It lives in the semi-desert areas and sandy deserts of northern Africa, in families of about 10 animals consisting of the couple with the offspring.
Weighing just a pound, it’s the smallest canine in the world. Its large ears, along with other adaptations to the hot, sweltering desert climate including low body mass, fur-covered soles and very elongated body extremities, allow it to dissipate heat and regulate body temperature.
Mainly nocturnal, it spends the hottest hours of the day sheltered in labyrinthine dens that can extend over 120 square meters and even have 15 entrances.
It mates in winter and after about 50 days, 2 to 5 puppies are born which after about 9-11 months reach adult size and sexual maturity.
WHO IS HERE AT THE BIOPARCO?
Aisha, born in 2014 in the Jihlava Zoo (Czech Republic) and Biko, born in 2015 in the Attica Zoological Park (Greece) are the couple that has been living in the Bioparco since 2016. Other 4 females live with them, their daughters, born in the Bioparco in 2019. Biko is very curious and often approaches the keepers, especially during meals, unlike Aisha who is a rather shy animal, and young females who come out only when they smell food which, immediately brought to the den, is devoured in tranquillity.
They have a varied diet, they feed mainly on grasshoppers and locusts, but also on other insects, lizards and geckos, small rodents, birds, eggs, fruits and tubers.