Have you ever wondered what it’s like to own a fennec fox? It’s not impossible to keep one as a pet, but most people worry about the cost and expenses of maintaining one.
If you’re obsessed with watching adorable fox videos online, then you might have come across the fennec fox. This small fox with large pointy ears and dark eyes is a real charmer for those who want an exotic pet.
Like a child during Christmas, it’s easy to be enchanted by these wonderful creatures and want one right away. But first, you need to find out if your adult budget agrees. This article will help you find out how much it costs to be a fennec fox owner.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Fennec Fox?
If you consider having a fennec fox as your first exotic pet, you can expect to pay around $2,500 to $3,500 depending on many factors such as demand and the breeder you will purchase from. You may need to pay more for shipping fees and, of course, the initial and ongoing costs.
A fennec fox is a lot more costly compared to common household pets, but rightfully so. As exotic animals, they are not widely domesticated and can only be purchased from a limited number of breeders.
The fennec fox’s cousins, like the red fox, can cost around $300 to $1,000, while an arctic fox can be purchased starting from $400 and get up to $3,000. Comparing these prices, fennec foxes are considered the most expensive.
Why Are Fennec Foxes so Expensive? Factors Affecting the Cost of a Fennec Fox
Before you get disheartened, you should know why these popular foxes are priced higher than others. They may require a special environment to be bred, among other factors that commercial breeders consider when coming up with the final fennec fox price.
Some of the common factors that influence their cost include the following:
- Exotic Status: Fennec foxes are expensive due to their rarity and unique appearance. Unlike cats, dogs, and other common pets, you can’t buy a fennec fox from your local pet store. They are found mostly in the Sahara desert and North Africa. And the fact that they aren’t native to the United States also adds to the fennec fox’s price.
- Special Housing Requirements: Breeders usually keep their fennec foxes in an isolated facility during breeding. This is because both males and females can get aggressive due to their protective tendencies. The male will try to safeguard his partner while the female will shelter her litter. Moreover, individual fox quarters should be temperature-controlled.
- Food and Diet Requirements: In feeding fennec foxes, breeders give them a high-protein diet that contains whole mice, chicken or rabbit meat, insects, fruits, and vegetables. This also adds up to the expenses and final price of the fox.
- Breeding Schedule: Naturally, fennec foxes have only one breeding season a year with two to five kits per litter. However, to have multiple litters, fennec fox breeders will take the litter early after birth and raise them on their own.
- High Demand: The sudden rise of interest for these foxes also contributes to the pricing of the very few licensed breeders in the country.
- Permits and Other Paperwork: Breeders need to register and get a license permit before breeding and selling fennec foxes. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues this license which is subject to surprise inspections from the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS).
- Shipping Fees: Since there are only a small number of breeders in the country, you may have to drive to the breeder facility to pick up your fennec fox or ask the breeder to arrange its shipment.
- Medical Expenses: Aside from spending money on food and maintaining their facility, they need to make sure that their foxes are in the best health condition. Fennec fox breeders need to pay for regular vet visits, vaccinations, and supplements.
Is It Legal to Own a Fennec Fox?
It’s easy to get excited purchasing a fennec fox and have the ‘exotic pet owner’ title. However, you first need to ensure that owning one is legal in your state. I did some research and found out information about the legalities of having a fennec fox as a pet.
Luckily, there is good news! Owning a fennec fox is legal in most states of America except in Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and Washington. If you are from any of these states and fail to comply with this restriction, you will incur a penalty and even face jail time.
In those states where it is legal, a special permit is needed to transport and possess his exotic creature. It’s also important to know that even if state law says it’s legal to purchase a fennec fox, this may not apply to some cities and towns in that particular state.
It’s still recommended to read about the laws and regulations in your locality to make sure that there is no hassle once you bring home your new pet.
As for other countries, you can refer to this list where fennec foxes are legal to own:
- Netherlands (Holland)
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
Take note that each country has its own guidelines and requirements to legally purchase and own a fennec fox.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Fennec Fox From a Rescue or Shelter?
