Tag Archives: fennec fox

Picture of the Moment—My, what big ears you have!

Picture of the Moment

There are two main reasons why I have an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park:

1 – I don’t have to try to get my money’s worth whenever I go.

2 – Not all critters are out at all times of the day or all days of the week, so on any specific visit I might see something that I haven’t seen before, or perhaps get a better picture.

The Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) is a great example.

Fossa

This little one is located in the children’s zoo at the San Diego Zoo. Since I never had (never wanted) children, I used to never go into the children’s zoo. One day I did and found all sorts of interesting critters that are not in the “adult” sections of the zoo. Now I always make a trip into the children’s section to see what’s new.

The Fennec Fox rarely is visible, preferring his little hideaway hole in his exhibit area. This time he was just laying out on that pad and watching me. I told him I was going to make him an Internet star; I’m sure he heard me with those big ears but he just looked at me with those little eyes. Meh.

The Fennec Fox is the smallest of the world’s foxes. It lives in the sandy Sahara Desert and surrounding areas in North Africa. They are nocturnal, which helps them deal with the desert heat. And if you’re wondering why such a small fox as such big ears, it’s the better to hear you with…. Actually, their large ears radiate body heat to help keep them cool. Their long, thick fur insulates them during cold nights and protects them from hot sun during the day. They also have hairy feet which act similarly to snowshoes, protecting them from the hot sand.

Fennec foxes live in communities of about 10 individuals in underground dens. Males mark their territory with urine and are quite aggressive when mating season arrives.

They are opportunistic eaters, which I guess one has to be if one lives in a desert, preferring plants but also eating rodents, eggs, reptiles, and insects. As with most desert dwellers, the fennec fox can go long periods without water. Little is known about the status of wild fennec fox populations; I mean, who wants to live in the desert for an extended period of time studying little critters that live underground?

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post.

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SNIPPETS (7-18-15)—Will we become maze runners?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Today is Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday, love!

Happy Birthday!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

We have rain, thunder, and lightning here in San Diego for Jim’s birthday.

I reminder readers of the following facts:

It’s July.
Middle of July.
In San Diego.
Southern California.
It rarely rains here, much less in July.
The last time it rained in July was 1992.
Wait.
I was still in College Station, Texas, then.
IT’S NEVER RAINED IN JULY IN SAN DIEGO!
This is completely unacceptable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

Jim is off work this weekend so we are having a birthday weekend instead of just a birthday.

Yesterday evening we went to the San Diego Night Time Zoo. That’s when the Zoo stays open an extra four hours, until 9:00 p.m. Along with entertainment (music, magic….) throughout the Zoo (wonder how the animals like that….), it’s a great time to see some animals that only come out or become active at dusk. Such as the Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda).

img_3862 fennic fox zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At a maximum weight of 3½ pounds, the Fennec Fox is the smallest canine in the world. It lives in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments, and its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds, and is itself eaten by the eagle owl.

Milky Eagle Owl

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a small kitty cat but bigger than domestic kitty cats, also was active last night.

img_3914 serval zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Serval is a slender cat with long legs and a fairly short tail with a maximum weight of 40 lbs. It also is native to Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The Serval at the Zoo is a mommy. Two little ones born earlier this year. They were just as playful as all little kitties are. Jim and I stood there for thirty minutes watching the little ones play with each other and with their toys, although I think their favorite toy was a pine cone that had fallen from the tree.

img_3912 serval kitten zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

atlas shruggedThis past week I watched three futuristic movies based on a book that Republicans seem enthralled with: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. “Atlas Shrugged,” along with her previous book “The Fountainhead,” developed the philosophical system now known as Objectivism.

According to Wikipedia, “Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.”

Are you as tired from reading that as I am?

My wise old grandmotherOne of the things that my wise old grandmother (picture ►) taught me 40 years ago is that if you want to see how something will work in reality, take it to its extreme. That has always worked for me, and I think it works with Objectivism, Capitalism, and Socialism.

Objectivism seems to be where the Republicans want to take us, privatizing schools, roads, libraries, food (Monsanto comes to mind) and everything else in the world, which pretty much would be total and complete Objectivism with the rich controlling anything and everything.

