PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The Living Desert is inviting guests to check out the newest baby animals at the zoo. This time it's not two baby jaguars or a baby giraffe -- four Fennec foxes were born in late April.
One female and three male kits are currently on display in the Tennity Wildlife Hospital at the zoo. Zookeepers said the baby foxes are being kept in pairs for the time being.
One pair can be seen in the animal encounter show and the other is behind the scenes.
"With so many babies in bloom at The Living Desert, like the Fennec foxes, jaguar cubs and the baby giraffe, summer is the ideal season to visit the park," said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. "This time of year allows visitors to get more familiar with our newest additions."
Zookeepers said the foxes' mother was born in Germany and transferred to The Living Desert as part of a Species Survival Plan recommendation to bring unrepresented genetics to the U.S. captive population of Fennec foxes.
They said the four kits will spend the first 6 to 12 months at the Living Desert before being sent to other AZA institutions (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) to be paired with unrelated foxes or put in social groups to be ambassadors for their species.
Zookeeper Fennec fox facts:
- Babies stay in the den with only their mother to nurse
- Begin to hunt for food with their mother after about a month
- Fennec foxes are nocturnal by nature
- Hunt at night to combat the heat of the day, yet have evolved to battle all elements of the harsh desert heat
- Large ears help regulate body temperature by radiating heat outward and allow them to hear their food below the ground. Usually their ears are half as long as their body length
- Thick fur keeps skin protected from the sun and offers insulation during cool nights
- Hair-covered feet allow them to walk comfortably across extremely hot sand and act like insulated shovels when burrowing below
- Smallest of the worlds' foxes
- Female Fennec fox can birth three to four kits at a time, normally once a year
The Living Desert's summer hours run through September from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily, with the last admission at 1 p.m.
General admission for adults is $17.25, seniors and members of the military can get in for $15.75, it costs $8.75 for children 3-12, and children under three can get in to the zoo for free.