Hattiesburg Zoo welcomes new foxes, Bongo and Belle
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo is pleased to welcome two new Fennec foxes, Bongo and Belle.
The new foxes will join Banjo, a 4-year-old Fennec fox, who has been a resident of the Hattiesburg Zoo since 2019. Banjo was made available to the Zoo through a donation of the Clinton family, who rescued him from a detrimental situation.
“We are so happy to welcome these two beautiful creatures to our Zoo,” said Jeremy Cumpton, director of conservation, education and wildlife.
Before coming to the Hattiesburg Zoo, the two new foxes were residents of a sanctuary in Oklahoma. Both foxes, a male and a female, are approximately 3 years of age.
“The female is missing her left eye, but is otherwise in good shape,” said Cumpton. “Her missing eye is a teaching opportunity for us as we educate people about the fact that not all animals are meant to be pets.”
According to the zoo, the Fennec fox is one of the world’s smallest species of foxes.
Their most notable characteristic is their large ears, which reach 4 to 6 inches in length! Those ears not only help them listen for prey underground but also serve to dissipate excess heat of the desert.
They also have a thick, sandy-colored coat that keeps them warm at night and reflects the sunlight during the day. They even have fur on their feet that protects their footpads from the scorching ground.
The zoo said humans are an ominous predator of the fennec fox, as the animals are trapped in some areas and sold into the pet trade or even hunted for their lush fur. Large predators such as birds of prey or hyenas could catch them if the fox journey outside their burrow, so staying inside their den during the day is sensible for these little creatures. Their nocturnal nature keeps them safe from animal predators.
As nighttime hunters, they enjoy insects, rodents, snails, lizards, plants, fruits, roots and eggs.
Although considered to be solitary creatures, Fennec foxes live in small communities of around 10 individuals, with dens being close in proximity or in some cases connected to one another.
You can find the Fennec foxes in their exhibit in the “Experience Africa” area of the zoo.
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