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Our Little Boy is Growing Up

Friday, September 10, 2010 4:10pm
fenec fox_d mattner.jpg

Anyone that has been to visit our two little Fennec Foxes lately would have noticed that they are sleeping curled up with each other and, no, it is not to keep warm during these last days of winter (they have a heat lamp for that)... it's because Tizga, our little boy, is becoming a man.

Tizga (3 years old) came to Adelaide Zoo last year from Taronga Zoo, where he was hand raised by keepers, meaning he has a natural affection towards people. I worked with Tizga at Taronga Zoo and when I started at Adelaide Zoo I was very excited to work with this friendly little man.

Our female Fennec Fox is named Kira, she is the older lady, 5 years old and came to Adelaide Zoo from Melbourne Zoo. Kira is fairly timid around keepers, keeping her distance. Very different to Tizga who will run up to keepers for a scratch behind the ears... until about a month ago when keepers noticed a change in his usual friendly behaviour.

Tizga would have reached sexual maturity around one year of age but is finally fulfilling his manly duties! Tizga is now protecting his lady, by means of standing in front of her, tail raised with growling, barking and, if you get too close, a bite on the hand.

This protective/aggressive behaviour has been documented in male Fennec Foxes once they have mated with a female. So we suspect that either Kira is in her breeding season, or they have mated. Either way we are keeping close eye on the both of them and keeping a safe distance from Tizga - for a small animal he can give a big bite.

Currently Kira and Tizga are one of the last remaining breeding pairs of Fennec Foxes in the Australasian Region but soon we are getting a very important delivery of 3 Fennec Foxes from overseas, not only bringing with them a new a genetic line but also the future of Fennec Foxes in Australian Zoos.

Carnivore Keeper


Wow Tizga has become a man?! It must be really sweet to watch him protect his lady! I have noticed recently that the two Fennec Foxes were cuddled together... Now I know why! I also remember seeing Tizga being really intimate with one of his keepers. Does that mean that now he won't be as friendly as he used to be?
Posted By: Amanda Chan on Friday, September 10, 2010 4:49pm
That's great news
Posted By: Kim Kilroy on Friday, September 10, 2010 8:33pm
Hi Amanda, Tizga is still a friendly little man, its just some days he is being protective of Kira. Just today I was giving him a scratch behind the ears and we did some training.
Posted By: Arliah on Monday, September 13, 2010 6:01pm
what a babe
Posted By: patrick on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:55am

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Page Last Updated October 27, 2010, 2:37 am