Fennec Fox Diet: How To Pick The Best Food
Fennecs, known as the smallest of all foxes, are also kept as exotic pets. But what is the perfect fennec fox diet in captivity? What you feed your fox is essential to their health and happiness.
If you are getting a fennec fox as a pet, it’s important you do research into what are their needs. These animals are classed as exotic pets, they are unique but also require different care compared to dogs and cats.
What you feed your pet plays a major role in their health and overall well-being. Therefore, it’s important to understand what a fennec fox diet consists of in the wild before we look at what you should you feed them in captivity.
Fennec Fox Diet In The Wild
In the wild, fennec foxes live in the desert. You’d wonder what would they eat out there? Well, the fennecs are predominantly omnivores.
Fennec fox diet in the wild consists of the following:
- Meats such as rodents, birds, reptiles and more
- Insects such as beetles, worms and snails
- Vegetables and more
Fennecs are skilled hunters for their small size of 9.4 to 16.1 inches. Not only they hunt prey that’s larger than them, they have also been known to catch big rabbits.
Normally, fennecs will hunt during the night and use their abnormally large ears to listen for prey. The animals they usually feed on would hide under the sand. Once they locate their prey, the fennec will dig it out and pin it down with all four feet.
Besides in the wild and as a pet, you’d be able to see a fennec fox in the zoo. At the zoo, fennec fox diet consist of variety of meats, chow, fruits, vegetables, mice and insects.
Fennec Fox Diet As A Pet
As mentioned above fennec fox diet in the zoo will be very similar to the one these mammals have in the wild minus hunting for their prey. But what about when they are kept as pets?
It’s recommended to feed your pet fox a varied commercial diet similar to the food they will get in a zoo.
Fennecs need the following components as part of their diet:
Normally, fennec fox diet when kept as a pet will consist of the following:
- Meats from a mix of dog and cat food
- Vegetables and fruit
Another important ingredient in your pet fox’s diet is vitamins. They need this in order to be healthy and energetic.
One of those vitamins is taurine. The taurine is an amino acid that promotes gut health and improves the metabolism. The good news is that many dry kibble dog and cat foods are rich in taurine.
Fennec foxes need a lot of protein in order to be healthy and energetic. In the wild, they get most of that protein from the live prey such as rodents, mice, small birds.
Many people wonder if foxes are more like cats or dogs. Fennec foxes are part of the canine family. Although, their personality is more similar to a dog, their diet requirements are closer to the one of a cat.
If you wan to learn more about fennec fox care click here Fennec Fox Care – Everything You Need To Know
Meats In Kibble Food – Fennec Fox Diet
As mentioned above, fennec fox diet must consist of a lot protein. For your pet fox to be healthy and energetic, their diet must include some form of meat.
The good news is that there are many options on the market for dry cat and dog food. But is that suitable for an exotic pet such as the fennec fox? The answer is – yes. Many owners feed their fennec a mix of dry kibble dog and cat food.
Although, you can feed your fennec a diet that’s a mix of dry kibble, you should try to stay as close to their diet in the wild as possible. If you don’t provide your fennec fox with the protein they need, they might develop health problems such as liver disease or cardiomyopathy.
When buying commercial dry kibble cat and dog food for your fennec, you must ensure it has plenty of meat and taurine. Your fennec needs a high-quality diet.
Therefore, you should avoid brands that have ingredients such as “meat meal” as one of the first five ingredients. Meat meals are leftovers, inedible for humans, made into powder and added to the food.
On the other hand, there are other options when it comes to the meat in your fennec fox diet.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to stick to only one option. The most recommended diet is a varied diet of all the components we discuss in this article.
Raw Meat Fennec Fox Diet
A highly recommended diet is the raw meat diet. This option is not only healthier and closer to the fennec’s diet in the wild, but it’s also free of any preservatives and additives.
There is substantial scientific evidence proving that animals such as foxes and cats are overall healthier when fed a raw meat diet.
Pets that are fed cooked meats are usually more prone to suffering from health conditions such as:
- Heart problems
- Skin allergies and other allergies
- Arthritis and joint problems
- Neurological diseases
You might wonder where you can buy raw meat for your fennec fox. Well, there are plenty of suppliers online that will deliver to you. On the other hand, you can always go to your local butcher or a specialised pet shop. It’s not any harder than buying commercial dry kibble food.
Overall, raw meat diet is much healthier and safer than commercial diet. However, you can mix commercial diet and raw meat to provide variety.
Live Prey Diet
Another option for protein source in your fennec fox diet is live prey. As we mentioned earlier, fennec foxes love to hunt, it’s their natural instinct. Maybe the food tastes even better when they have to work for it!
Live prey doesn’t need to be the core diet for your fennec, it should be used as an occasional treat.
Another animal that gets fed live prey is the hedgehog. Similar to them, the fennec fox will enjoy snacking on live insects or even live mice.
