The fennec fox is the smallest fox in the world, with thick fur and huge ears that help it weather the temperature extremes in its habitat, the Sahara desert. Most mammals have a hard time surviving in such barren conditions, but there are actually several other members of the fox family that share some of the fennec's qualities.
Coyotes are the best-known desert dog in the United States. Coyotes and foxes are closely related and share many similar traits. Although coyotes can live in a variety of environments, they are well adapted to desert living. Like fennec foxes, they are omnivorous. In a desert environment they eat rodent, reptiles, insects and plants. Coyotes live in packs, and dig dens to raise their young in the spring.
Arabian Red Fox
The Arabian red fox is a member of the worldwide red fox family, but with many features adapted to living in the Arabian deserts. Like the fennec fox, the Arabian red fox is small, with a pale coat and huge ears to help disperse heat under the desert sun. Also like the fennec and coyote, it eats an omnivorous diet of small desert animals, plus birds and occasionally vegetation.
The gray fox is also found throughout many parts of the United States, including the rocky deserts of the Southwest. The gray fox shares a habitat and may at times be in competition with coyotes. It has the ability to climb trees -- unusual among canines -- which comes in handy when competing for food. Its diet includes scavenged carrion, prickly pear fruit and pine nuts as well as the sort of small animals favored by other desert foxes.
San Joaquin Kit Fox
Another small fox that closely resembles the fennec is the San Joaquin kit fox. The pale, large-eared kit fox is rare, living only in southern California, and is classified as endangered. They also live in territories that overlap with coyotes and red foxes, and they hide in burrows to stay safe from predators. They eat a similar diet of small desert animals and don't need to drink water, instead absorbing moisture directly from their prey.
Laura Gee has a B.A. in history and anthropology, but now spends more time blogging and producing web content. She has worked and/or trained as an illustrator, crafter, caterer, yoga teacher, child-care provider and massage therapist, and she loves to travel when she gets a chance.