Two fennec foxes (Vulpes zerda) are making their public debut at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Prospect Park Zoo in New York.
Both foxes are young males and arrived at Prospect Park from WCS’s Bronx Zoo. They are the first fennecs to be exhibited at the Prospect Park Zoo.
Fennecs are the world’s smallest species of fox and, like many other fox species, fennecs are nocturnal. While these boys are young, adult fennec foxes typically weigh less than four pounds with body lengths between 9 and 16 inches.
They are adorably tiny with pronounced features. Their characteristically large ears can be up to six inches in length. In addition to highly acute hearing to hear prey even when it is underground, they use their ears to help regulate body temperature by dispersing heat. Heat regulation through the ears is also a feature common in rabbits.
Fennec foxes are a native species to the deserts of northern Africa, where they range widely across their sandy environments. They are experts at digging holes and thrive in this environment. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the wild population is currently stable.
The new fennec fox exhibit is located in the Prospect Park Zoo’s Hall of Animals building that also houses saki and titi monkeys, dwarf mongooses, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles.