Fennec Fox Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The fennec fox is an animal that lives in a very harsh habitat. This lesson will teach you about several of the interesting adaptations it uses to help it survive in a very hot climate.

Where do Fennec Foxes Live?

Imagine going to sleep and waking up in a hot desert in northern Africa. The scorching sand burns your bare feet and you start sweating in the sun but you don't feel any cooler. Suddenly, you realize how thirsty you are, but there's no water. Even though you aren't built to live in the desert, but fennec foxes certainly are!

Fennec foxes live in the dry deserts of northern Africa where during certain parts of the year, daytime temperatures can reach above 100 degrees. However, they have developed special adaptations or characteristics that help them survive.

Enormous Ears

When you look at a fennec fox, the first thing you notice is its giant ears! Although they're the smallest foxes on the planet, their ears can be about six inches long. That's more than an inch longer than a soda can!

Fennec fox with big ears
Fennec fox with big ears

And although their ears are great for hearing, their ear size is also an important adaptation for living in the desert. When their body gets too hot, that heat moves out through their ears so they can cool off. It's like carrying around your own personal air conditioner.

Furry Feet

Fennec foxes don't wear shoes to protect their feet from the burning desert sand and rocks. But they do have a thick fur covering on the bottoms of their feet which help protect them from toasting their toes on the hot ground.

Furry feet
Furry feet

And their fur doesn't just protect them from the scorching sand! Just like your sneakers help you get a grip so you can run and change directions in a game of tag, the fennec fox's furry feet help it get a grip on the sand, making it easy for them to get around and catch a snack.

No Water, No Problem

A fennec fox will drink water if it's nearby. But if there isn't any, it's not a problem. Besides getting water from the foods they eat and the dew that collects in their underground burrows, their kidneys have adapted to a lack of water, too.

Kidneys are organs that get rid of waste and control the amount of fluid in the body. A fennec fox's kidneys have adapted to keep more water in the body so it doesn't need to find water to drink the way you would have to.

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