How to legally own a pet fennec fox

Updated February 21, 2017

Fennec foxes, a small species of fox native to Northern Africa, are known for their large ears and their ability to be domesticated. In fact, fennec foxes are the only type of foxes that are regularly kept as pets. Whether you can legally own a pet fennec fox will depend upon the laws in your area and the restrictions placed by local animal control authorities.

Check with local animal control authorities before you decide to adopt or purchase a fennec fox for a pet. While fennec foxes are generally not prohibited by state or local authorities, animal control districts may restrict your purchase of a fennec fox until all vaccines have been administered. An exotic pet permit may also be required in certain jurisdictions.

Find a veterinarian who will treat a fennec fox before you attempt to own one legally. Many vets consider a fennec fox to be a wild animal and may not offer treatment. In addition, some vets may charge premium fees in order to offset the potential hazards of handling a fennec fox.

Provide an appropriate environment for your fennec fox. These animals are notorious escape artists, so you will need to keep your fox in a locked cage when it is not under direct supervision. Fennec foxes are very quick and difficult to catch, and they can dig underground up to 20 feet in one day.

Plan an appropriate diet for your pet fennec fox before you legally own it. While fennec foxes will eat most types of dog foods, their diets will need to be supplemented with insects, such as mealworms and crickets. Some pet shops may offer dog food that has been developed with more exotic canines in mind.

Prepare yourself for the wilder personality traits of a fennec fox when you legally own one. Fennec foxes are nocturnal, which means they can keep you up at night. In addition, fennec foxes enjoy hoarding food throughout the house, digging into sofa cushions in an attempt to make a nest or den and leaping high onto counters, shelves and cabinets.


Get ready for a workout. Fennec foxes are usually very friendly toward humans, not to mention other cats and dogs. Their energy level is so high, however, that it can be exhausting to keep them.


Take care with securing your fox. Fennec foxes can easily escape from most collars and leashes. Once a fennec fox escapes into the wild, chances are that you will never see it again.

Things You'll Need

  • Specialized diet for exotic canines
  • Enclosure
  • Permit
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