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Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

For species less common than reds and arctics.

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Laughing Hyena
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Nutrition - I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Laughing Hyena » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:12 pm

They are just so cute with those big ears!!! Do you need a permit for Fennecs? I know you need permits to own Red Foxes and other types of Foxes. But it seems to me Fennecs are more of a popular pet fox and I've seen more and more people able to own them compared to other Foxes. I also live in Illinois if that makes a difference.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Whisper » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:45 pm

Im pretty sure its legal with a $25 permit, if you buy it from a licensed breeder
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:59 pm

The $25 fee is only for native, if I remember correctly, and fennecs are exotic.

Crittercamp Exotics is a rescue, and Beth has several fennec foxes. :) It's located in Rockford if you're close by there at all. Maybe you could arrange a visit to see hers. She's had a LOT of them over the years.

They are easier to keep than red foxes according to people who have kept both. And they aren't as smelly, lol. Since they're small, that probably makes them easier to manage as well--easier to house and handle.

I would absolutely love some.

They don't have a straightforward diet though, so you would have to be sure to do your research on that prior to getting one. Lots of insects. Before getting a fennec, I'd want to be raising my own insects. Dubia roaches would be perfect for that.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Laughing Hyena » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:36 pm

Ash wrote:The $25 fee is only for native, if I remember correctly, and fennecs are exotic.

Crittercamp Exotics is a rescue, and Beth has several fennec foxes. :) It's located in Rockford if you're close by there at all. Maybe you could arrange a visit to see hers. She's had a LOT of them over the years.

They are easier to keep than red foxes according to people who have kept both. And they aren't as smelly, lol. Since they're small, that probably makes them easier to manage as well--easier to house and handle.

I would absolutely love some.

They don't have a straightforward diet though, so you would have to be sure to do your research on that prior to getting one. Lots of insects. Before getting a fennec, I'd want to be raising my own insects. Dubia roaches would be perfect for that.
Oh geez they eat insects? Well I guess I'm somewhat used to that I already do have a Bearded Dragon that eats that kind of stuff. :)
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:32 pm

Laughing Hyena wrote:Oh geez they eat insects? Well I guess I'm somewhat used to that I already do have a Bearded Dragon that eats that kind of stuff. :)


Ideally, yes, it should be a large part of their diet. Many feed some dog food with lots of veggies, for some reason, but many die around 9-10 of kidney failure as well. One recently passed at 13. I think more should live to that age or older. They just need the right diet. Almost every fennec I have ever known of died of kidney failure. I really think a more species appropriate diet would make a big difference. They are desert animals designed to get their water from food so ideally you would want to use dry food(kibble) sparingly if at all. Most of what is available to them to eat is insects, lizards and rodents, with very limited vegetation(think about what's available in a desert).
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Whisper » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:00 pm

Yeah, thats why i got a red, despite how cute fenncs are. with fennecs you really have to get the diet right. Reds to, but they're less touchy. And insects kinda gross me out. Im good with reptiles, birds, and all mammals, but some bugs...... Also fennecs are a little noisy for me.
I really dont mean to offend any fennec owners, im sure they are awesome pets, just not my kind of fox.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:33 pm

Before I ever try to get a fennec, I want to be able to be raising all my own food for it. :) Dubia roaches are very nutritious, can't fly, and don't climb. Then also crickets, mealworms, superworms, and small rats.

So I'm getting ready for it, I guess. lol. Got the rats and dubias. :)
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby naja-naja » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:07 pm

hmm... fennec seems like it would be ideal for me... warm insulated room, check. small mammals and insects ordered in bulk, check. teel me they can be kept in big vivaria and i'm sold lol.

actually what kind of cage size would be required? i'm planning on a lizard building in the future with, as well as the vivs stacked on top of each other, having built-in, walk-in cages about 10'x6'x6'. would this be adequate size for a fennec? especially if it had outdoor access?
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:18 pm

naja-naja wrote:hmm... fennec seems like it would be ideal for me... warm insulated room, check. small mammals and insects ordered in bulk, check. teel me they can be kept in big vivaria and i'm sold lol.

actually what kind of cage size would be required? I'm planning on a lizard building in the future with, as well as the vivs stacked on top of each other, having built-in, walk-in cages about 10'x6'x6'. would this be adequate size for a fennec? especially if it had outdoor access?


