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Taronga Celebrates Birth from World's Smallest Fox

Fennec Fox Kit 4_Photo by Paul FahyTaronga Zoo is celebrating a birth from the world’s smallest Fox species, with keepers monitoring the progress of a tiny Fennec Fox kit.

The curious little kit was born on December 3, but has just started to venture outside its nest box.

Fennec Fox Kit 3_Photo by Paul Fahy
Fennec Fox Kit 5_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credit:  Paul Fahy

“The little one is beginning to spend a lot more time outdoors. We’re seeing it playing, rolling around on its back and chasing after mum and dad,” said keeper Deb Price.

Keepers have not yet named or confirmed the sex of the kit, which is the first Fennec Fox born at Taronga since 2013. The infant is the seventh for experienced parents Kebili and Zinder, who have successfully raised two previous litters.

“The parents are doing a fantastic job again, with Zinder proving to be a particularly attentive dad. We’ve seen him filling up his mouth with food and then racing back to deliver it to the kit,” said Deb.

Born with its eyes closed and famously gigantic ears folded over, the kit has gone from being completely reliant on its parents to learning how to forage for food on its own.

The kit weighed in at just over one pound this week and has begun to sample solid foods such as crickets, mealworms, and mice.  Adults weigh up to 3.5 pounds.

The smallest of all the world’s Foxes, the Fennec Fox has enormous batlike ears that can grow to more than six inches in length.  These oversized ears help the Foxes to dissipate heat and keep cool in the blazing desert sun of northern Africa.  They also have hairy feet that enable them to run on hot, loose sand and dig tunnels where they live and rear their kits.   At this time, the wild Fennec Fox population is stable.

Fennec Fox Kit 1_Photo by Paul Fahy
Fennec Fox Kit 2_Photo by Paul Fahy
Fennec Fox Kit 6_Photo by Paul Fahy
Fennec Fox Kit 8_Photo by Paul Fahy
Fennec Fox Kit 7_Photo by Paul Fahy