Adoption seems like a good idea, especially for those who can’t afford the full price of a fennec fox. However, there are very limited options to adopt a fennec fox.
Most rescues and sanctuaries take them in and ask for donations to maintain the facility and provide a safe home to these beautiful foxes.
They may put them up for adoption but require applicants to follow their strict requirements. You can expect to pay a lot less than the fennec fox breeder price, starting at around $350.
There is also a concern regarding the behavior of a rescued fox. Unlike cats and dogs, who can easily be trained to socialize, fennec foxes tend to form deep attachments to their original caretakers. This makes them unable to adjust very well to their new owners.
Being raised in the wild, they will also be reluctant to change and may cause them to behave aggressively. It’s important to ask the rescue organization about your concerns and ensure that you will get a healthy and well-adjusted fennec fox.
Initial Cost of Fennec Fox Ownership
The costly purchasing price of a fennec fox is indeed going to hurt your bank account but the initial cost of owning one will let your wallet rest a little. You just need a few things to make them comfy and safe in their new home.
Here are some initial items you need to purchase:
- Indoor and Outdoor Enclosure: Fennec foxes are usually best kept indoors, especially during the cold months. You can purchase an indoor enclosure for around $150. If you want to keep them outside during warmer seasons, you can buy a roofed outdoor enclosure for about $250.
- Bedding: To help them sleep easily and be well-rested, you should purchase soft bedding that is priced at around $40.
- Food: You can feed normal wet food to your fennec fox. Just make sure it is grain-free and mainly contains meat. You can buy this at your local pet store for around $40.
- Food and Water Bowls: To avoid messy carpets, provide your fox with a sturdy food and water bowl. You can get both for only $20.
- Toys: Fennec foxes love to play. They would surely like to have a soft plushy and a ball for some good fetching. You can buy these toys for around $15.
- Leash or Harness: If you want to walk your fox, you need to get a good quality leash or an H-harness so they will be extra secured. This can cost around $20 or less.
- Sand: Fennec foxes are known for their digging habit. You can build a makeshift sandbox in your backyard and fill it with sand to prevent them from digging inside the house. You can buy sand for around $30 per 20-pound bag.
Here is a summarized table of the initial expenses of owning a fennec fox:
|Type of Expense||Average Price|
|Indoor and Outdoor Enclosure||$400|
|Food and Water Bowls||$20|
|Leash or Harness||$20|
|Total Initial Cost||$625|
Ongoing Cost of Fennec Fox Ownership
After dealing with the initial cost of owning a fennec fox, you need to prepare for the ongoing expenses, which usually involve resupplying food, replacing old or broken items, and veterinary checkups.
I divided this section into monthly and yearly expenses for better reference.
You’ll be happy to know that you won’t need to spend so much to keep your fennec fox full and happy. The monthly cost of owning a fennec fox is mostly spent on food.
Owners should allocate approximately $160 a month for wet food. This is similar to what you would feed a normal dog. However, this figure assumes that you won’t feed your fennec with wet food every day and make raw substitutes.
By preparing homemade raw food, you can reduce the monthly cost to about $120 a month.
As for yearly expenses, you should consider the cost of regular veterinary checkups and treatment, if needed. They also require a blood test at least once a year to check for kidney and liver diseases.
Old and damaged toys, food bowls, and other items might also need replacement. The table below shows the estimated annual cost of owning a fennec fox:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimate|
|Veterinary Checkups and Treatment||$50 – $100|
|Annual Blood Test||$100 – $200|
|Total Yearly Cost||$1,890 – $2,040|
The average annual cost of owning a fennec fox ranges from $1,890 to $2,040. This is cheaper than the expenses of some dog breeds, which typically falls at $3,000 or higher.
Lifetime Expenses of Owning a Fennec Fox
The sweet and friendly fennec foxes can live for about 10 to 14 years. Having a fox companion until they reach old age is rewarding, but it also comes with a price.
