The fennec fox is the smallest canid in the world

This little animal has huge ears, lives in the desert, and has a dense fur that shields it from the heat. Meet the fennec fox. 😍

This is the world’s smallest canid

This is the fennec fox. Measuring between 18 and 22 cm in height and 30 to 40 cm in length, it’s smaller than most domestic cats. This fox lives in a large area of African deserts where it’s perfectly adapted to the arid environment. Its dense cream-colored fur shields it from the heat, and extends down to its paws to protect it from the scorching sand.

This acclimatization is also the reason behind its best-known feature: its enormous ears. Approximately 15 cm long, they serve to dissipate heat to regulate the animal’s body temperature. This heat is evacuated via the bloodstream, which circulates through a dense vascular system. But these impressive ears are also useful for hunting. Highly sensitive, they allow the fennec to hear its prey moving, even when they’re buried in the sand. Birds, reptiles, insects
 The fennec attacks a wide range of prey, as long as they’re small enough for it to kill.

Due to a lack of water sources, the fennec stays hydrated by eating leaves and roots. Another consequence of its desert environment: it hunts at night and takes refuge in a network of burrows that insulate it from the heat during the day. The fennec is a social animal, living in groups of up to 10 members led by a monogamous breeding pair. Although it isn’t classified as endangered, the fennec is still a victim of its appearance: It’s a popular animal on the black market, where it’s sometimes sold as a pet.