However, this must be purchased from a specialised pet shop. You shouldn’t allow them to catch rodents outside as you don’t know what chemicals they might have ingested.
Other Protein Sources
As mentioned earlier, in the wild fennec fox diet consists mostly of meats, insects, vegetables and fruits. In captivity, you’ll be feeding your fennec fox a mix of commercial food and maybe raw meat diet.
All that protein helps you fennec fox stay healthy and active. However, what about other sources of protein?
Another food that fennec foxes love in the wild is – eggs. It’s a great source of protein and easy to get a hold of.
If you want to feed your fennec eggs, you should boil them. Although, in the wild they consume the egg whole with the shell, you should take the shell off.
Vegetables And Fruits In Fennec Fox Diet
Besides meats, you should also include vegetables and fruits in your fennec fox diet. The following are safe to feed to your pet fox:
- Berries such as cherries and cranberries
Vitamins In Fennec Fox Diet
As mentioned earlier, another important component of fennec fox diet is vitamins such as taurine.
If you are concerned that your fennec won’t be getting enough taurine from the dry kibble food, you can give them taurine capsules. The supplement can be mixed in their food.
Another vitamin that foxes need is Vionate. This vitamin promotes overall health and should be given to your fox twice a week.
Foods You Should Avoid – Fennec Fox Diet
There are foods that are not suitable for a fennec fox diet and are even dangerous.
You should avoid the following:
- Fiber – you must be careful when it comes to fiber as they can’t fully digest it
- Oats – some human foods are unsuitable for fennec fox’s digestive system
- Carrots, corns and grains are also to be avoided
- Leafy greens
How Often Should I Feed My Fennec Fox
In captivity, it’s recommended to feed your fennec fox twice a day.
In the wild, fennec foxes will eat whatever food they come across regardless if they are hungry. It’s important to know this, so you control how much your fox eats and don’t allow them to eat endlessly as that can lead to obesity and other health problems.
Well-Balanced Fennec Fox Diet
From all the options discussed in this article, we recommended you feed your fennec fox a various, well-balanced and high quality diet. The fennec fox diet in captivity must be as close as possible to what they eat in their natural habitat.
This must include a mix of:
- Meats and protein – Dry kibble cat and dog food; also from raw meats and boiled eggs
- Vegetables and fruits
- Insects (preferably live)
The fennec fox diet needs to be adjusted in some cases such as:
- If your fennec is pregnant, they will need more protein to support the development of the fetus
- Overweight fennecs must be fed more vegetables than protein until their weight stabilizes
In the wild fennec foxes have adapted to the desert lifestyle and can survive for long periods of time without water.
Usually, they will get most of their water supply from the plants and animals they eat.
However, in captivity you should ensure your fennec always has access to a bowl of clean and fresh water.
Recommended Brands For Fennec Fox Diet
There is variety of dry kibble cat and dog food on the market. However, these are the recommended brands that are also suitable for a fennec fox diet:
This brand offer overall protein is 38% – Salmon 26% (Fresh Salmon 16%, Salmon Meal 10%), Dried Potatoes, Peas, Potato Protein; Taurine 1,100 mg. Moreover, it does not have any artificial preservatives.
Taste Of The Wild Cat Food
Taste of the wild cat food offers pets a diet dictated by their genes. It provides pets with the kind of natural, balanced diet that they could find “in the wild”. This brand has a minimum of 0.1% Taurine and 45% meat, including roasted venison and smoked salmon in each bag.
The formula is supplemented with fruits and vegetables, providing natural antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall good health.
American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Made without grains, this kibble features real, deboned turkey as the first ingredient, wholesome fruits and vegetables, and deboned chicken. This delicious recipe delivers 40% protein and minimum of 0.15% Taurine.
Fennec fox diet must be as close as possible to what they are used in the wild. With that said the following is the most recommended fennec fox diet:
- Mix of dry kibble cat and dog food – You must ensure the brand you choose have enough taurine and real meat instead of “meal meats” in the label
- Raw vegetables and fruits such as broccoli and berries to be mixed with the kibble food
- Raw meats – This should be given as part of the fennec fox diet twice a week
- Live prey – This can be given to your fennec as a treat. Live insects or mice purchased from a specialized pet shop, can make for a great treat and remind them of hunting in the wild
- Other sources of protein such as boiled eggs
What About Plant-Based Diet?
Many people wonder if they can feed their pet a plant-based diet. Well, there was a woman, Sonia-Sae, who was raising a fennec fox and feeding it this type of diet.
This lady received a serious backlash on social media for doing that. She was even featured in the media.
When it comes to feeding a plant-based diet to animals that are carnivores and omnivores, you should probably refrain from doing so.
There isn’t enough research and evidence to prove that plant-based diets are safe for these type of animals.
Our advice is to always play it safe and feed your fennec fox what they eat in their natural habitat.