Given that the yearly expenses are around $1,890 to $2,040, the estimated lifetime cost of keeping a fennec assuming that they live until 14 years is $26,460 to $28,560.
Of course, these numbers can change dramatically depending on how much you will pamper your pet fox. There are also unforeseen expenses that you should prepare for.
Other Potential Expenses
Like with any other pet, there are other potential expenses that you can have while owning a fennec fox. You might need to set aside an emergency budget for those unexpected scenarios or for improving the well-being of your pet.
- Emergency Treatment: Accidents can happen at any time, including to your fennec fox. Because they are flighty animals, they may have the urge to run away when let outside without a leash. Running cars might accidentally hit your fennec fox, causing injuries. Depending on the severity of the damage, treatment can cost anywhere between $800 and $1,500.
- Dental Care: Like their distant dog cousins, foxes are also prone to dental problems. Cleaning or tooth extractions may be needed to perform. This can cost you around $450 to $1,000.
- Spaying/Neutering: Altering your fennec fox is optional, but it can help decrease aggression in males. Females are often more aggressive in general, so spaying is not advised. However, if you think it’s necessary, you need to pay $150 to $400 for the surgery.
- House Repair: Fennec foxes love digging. If you don’t have a sandbox, your fox will most likely try to dig through your door or sofa. This can incur another expense for repairing your door or replacing your furniture, which can cost from $150 to $400.
- Enclosure Ramps: Another favorite activity of fennecs is jumping. To prevent them from jumping on tables and kitchen counters, you can install some ramps on your fox’s enclosure. You will spend around $10 to $30 for materials and installation.
Common Health Issues of Fennec Fox and Their Cost of Treatment
Given that your fennec fox is fed with a healthy diet and given a safe closure, they would rarely need to go to a veterinarian.
Fennec foxes are canines that are also predisposed to common health problems associated with dogs:
- Fleas and Parasites: Your pet can suffer from both external and internal parasites such as fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. A condition called sarcoptic mange is a common skin issue caused by a parasitic mite that burrows on the surface of your fox’s skin. Topical and oral treatment for this condition typically starts from $20 to $150.
- Mitral Valve Disease: When the mitral valve, one of the four valves of the heart, becomes thickened, it causes it to leak and not shut down correctly. If your fennec fox exhibits symptoms of mitral valve disease, you need to prepare for the cost of treatment which falls around $500 to $2,000.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: If you feed your fox chocolate, grapes, and raisins, they can develop chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. It requires long-term treatment, which costs about $100 to $500 a month.
Places to Find Baby Fennec Foxes for Sale or Adoption
To begin your life as a fennec fox owner, you need to know where to buy or adopt them. The internet is the easiest place to find fennec foxes but also the most dangerous.
Many unlicensed breeders offer them at a much lower price with the risk of getting unhealthy and hostile fennec foxes.
Here is a list of registered breeders where you can purchase a fennec fox:
- Dragonstone Ranch – This is a USDA-licensed breeder operated by a family from Texas that breeds and raises exotic animals, including fennec foxes, to be placed in private homes, ranches, and zoos. Interested buyers should buy these foxes solely for the purpose of keeping them as pets and not for breeding.
- Janda Exotics Animal Ranch – This is another licensed breeder and zoo facility that provides a healthy and safe environment for many species of exotic animals like fennec foxes. The kits are priced according to their sex, conformation, and temperament.
- Panhandle Exotics – This is a family-owned pet store in Florida that has been breeding exotic animals like fennec foxes since 2012. They take pride in personally raising these animals, some of which come from other licensed breeders and zoos. They offer financial assistance for those who can’t afford to pay the full price.
- Underground Reptiles – From snakes, turtles to the well-loved fennec fox, this pet store has been providing exotic animals to private individuals since 1988. You won’t have to worry about supplies and feeders because they also offer them on their website.