Unbridled Capitalism comes very close to Objectivism, in my opinion, but I don’t know of any country anywhere, past or present, that subscribes to unbridled Capitalism. Rather, in capitalist economies, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which they exchange assets, products, and services. Note the word “typically” there. Governments often get involved in capitalism to prevent things like gouging during natural disasters whereby prices for food and water are not allowed to increase exorbitantly due to demand caused by the situation.

Lack of any government at all would, I think, result in Anarchism, no better than Objectivism or Capitalism.

atlas shrugged filmYes, life is not fair, but do we really have to capitalize (pun intended) on that unfairness? Surely intelligent humans can find a happy middle ground that would allow the rich to stay rich, the middle class to have the opportunity to become rich, and government to be able to provide for all of its citizens in terms of transportation and education but also including the unemployed, the sick, the homeless, and the hungry.

I can highly recommend the three movies, “Atlas Shrugged,” “Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike,” and “Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?”.

SNIPPET #7

maze runnerOnce you finish those three moves, go a little further to the extreme and watch “The Maze Runner.” All four movies also provide a view into society and what the future might hold as the climate changes, manmade or not.

However, if you’re still confused about the role of mankind in climate change, think about this:

The Holocene interglacial period, which is what we are in now, began about 11,000 years ago. The population of Earth at that time was about a million people. Now fast forward to July 18, 2015, where the population is 7½ billion people. Climate change happens. We know that. With all we are doing in terms of manufacturing and such, and the results of 7½ billion people using the products of that manufacturing, can we really say that we are not having some effect on the climate of the Earth, perhaps causing climate change to get here sooner rather than later? Can we do something, or will be become maze runners?

SNIPPET #8

San Diego gay pride paradeThis is Gay Pride weekend here in San Diego. Started with the Stonewall Rally yesterday evening, continues with a huge 3-hour long parade today followed by a Festival, and continuing with the Festival tomorrow. Parties are everywhere, including Gay Pride parties at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Jim and I are going to the San Diego Botanic Garden today and to the Gay Pride Festival tomorrow.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

One of our newer residents of the San Diego Zoo: The fennec fox

Picture of the momentI go to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or SeaWorld at least once a week. Sometimes I make all three, except when work gets in the way.

There is a “Children’s Zoo” at the San Diego Zoo, and I had always skipped it since I didn’t have any children and I really didn’t think that children were on exhibit. A couple of years ago I wandered into the Children’s Zoo just to look around. What a pleasant surprise! I’m not really sure why they call it the Children’s Zoo since it has some animals that are not seen in other parts of the Zoo.

One of our newer residents of the San Diego Zoo is the fennec fox (Vulpes zerda), and it happens to be located in the Children’s Zoo.

Fennec fox at the San Diego Zoo

Fennec fox at the San Diego Zoo

Fennec fox at the San Diego Zoo

My, what big ears he has!

Things of interest about the fennec fox:

    • Indigenous to the Sahara Desert in North Africa.
    • Its hearing is so sensitive (explains the big ears!) that it can hear its prey moving underground, a useful trait I suppose if you live in the Sahara Desert.
    • Its fur is valued by the native peoples of North Africa.
    • It is an exotic pet in some parts of the world.
    • It’s conservation status is listed as a species of “least concern.”
    • Not much is known of their social behaviour and basic ecology in the wild. I mean, would you want to spend all your time in the Sahara Desert studying them?
    • They are able to live without a source of water, getting all they need from the food they eat. That explains the Sahara Desert.
    • It is the national animal of Algeria.
    • Interestingly, although it is not considered domesticated, it can be kept in settings similar to those of your cat or dog.
    • As with all exotic pets, owning one varies by city, county, and/or state.
    • It is said to be the smallest species of Canid in the world, but I want to question that since the canids include domestic dogs, as well as foxes, wolves, jackals, and coyotes. The fennec fox weighs from 1½ to 3½ pounds, is 9-16 inches long, and stands about 8 inches tall. Aren’t there some dogs that small?

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat