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Fenech – the most amazing animal from the kind of foxes. His name Fenech received from Arab fanak, which means “fox.” The scientific name Fenech “Vulpes zerda” (Vulpes means belonging to the genus of foxes, zerda comes from the Greek word Xeros, meaning “dry” and indicates Fenech habitat – deserts of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula). However, not all scientists agree with Fenech belonging to the genus of foxes, pointing to the differences in the structure and behavior of the other Fennec foxes. For example, Fenech all 32 pairs of chromosomes, while in other species foxes their number ranges between 35 and 39. We have musk gland Fenech characteristic foxes. Foxes are odichny lifestyle, while Fenech – a social animal. On the basis of these differences, some scholars distinguish Fenech in a special race – “Fennecus”.
The size Fenech less than a domestic cat. Height 18-22 cm, length – 30-40 cm, tail – up to 30 cm, weighs 1.5 kg. Ears Fenech – largest among predators magnitude relative to the head; they reach 15 cm in length. Such big ears Fenech needed not only for the reason that he has the slightest rustle in the sand to learn about the movement of their main prey – insects and small vertebrates. Ears Fenech – an excellent source of thermoregulation: the blood vessels that are in ushih and is close to the skin, allow Fenech rid the body of excess heat, which is vital in a hot desert climate. Another means of adaptation to desert conditions Fenech is coated foot wool, allowing Fenech easily and quietly move on the hot sand. Color Fenech most suited to wool camouflage against the background of the desert sands: Fenech top fur reddish or yellow, white bottom. Young Fenech almost white. At Fenech, like other wild foxes, no sweat glands. Fenech is a long time without water, receiving fluid from foods. Kidney Fenech adapted to limit water loss.
In the deserts Fenech prefers to keep grass and shrubs on thin shrubs that provide food and shelter him. Fenech live in burrows with many secret passages that dig themselves. Fenech usually live in family groups, the number of individuals that comes to ten.
Fenech hunt alone, as well as other representatives of the foxes. During the hunt, Fenech can jump ahead by 120 centimeters and a height of 70 centimeters. Fenech almost omnivorous. In addition to insects and small vertebrates, Fenech scavengers, plant roots, fruits and birds eggs. The famous English writer Mayne Reid in the story “Young hunters” describes how Fenech could break ostrich egg:
“How gets Fenech to the contents of the eggs when he finds them shell at them thick and strong to break an egg, you have to swipe it with some hard object;?. How manages Fenech, so weak and small, to break through the egg hole It? been a mystery for everyone, especially for the naturalist Hans. Hans was familiar with Fenech. He often saw them in captivity. He knew a little bit and their anatomy. He knew that in their skull missing groove, to which are attached the temporal muscle) and that, therefore, they have weak jaw – much weaker than that of an ordinary fox. so chew ostrich egg Fenech can not. he can not, and break an egg claws because, even though he lives in a hot zone, the soles of his feet are covered with soft hair, like a fox. This amazing feature it still does not explain the naturalists.
With this structure, body and slabosilii, argued Hans Fenech also difficult to get the contents of the ostrich eggs, how to get into the middle of a cannonball. Sandpiper spoke firsthand, though Fenech fed protein and ostrich egg yolk, but how he does it, Bushman never seen and could not explain.
However, young people did not remain in obscurity. A few minutes later he Fenech opened before the astonished hunter his secret.
He stood with his back to them, and the front part of his body seemed to be raised, as if his feet on something rested. That “something” was the ostrich egg. Fenech rolled it in front of the sand, pushing alternately one or the other foot. These movements resembled his uniform motion unfortunate slaves smectite, with the only difference that the labor Fenech was not forced.
But why Fenech rolled egg? Was he thinking to roll it to its burrow? It would be hard work, as his underground home, no doubt, was not in the neighborhood.
However, egg roll into the house is not included in the intention Fenech. He was going to have lunch right there on the spot, or at least nearby. Audiences soon saw where he laid the table. They came to the memory of a curious story about Kaam, which they had heard something and now, looking at the trouble Fenech, immediately guessed why he does it.
In three or four yards from the muzzle Fenech was a small stone, only twelve inches in height, but Fenech was, apparently, enough of this, because he rolled an egg at him.
