Why do fennec fox have such big ears?

The smallest fox on Earth lives in one of the toughest environments – the Sahara desert – and its ears help it keep cool in the hot sun. The daytime temperatures skyrocket to record-breaking highs and nights can sink below freezing, but the tiny fennec fox is built to survive.

The fox’s enormous 15 centimetre (six inch) ears help lose excess heat, as well as listening out for prey burrowing in deep sand. Their soft fur provides camouflage against the desert sand as well as insulating the body from both heat and cold. A fennec fox’s diet is 60 per-cent insects of over 90 species, 24 per-cent dates and six per-cent plant matter. The dates a fennec fox eats may help keep its metabolism high to help it survive the desert landscape.

Fennec foxes are monogamous and both parents play a role in caring for their litter of up to six young. Pups are sexually mature after only six to nine months, so they leave their parents to start lives of their own.

 

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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/keithroper