a Fennec fox kit and not an adult, as it is possible you won’t get along with your new pet.

Fennec foxes are active, fast, agile, and will try to escape if they don’t have enough space. You need to provide them with the right enclosures to prevent this from happening. 

They also like to dig. For this, you can supply them with covered litter boxes so they have a place to dig and use their energy.

Although they are nocturnal animals, Fennec foxes can change their sleeping schedule according to yours.

Fennec foxes are friendly to everyone, including strangers, but they may not get along so well with other pets as they are hyperactive and will want to play with them all day.

Fennec Fox Housing

Because Fennec foxes are small (3.5 lbs. body weight as an adult), they can technically be kept in an apartment. But if you want to keep them indoors, you must build a special enclosure. They need a place to rest and stay while you are away from home. Otherwise, it is possible to find the house destroyed after a day out.

Fennec foxes are active animals that need to discharge their energy, so they need space to roam around. They are also super curious and get bored quickly.

Fennec Fox Housing

If you want to keep your pet Fennec fox outside, you need to fence off your garden to prevent it from escaping. 

The fence should be buried deep in the ground as foxes love to dig. They can dig holes six meters deep.

If you live in a cold climate, it is not recommended to keep Fennec foxes. They are desert animals, used to high temperatures. They get sick fast if the temperatures are too low.

If you can’t fence your yard, you can walk your fox on a leash, like dogs. Fennec foxes are extremely fast, and if they run after something as they would in the wild, it will be difficult to catch them.

They also like to sit in the sun, so you have to provide them with a place where they can do that.

Even if you keep them outside, you still have to build an enclosure with a roof to shelter them from bad weather and have a place to sleep.

Fennec Fox Diet

Fennec foxes are omnivorous mammals that eat fruits, plants, insects, and animals. A suitable diet for a Fennec fox pet is a mix of dog and cat food, fruits, and vegetables.[3]

If you want to feed your fox a raw diet with fruits and vegetables, make sure you supplement it with a mix of vitamins and amino acids.

Fennec Fox Common Health Problems

Fennec foxes are usually healthy animals, but they do experience health problems. Because they are like dogs, they need similar care. They must be vaccinated and dewormed regularly.

Few veterinarians know how to treat exotic animals like foxes. That is why it is imperative to find a veterinarian who knows how to treat them before purchasing a Fennec fox.

Foxes are part of the same family as dogs and resemble them in terms of health, needing similar preventive care. They must be vaccinated and dewormed regularly to ensure you keep them healthy. 

You also need to apply antiparasitic products for fleas and ticks and take preventive measures for heartworms.

Fennec Fox Common Health Problems

Regarding vaccination, you should vaccinate your pet Fennec fox regularly against rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus.

Fennec foxes are prone to the following diseases:

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Heart

Foxes develop these diseases if they have a poor diet that does not meet their nutritional requirements. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to their diet. Feed your Fennec fox the right foods to reduce the risk of developing these medical conditions.

Fennec foxes can also develop skin infections and intestinal parasites.

It is recommended to take your pet fox for a regular check-up every year or whenever you think something is wrong with it.

Buying a Fennec Fox Pet

It is recommended to buy your Fennec fox from authorized breeders. This way, you will know that your new pet is healthy and has no behavior issues. You can also purchase or adopt Fennec foxes from other owners or rescue shelters.

The most important thing to take into consideration before buying a Fennec fox is to make sure it is legal where you live.

Buying a Fennec fox is often expensive and problematic. Some breeders remove the kits from their mothers too early and demand a hefty price for them. 

If the kits are removed prematurely (before they are weaned) they can have behavioral or health issues.

Always check the breeder’s documents before purchase, including the animals’ medical records.


How Much Do Fennec Foxes Cost?

The price of a Fennec fox kit is between $2000 and $4000. They are not popular pets because they need special conditions. Fennec fox breeders ask so much money for one specimen because they have to cover the transport fees, nutritional requirements, and the fact that the foxes do not have several litters per year.

How to Care for a Fennec Fox?

To take care of a Fennec fox, you must first make sure that it is legal to own foxes in the region where you live. Secondly, the fox must live in a region with a warm climate, because otherwise it would shiver and get sick. Regardless of whether you keep your fox in the apartment or outside, you must build it a special enclosure from which your fox cannot escape.

Are Fennec Foxes Dangerous?

Fennec foxes are not considered particularly dangerous. They are friendly to most people, including strangers, but can bite if you annoy them. Instead, it is recommended not to keep Fennec foxes with other pets because they are energetic and active animals that want to play continuously.

Are Fennec Foxes Domesticated?

No, Fennec foxes are not domesticated. The only domesticated fox is the Russian red fox. This truly domesticated fox can be purchased for $9,000. The rest of the foxes are wild and only tamed.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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