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Fennec Fox

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by

Allison Frankowski

on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of Fennec Fox

By: Shari Snell (Buck), Allison Frankowski, and Amber Wenz
Fennec Fox
Anatomy
External features:
Size
18-22cm at the shoulder
The smallest of the family Canidae
Which includes foxes, wolves, dogs, coyotes, and jackals
They are smaller than the average house cat
Ears
Most distinctive feature
Largest ears of the Canidae family
long pinnae help assist with hearing prey under the sand and cooling the body
reduction of body heat is due to blood vessels close to the surface of the skin
They have hairs inside their ears to protect them from sand and keep insects from getting in
Larger tympanic bullae to help locate prey under sand
Anatomy
Eyes
Are black
Tapetum lucidum, which allows the animal to see at night, is more established
Pupils are elliptical, which means the shape resembles an oval (a two-dimensional shape like a stretched circle with slightly longer, flatter sides)
Nose
Rhinal pad is black
Whiskers
Vibrissae are black
Fur
Thick, soft, silky
Protects them from the drastic temperatures of the dessert
Insulates during the extreme cold temperature of night
Protects against the harsh heat of the day
Reddish-cream, light fawn on the dorsal side of adults
Under side is completely white
Tip of the tail is black
Juveniles are downy and almost all white
Fur over the violet gland is black or dark-brown
Feet are covered, protecting the soles from the brutal heat and also allows them to run on the loose sand
Anatomy
Tail
Also called a "sweep"
Heavily furred
Tail length is about 18-30 cm
60% of body length
Curled around their body, helps to keep them warm during the night
Especially their nose and feet
Helps them change direction quickly
Feet
Adapted to the hot, loose sand by having very furry feet
Blood vessels in feet release heat as the day gets hotter, helping to cool the animal
In a similar manner as the ears
Anatomy
Internal Features:
Glands
Violet Gland
Located on the proximal caudal side of the tail
Covered with bristles that appear like a black spot
Function unknown
Anal Gland
Located at 5 and 7 o'clock
Paired glands, one on each side of the anus
Cover feces with scent
Can express voluntarily
Mammary glands
3 pairs
Also have glands between their toes
Fennec foxes are very clean and don't have musk glands so there is no odor, unlike other foxes
Anatomy
Teeth
Dental formula: I3/3, C1/1, PM4/4, M2/3
Same as the domesticated dog
Compared to other foxes, their canines are smaller and are sharply cuspidate
Meaning having a cusp
May indicate insectivore
Dentition is weak
Similar to the bat-eared fox
Small carnassial teeth
Able to shear flesh
Tongue
Curls the tongue when panting so no saliva can escape
Anatomy
Other physical features:
Endothermic
Meaning a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from its surroundings in the form of heat
Homiothermic
Which is an animal that can maintain a constant narrow range of body temperature despite fluctuations in the environment
Bilateral symmetry
Symmetrical arrangement of an organism or a body part, along a central axis, so that the body is equal on both sides
Physiology
Lifespan
In wild
10 years
In captivity
12-16 years
Body weight
Male
0.8-1.5 kg
Female
0.8-1 kg
Birth weight
50g
Length
11-15 inches
Height
8 inches in shoulder
Normal body temperature
100.8*F (38.2*C)
Respiratory Rate
23 brpm
Heart Rate
118 bpm
Age of sexual maturity
Males
9-11 months
Females
6-9 months

Physiology
Breeding Season
January- March
Seasonally polyestrous
Give birth usually once a year; twice a year is possible but very rare
Males will mark their territory with urine during breeding season
females may develop dorsolateral alopecia
Gestation
49-63 days
Number of Kits
2-5
Weaning Age
8-10 weeks
Range time till independent
6-9 months
Eyes open
12-14 days
Jump from stand still position
Upward
2.3 Feet
Forward
3.28 Feet

Nutrition
Primary Diet
Nocturnal Omnivore
In the wild
Animal sources
Birds, reptiles, rodents (gerbil, jerboas), eggs, carrion, insects (locusts), terrestrial non-insect arthropods
Plant sources
Leaves, roots, tubers, bulbs, and fruit
In captivity
High quality dog or cat food (Mazuri Exotic Diet is widely used)
Can supplement with vegetables, fruits, pinkies, eggs, crickets, and meal worms
Raw meat from a reputable vendor may be given however it gives their urine a very unpleasant odor
Nutrition
Other facts:
Foraging behavior, will catch and store food
Dig to catch their food, this behavior is said to be instinctive instead of a learned behavior because when raised in a lab they will dig at the bottom of their cages
Be sure not to overfeed
Opportunistic; feeding on whatever they can find
Plant material making up their primary source of water because of this they can go indefinitely without a free water source
AVOID (toxic to them)
Onions, garlic, chocolate, caffeine, avocado

