- Title: JAPAN: Fennec fox cubs mesmerise zoo visitors
- Date: 22nd June 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS OF FENNEC FOXS CUB'S FEATURES ZOO VISITORS WALKING TOWARDS THE FENNEC FOX ENCLOSURE
- Embargoed: 7th July 2009 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAERHV8QAOKY81JY1S31NC13NO3
- Story Text: Three Fennec Fox cubs made their public debut at a Tokyo zoo at the weekend.
They were born on May 17 at the Sunshine City Aquarium.
Families gathered outside the enclosure to watch the zookeeper feed the cubs with their distinctive big ears and to watch them scamper around.
The desert foxes were being raised by humans because their mother had not been able to take care of them herself.
"Their parents were raising them well at the start, but became unable to do so. So, 10 days after birth we moved them and put them under human care," explained Chieko Suzuki, the zookeeper who has been taking care of the foxes.
The cubs each weighed only 38 grams (0.076 lb) when they were born, but when fully grown, the foxes can be up to 75cm (2.46 ft) long including their tail and weigh up to 1.5 kg (3 lb).
Fennec Foxes normally give birth only once a year, and almost never to more than 5 cubs.
The fox's unique looks serve a practical purpose in its natural habit - the Sahara Desert of North Africa.
"These large ears are the Fennec's distinguishing feature. While they are of course used for hearing things, since they live in the desert, these big ears and all of the blood vessels in the ear are used to disperse heat," said Suzuki.
In addition to their sand-colored coat, the foxes also have fur on the underside of their paws so that they can walk across hot desert sand without getting their feet scorched.
The three cubs are scheduled to be on display until the end of August.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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