After a while the hunters were convinced that their hunch was correct. When between the muzzle Fenech and stone was three feet, he suddenly made a quick leap forward, dragging tabs egg. Hard shell hit the more solid rock, there was a distinct sound of “Krak!” And looked more closely, young people saw the egg broken into pieces.
Breakfast Fenech was in front of him, and he immediately began to eat. ”
Fenech breed once a year. The breeding season takes place in January and February. Pregnancy lasts about 50 days. In March-April, female bears two to six cubs. Fenech puppies at birth weighs only 50 grams. Mother remains with cubs in the den to two weeks of age, when they opened his eyes. The male brings food, but does not go into the den, because at this time the female is very aggressive and it drives away from the puppies. At the age of 5 weeks, the cubs leave the den for the first time and wander around, but only at the age of 3 months are starting to go a considerable distance.
Life expectancy Fenech – 12 years.
The main enemies in nature Fenech – caracal and desert eagle owls. However, few people have seen how other animals could catch Fenech. Much more dangerous for people Fenech. Fenech killed for their fur, and also caught and sold as pets. There is a misconception that Fenech – the only representative of the detachment domesticable foxes. However, this is not the case: there is a breed of domestic foxes bred Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the silver-black foxes.
Cost Fenech high. In Russia, the price of home Fenech ranges from 25 thousand to 100 thousand rubles. However, even if you have enough money to buy Fenech, you have to also create the conditions for his life, as close to estvestvenno otherwise Fenech dig for themselves as he desired hole in your couch. Home Fenech need at least prostorony aviary, in an ideal – a whole room necessarily heated.
In the magazine “Around the World” (№3, 1993) describes the history of Uwe George, a reporter of the magazine “the Geo”, which for 12 years held at Fenech house:
“Sand fox gave me the nomads of the Sahara in exchange for a bag of sugar, – he says Uwe George.- man with whom I was changing, said he was specially dug one of fox burrows, to give a living toy for their children.
Arab girl with Fenech in his arms. Photo / fennec fox photo
I felt sorry for the animal, which always had to defend themselves against the hungry dogs of nomads, and took it with him. Once Fenech served me in good stead. That was when my wife and I settled in Africa for a few days in a hostel of a distant army fort. I will never forget the day of our arrival, when late in the evening, at the eleventh hour, the engine broke down, which provides electricity to the fort, and all the lights went out. Several minutes later, a great, solemn silence of the desert night was broken strange noise in our room: they heard some strange crash, someone zatsarapalsya in the corner … The noise grew louder and louder. When I lit the kerosene lamp, opened a terrible picture! Thousands of huge black African cockroaches swarmed on a stone slab floor. They entered here, apparently through a gap between the wall and the floor. Probably, they are attracted grains, which in large quantities stored in this room. After the first glimmer of morning light terrible vision disappeared. We decided for the future to protect themselves from such visits and settled in his room sand fox and two desert hedgehogs in her care. Appetite team of our defenders was so great that the army of cockroaches, half eaten, was forced to retreat in disgrace. ”
During his expedition Uwe George Fenech so loved the charming, that he decided to take it with you to Hamburg. Fox, which settled at a reporter, was living in a separate room full of stones and sand brought from the Sahara. Under the superficial layer of sand inhabited by numerous jerboa; from time to time they got out of their hiding places and began to jump – gracefully, like a tiny kangaroo. The entrance to their burrows were small hole through which passed a special tube – the heating channels. Although Fenech during hunting used all his cunning to seize the coney: hiding, sitting motionless for hours in ambush near the mink, pretending to be asleep or completely indifferent, he rarely managed to catch the coney. According to Uwe George, these Fenech enacted scenes very like the twists and turns of the famous cartoon “Tom and Jerry”.
The most famous tamed Fenech – a fox in the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince”. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was inspired to create this character, Fenech met in the Sahara in 1935.
Enjoys special veneration Fenech in Algeria, where it is the national animal. The Algerian national football team is nicknamed “Les Fennecs” (Fennec or Desert Fox). In addition, Fenech is depicted in the Algerian dinar coin in ¼.