Yes, that would be a perfect size. :) They don't need to be outdoors--they're indoor pets, but I'm sure they could benefit from being outside some if they had lots of cover to feel safe. I don't know anyone who keeps them outside. Most people house their fennecs in ferret nations when they are not home, so I imagine a "walk-in closet" type enclosure with shelves and platforms would be amazing for them.

I just built a repti-house, and I'm excited because I'm planning on housing my future fennecs in there. Granted, it is still a small repti-house, but it's made to be expandable and keep in temperature and humidity during the wintertime. I have my snakes and rats in there right now, and that's where I bring my iguanas at night. Fennecs would be so cozy in there as long as there was enough space for their enclosure. :)
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:52 am

Oh I don't know how this slipped my mind but I was looking at things just now and it popped back into my head. One of the best things to feed a fennec is rabbit. I had heard this from several breeders and owners(even though all the breeders seem to feed kibble now, yuck). Many an old and ailing fennec was bought more time and quality with rabbit. Maybe since it's so lean and similar to rodent meat.

So the way I see it rabbit as a staple should be awesome for them if you can't do rodents. Preferably whole if wanting to follow a whole prey diet but you'd have to portion it smaller for them. Or you can by them skinned, beheaded and gutless from a butcher, though most butchers will have to special order it for you. I know one local store that stocks it though(Mexican grocery butcher). Then supplement with rodents and insects. Any vegetation could be kept to treats or something as I'd only give 10% max, since in the wild being a desert carnivore they get very little naturally.

It kind of disturbs me many owners feed large amounts of veggies. They even go so far as to call them omnivores, which is not true. They have no dentition that suggests that. Actually they are known for their week dentition which actually suggests a more insect heavy diet but that can be hard to do for most pet owners if not raising them or buying them in bulk, though naja seems willing. So rabbit as a base seems a good compromise. I bet Dubai roaches would be good for them.

I don't know anyone who keeps them outside.

I knew a person in Texas that did. He was allowed to run in a secure yard, it's pretty hard to make a yard secure for a fennec but hers was(as far as his escaping). However he was caught and eaten by an owl one night. Cover is needed to be secure, not just for feeling secure.

Oh one of my favorite outside enclosures I once saw was a greenhouse converted to an enclosure filled with sand and buried tubes for tunnels. He lived in a cold climate so no real threat of over heating in the summer.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:51 pm

Pet fennecs in captivity don't seem to live as long as they should (imo). I think this is in part to improper diet and care. Lots of them die from kidney failure.

If rabbit is good for them, you can always breed your own rabbits for food. And with a meat grinder, just grind everything together. Then freeze and thaw portions out. Easier said than done, but if you live in the country where it's legal to own a bunch of meat rabbits, then it would be great. Or like TG said, you could get in touch with a butcher.

I second the dubia roaches. Nothing better, in my opinion. They breed very well. It takes a while to get a colony up and going, so I suggest buying a "starter colony" way in advance. OR there are often reptile owners that are selling off their dubia colonies. Way more nutritious than crickets, though crickets might be good to raise as well, just for some variety.

I also suggest superworms--I've not raised those myself, but I want to start. They seem to be a great source of nutrition for both mammals and reptiles.

I didn't realize most breeders fed their fennecs kibble. I thought that was just some pet owners. I know Elina feeds her fennecs a stellar diet. I don't know how old hers are, but I'm certain they are going to live longer than the average captive fennec because of this.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:23 pm

Ash wrote:Pet fennecs in captivity don't seem to live as long as they should (imo). I think this is in part to improper diet and care. Lots of them die from kidney failure.

If rabbit is good for them, you can always breed your own rabbits for food. And with a meat grinder, just grind everything together. Then freeze and thaw portions out. Easier said than done, but if you live in the country where it's legal to own a bunch of meat rabbits, then it would be great. Or like TG said, you could get in touch with a butcher.