Fun Facts
Adapting to desert life
Metabolism functions at 67% of the rate for animals size
Heart rate is 40% lower than expected
They shiver when temperatures drop below 68*F (20*C)
Their body temperature will reach 105.6*F (40.9*C) before sweating to reduce water loss
Will start to pant only when the temperature of their surroundings is greater than 95*F (35*C)
Jaws open at a full pant only at 100*F (38*C)
Panting rates 690 brpm
When content, will purr
Fun Facts
Parents and Kits
They are monogamous
The reynard remains with the vixen after she gives birth
He feeds her and protects the den
Vixen does not allow reynard to interact with the kits until they are 5-6 weeks old

Conservation
Conservation efforts in place due to habitat being destroyed by human expansion
Not threatened but protected by law

Legality
Owning one varies by state law
Due to being exotic not all veterinarians will treat

Predators
Vultures, jackals, hyenas, various of birds of prey (hawks, eagles), humans, domesticated dogs (saluki)
Difficult to capture/catch due to their incredible hearing and sense of smell

Housing
In the wild: Found in the desert, Desert grass and scrub vegetation is important because the fox uses these for shelter and a water source.









As a pet/captivity: Escape proof enclosure with shelves, Low humidity and well ventilated, Litter box should be covered because if digging habits, Clay litter is recommended, Watch the temperature because they will get cold if the temperature drops below 68 degree F.


Common Diseases
Neonatal death-nervous mothering
Neoplasia
Renal disease
Liver disease
Cardiomyopathy
Pneumonia
Dermatopathies
Mites
Fleas
Conjunctivitis
Corneal lesions
Glaucoma
Histoplasmosis
Intestinal parasites
Zoonotic potential:
Tuberculosis
Rabies
Leishmaniasis
Also can have trauma from bite wounds

Taxonomy

Taxonomy Cont.
Arctic fox, Vulpes lagopus
Bengal fox, Vulpes bengalensis
Blanford's fox, Vulpes cana
Cape fox, Vulpes chama
Corsac fox, Vulpes corsac
Fennec fox, Vulpes zerda
Kit fox, Vulpes macrotis
Pale fox, Vulpes pallida
Rüppell's fox, Vulpes rueppellii
Red fox, Vulpes vulpes (includes silver fox)
Swift fox, Vulpes velox
Tibetan sand fox, Vulpes ferrilata
Genus
Urocyon
Gray fox, bat-eared fox
Dusicyon
"zorros" Crab-eating fox, small-eared fox, colpeo fox, azaras fox, small eared dog, sechuran fox, hoary fox

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Sub-phylum
Vertebrata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Vulpes
True foxes
Fennecus
Species
Zerda
Females
Vixens

Males
Reynards

Young
Kits
Groups are called
Skulk
Leash
Harem
History
Debate over the fennec fox actually being a fox
Very social, they live in groups of up to 10 or more unlike most fox that normally live alone
Groups will include one breeding pair, a litter of immature kits, and older siblings
Typically hunt alone
Only have 32 chromosome pairs
While other foxes have 35 or 39
Because of this there are some scientist who believe the fennec fox doesn't belong to the genus "vulpes" but in fact it's own genus "fennecus"
Originate from
Sahara desert of North Africa
Morocco
Niger
Egypt
Sudan
Red sea
Kuwait
Chad
History
Helps control and contribute to the desert food chain
Fennec foxes are the only fox that can be kept as a household pet.
Closely related to the red and artic fox
Scientist debate over where the Chihuahua comes from, some say the fennec fox others say descendants of wolves, Hopefully one day we will know for sure
Behavior
Very social, live together in family groups
Up to 10 members
Including one breeding pair, a litter of immature kits, and perhaps older siblings from previous litters
They prefer to hunt alone
Most foxes are solitary
Have a number of vocalizations
Chatters
Whimpers
Wails
Growls
Shrieks
Yelps
Purrs
Create very extensive tunnel systems and burrows which have many entrances. They spend most of the day in their dens.
Unless basking in the sun, which is a favorite past time.
When approached will yelp, lay on their sides, and wag their tails.
Love to play and can be taught to fetch which is great exercise
Social rank is determined by play through visual and tactile communication
Nocturnal
Housing
Very friendly with other pets
Due to high energy tend to exhaust other pets
Like to hide food and tend to burrow in couches to make nest and can't be house broken
Housing
Very friendly towards other pets
so high energy tend to exhaust other pets
Be Cautious
Like to hide food
Like to burrow in furniture to make nest
Like to dig, so pens and fences outside need to be placed underground
Can dig 20 feet in one night
Are very good jumpers
Very quick and agile
Can slip harness
Do NOT use a collar with them
Should be crated when not supervised
Don't use dusty or strong smelling bedding
Such as pine or cedar
Keep in areas with low humidity and good ventilation
Reproductive/breeding system and techniques
Polyestrous
If first litter is lost, a second may be produced 2.5-3 months later
Breeding pairs are monogamus
coexist year round
Mate for life
In the wild breeding occurs January- March
In captivaty breeding occurs January- February
Males urinate and use feces to mark their territory during this time
Females may develop dorsolateral alopecia
Females are in heat for 1-2 days
After mating a copulatory tie occurs that lasts about two hours
Blood collection
Jugular vein
Cephalic vein
Lateral saphenous
Preventive Care
Spayed or neutered at 6 months
Annual PE
Fecal exam
Rabies vaccine
Canine distemper vaccine
Canine parvovirus vaccine
Canine hepatitis vaccine
Flea/tick control
Canine heart worm preventative
Caution:
All medications and vaccines are/were not tested or approved for use in this species. The Rabies vaccine is not even recognized legally. Be sure to use the killed virus and not the live virus in all the vaccines.
Anesthesia
Induction with ketamine+ diazepam given IV
Maintenance with isoflurane
Physiology
Reproductive/breeding system and techniques
During breeding and rearing of the offspring, the mated pair may become very nervous and aggressive
To avoid neonatal deaths the den shouldn't be disturbed until kits are 3-4 weeks of age
Once the female is pregnant, the male will protect and take care of her by bringing her food until the kits are old enough to be left alone
Are sexually dimorphic
Low birth rate and slow reproduction of the fennec fox leads to the parents having a high investment in their kits and they watch over them constantly until independence
Full independence is not achieved until 6 months of age
Common Diseases
Neoplasms
Definition
“Abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body”
Etiology
Unknown
Diagnosis-
Medical history and physical exam
Radiographs
Blood tests
Ultrasound
Biopsy
Treatment-
Surgery
Radiation
Chemotherapy
Cryosurgery (freezing)
Hyperthermia (heating)
Immunotherapy

