Happy Tiny Tuesday, everyone! Allow me to introduce the world's smallest canid, the fennec fox.
This tiny desert fox grows to be 1 1/2 feet tall, weighing about 3 lbs. Indigenous to the Sahara Desert, they have many incredible adaptive qualities. Their sand-colored coat blends in with the desert, and those ridiculous bat-like ears allow them to hear even the softest sounds of insects crawling across the sand (insects, among other small creatures and plants make for a proper fennec fox supper). To protect their (sweet, adorably squishable, I'm certain) paws from the scorching desert sand, they have little tufts of fur on their feet. These unusual tufts of hair also give them traction and balance on the sand, sort of like snowshoes.
To survive the high temperatures, their kidneys restrict water loss. They are active during the night when the desert is cool, and during the day they burrow into their extensive network of tunnels. When they are all balled up in their fox holes, heat from their bodies creates condensation on their coats, which they later consume as a water source. How industrious!
Like dogs, fennec foxes are very energetic, travel in packs, territorially whiz on everything the light touches, and wag their tails. When threatened, they can dig so quickly into the sand, it's as if they've disappeared, or maybe just gone down a very quick invisible elevator. Agile and nimble, they can also leap magnificent distances into the air. They're able to evade most predators with their squirrely, clever ways.
Apparently, they are commonly kept as pets. Why I did not know about these potential pets, it is a mystery. In fact, they are the only species of fox that can truly be kept in captivity, and they seem to actually enjoy human companionship. Potentially my companionship. See where I'm going with this? My new spirit animal and I must be united. Can you imagine what it would be like to see this tiny head peaking around the corner in your home?
Some day I'll build an arc, or at least buy a large enough rowboat to to fit all of my miniature creatures, and escape to a tiny island that will be entirely populated with leaf deer and fennec foxes.