I second the dubia roaches. Nothing better, in my opinion. They breed very well. It takes a while to get a colony up and going, so I suggest buying a "starter colony" way in advance. OR there are often reptile owners that are selling off their dubia colonies. Way more nutritious than crickets, though crickets might be good to raise as well, just for some variety.

I also suggest superworms--I've not raised those myself, but I want to start. They seem to be a great source of nutrition for both mammals and reptiles.

I didn't realize most breeders fed their fennecs kibble. I thought that was just some pet owners. I know Elina feeds her fennecs a stellar diet. I don't know how old hers are, but I'm certain they are going to live longer than the average captive fennec because of this.


My feelings exactly. Briefly why aside from things already stated is long ago it was commonly said that 13-15 was average age to die for a captive fennec. Now this was back when most were still kept in zoos and most zoos still used more natural foods rather than kibble. Move forward in time and people started wondering why their fennecs were dying young at 9-10 years of age. Somehow the collective consensus became "Because the old info was wrong and wasn't average age but max, they rarely ever live that long."

Personally I am convinced the old info is right since the change coincides with the changes in diet and how they were being kept. There is a 12 year old still going strong in Japan. Her staple diet is kibble but with a very large portion of smelt with every meal, with it less frequent insects, mice and eggs and things as treats though vegetation wise she gets boiled sweet potato sometimes as a special treat.

What I would consider the best breeder in the country feeds science diet with a healthy topping of mixed vegetables. Probably the worst options for both choices if you are going to use them. Those bags of mixed veggies are all the high starch high sugar variety like carrots and beans. If feeding veggies should stick to high fiber though I do think root vegetables are a pretty good option as roots are one of the main desert edible vegetation matter that can be found there. Diet aside I still think them the best due to their work on keeping the genetics in their lines varied and healthy.

What kind of supply can you expect to get out of a typical Dubai roach colony?

I found a frozen rodent site selling frozen rabbits for less than I'd pay for ground beef here, though the extra cost of shipping would need to be factored. But yeah a great food for them. The way I see it is if a ailing fennec, especially one in kidney failure, can make a turn around on raw rabbit and be more energetic and healthier even for awhile then making that a staple early on should be preventative as it obviously stresses the kidneys less than other foods typically given. Most people seem happy with the standard though especially if it's easier like kibbles and veggies.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:57 am

Once I get enough of my medium roaches up to breeding size, I can hopefully give you a better idea, but at work we have a dubia colony that we use to feed two bearded dragons and a plated lizard. I don't foresee us ever running out of that colony.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby Ash » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:09 am

This is a good info page about dubia: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/bandung/roaches/dubiacare.html.

It says on there that a colony of about 40 adult dubias will sustain a bearded dragon. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. A bunch can fit into a large rubbermaid tub. You want to keep a ratio of 1:5 male to females. So 8 adult males to 32 adult females. I probably have close to that, but I want to get a whole lot more up and going, so I'm letting all the small-mediums grow up first.

Not sure how many you'd plan to feed a fennec though. I guess it would take some trial and error to see how much a fennec would want or could eat in a day in addition to its regular food.
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Re: I think I want a Fennec Fox

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:10 pm

Well I goggled that and it says a bearded adult eats average 3-5 Dubais a day. I looked on aliexpress and I can get 4.4 pounds of dried roaches for $50 and no shipping. Since about 70% water weight that would be the equivalent of about 15 pounds of fresh roaches. So I might do that instead to save myself the hassle of a colony(not sure where to put it, if in here the anteaters might raid it). They are American Roaches(I'm guessing they aren't sold here for feeders due to being native so seen as ickier, lol). The Americans appear to be higher in protein and lower in fat and maybe have more vitamins but the Dubai rundowns I've seen don't seem to include the vitamins.

American roach nutritional break down: http://www.examiner.com/article/nutriti ... mericana-l

Dubai: 54% protein
American: 65% protein

However this site says they are about the same on a whole "wet" basis and I'm sure that is one of those things that varies https://dubiaroachdepot.com/guidance/20 ... ia-roaches

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