Common Diseases
Renal Disease (Nephritis)
Definition
“ A kidney disorder in which the spaces between the kidney tubules become swollen”
Etiology
Often caused by a side effect of certain drugs
Symptoms-
Blood in urine
Fever
PU
Mental status changes
Nausea
Vomiting
Swelling of the body
Weight gain
Diagnosis-
Physical exam
Blood chemistry
Atrial blood gases
BUN and blood creatinine levels
CBC
Kidney biopsy
Kidney ultrasound
Urinalysis
Treatment
“Depends on the cause of the problem. Avoiding medications that lead to this condition may relieve symptoms quickly”

Common Diseases
Cardiomyopathy
Definition
“ A primary disease of cardiac muscle that results in a decreased ability of the heart to generate pressure to pump through the vascular system”
Etiology
Unknown
Symptoms
Lethargy
Weakness
Weight loss
Collapse
Coughing
Increased respiratory rate
Abdominal distention
Diagnosis-
ECG
Radiograph
Electrocardiograph
Prognosis
Poor

Common Diseases
Pneumonia
Definition
“Inflammation of the lungs or lower respiratory tract”
Etiology
Injury, irritation or infection
Symptoms
Fever
Difficulty breathing
Lethargy
Cough
Diagnosis-
Physical exam
CBC
Biochemistry profile
Chest x-ray
Treatment
Antibiotics
Prognosis
Depends on the severity but typically good

Common Diseases
Conjunctivitis
Definition
Inflammation of the conjunctiva (the lining tissue that covers the eye and lines the eyelids and third eyelid)
Etiology
Bacterial and viral infections
Allergies
Hereditary conditions
Tumors
Diagnosis-
Find out if there is a primary or secondary problem
Ophthalmic examination
Treatment-
Topical and oral or systemic medications
Prognosis
Typically good depending on the diagnosis

Common Diseases
Glaucoma
Definition
Common eye disease in which the intraocular pressure is abnormally high and usually results in blindness and is painful.
Etiology
Can be spontaneous
Cataracts
Lens displacement
Inflammation
Trauma
Cancer
Diagnosis
Tonometry
Gonioscopy
Ophthalmoscopy
Treatment
Medical treatment
Laser surgery


Common Diseases
Leishmaniasis
Definition
Infection caused by a parasite
Etiology
Protozoan parasites
Diagnosis
Antibody assay
Treatment
Anti-leishmanial drugs
Maintenance therapy with allopurinol
Prevention
Vector control

Common Diseases
Rabies
Definition
Acute, viral encephalomyelitis that can effect any warm blooded mammal
Etiology
Rhabolovirus
Transmission
Saliva or tissue fluid
Clinical signs
Behavioral changes
Difficulty swallowing
Hyper salivation
Hind limb ataxia
Depression
Diagnosis
Immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) stain fresh on brain tissue
Treatment
None
Prevention
Vaccinate
Be aware of wildlife with abnormal behavior

Ask me any questions!
No really I'm all ears
Restraint & Handling
Use same method of restraint used for canines
Full transcript