If your budget is not cut out for the breeder’s price, you can look into rescues to take home a fennec fox for a small adoption fee.
Here is a list of rescues that puts fennec foxes up for adoption:
- SaveAFox Rescue – Operating since 2017, this rescue has been able to rehome 150 foxes. They require applicants to have contact with a veterinarian that can check and treat fennec foxes to pass the application.
- Foxes Journey Sanctuary – This is a rescue in Michigan that provides forever homes to different species of foxes, including fennec foxes. They have a large facility where all their rescued foxes can run around and rest in their enclosures.
- Critter Camp – This is another USDA-licensed sanctuary that cares for over 300 animals of 30 various species. They partnered with Petfinder to give you an updated list of available fennec foxes and other exotic animals.
Money-Saving Tips for Fennec Fox Owners
Owning a fennec can be financially challenging, so it always helps to have some money-saving hacks to keep the pet expenses to a minimum. With these tips, you can keep your fox in good condition with reduced costs.
- Buy food in bulk or prepare raw food. Buying food in packs or cans is a lot more expensive than buying them in bulk. You can buy them at local pet stores or even directly from the manufacturer. For an even cheaper option, you can stock up some raw meat, insects, and vegetables to feed them.
Here is a video to know more about the fennec fox’s diet:
- Make DIY jumping ramps. To save on the cost of wood planks and other materials for making enclosure ramps, you can use old pieces of wood and hinges from broken doors. This will also keep them from jumping at your furniture, avoiding the cost of repair or replacement.
- Keep them inside as much as possible. To avoid sudden accidents,you should keep your fennec fox inside or in your backyard most of the time. This will also keep them safe from pests and diseases that they can get from being outside.
- Find a reliable vet with affordable rates. Visiting the vet is never cheap, but it should be at a reasonable price. Find a local vet that offers high-quality yet affordable service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Fennec Foxes Good Pets?
If you are looking for an active, friendly, and exotic-looking pet, fennec foxes are a good choice. They behave similarly with dogs, with a few exceptions.
They don’t respond to their names and are not quite as cuddly, but they would like to be touched every once in a while.
It may take some time to train them, but with commitment, they can be the most loyal pets you can have. They will show in their own way how happy and loving they can be to their owners.
Are Fennec Foxes Dangerous?
Being exotic, they are often described as dangerous animals. While it is true that fennec foxes in the wild get aggressive when protecting their territory and young kits, they will most likely grow up well-adjusted if breeders raise them as part of the family.
As pets, they are highly energetic, playful and cautious of their surroundings but will never attack people unexpectedly.
Can Fennec Foxes Be Potty Trained?
Most owners find potty training the most stressful part of owning a fennec fox. They can get really messy and will often do their business inside the house unannounced.
Some lucky ones were able to train them to use a litter box or be comfortable wearing potty pads. With some determination, you can use positive reinforcement to train your pet to have a good potty habit.
What Is the Cheapest Exotic Pet?
While fennec foxes land on the expensive end of exotic animals, you can purchase other species for a much cheaper price. Probably one of the cheapest exotic pets is a hermit crab.
You can purchase one for only $5 to $35. However, this is not considering the other expenses needed for maintaining them.
Why Are Foxes Illegal in Texas?
Although it is not illegal to own a fennec fox in Texas, it is forbidden to keep red foxes as pets. This is because a large population of wild red foxes can be found in North Central Texas. They are protected and preserved by the state government.
Final Thoughts: Are Fennec Foxes Worth Their Price?
Despite their high price, fennec foxes are still one of the most sought-after exotic animals to keep as pets. Their unique appearance, coupled with their dog-like behavior, makes them extremely lovable.
Even though fennec foxes have one of the most expensive purchasing prices, the cost for maintaining them is quite low and comparable to owning a cat or dog.
They are generally healthy animals that can live until their senior years given the proper care and environment.
Over time, they will show incomparable loyalty to their owners, making them worth the money and every bit of effort that you can give.