Scully 2 is a female Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) born in 2010. She is named in honor of our beloved Scully who is no longer with us. She and her enclosure mate, Mulder, have come to the Foundation to join our educational program, and they are named after the “X Files” tv show characters to honor their large ‘out-of-this-world’ ears!
The fennec fox is the smallest of the fox species, weighing under four pounds when fully grown. Long, thick hair insulates the fox from the heat and cold of the desert climate it inhabits, and their hairy feet protect their paws from the extremely hot sand. The fennec fox is most known for its incredibly large ears, which allows the fox to release heat from their body. The ears also help with hunting, being sensitive enough to hear insects, such as beetles and locusts, walking across or below the surface of the sand. Fennec foxes are omnivorous animals. Their diet consists of insects, rodents, birds and bird eggs, as well as desert vegetation such as grasses, roots, fruits, and berries. With water scarce in its desert environment, most of the fennec fox’s water comes from the vegetation it eats.
These foxes live in small communities, called harems, in burrowed dens at the base of stable sand dunes. These harems contain up to ten individuals. Similar to the canid family, male fennec foxes mark their territory by spraying it with urine. Male fennec foxes can become aggressive during mating season, although once a partner is found, fennec foxes mate for life. Mating season for the fennec fox is from January to February, and females give birth only once each year. Kits, young foxes, nurse from their mother for around 60 – 70 days, and reach sexual maturity at around ten months of age.
The fennec fox’s natural habitat is in the Sahara Desert and northern Africa. The fennec fox’s main predators are eagle owls, caracals, jackals, striped hyenas, and the saluki, a domestic dog native to Africa. Fennec foxes are also commonly trapped for sale to the pet trade and for fur.
Fennec Fox Statistics:
|Body Size||9 – 16 inches long, tail is 8 inches long, 8 inches tall|
|Gestation Period||50-52 days|
|Litter Size:||2-5 kits|
|Life Span:||11 – 14 years in captivity|
|Status||Hunted by some natives, but is not threatened|