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The animal on the cover of Java Servlet and JSP Cookbook is a fennec fox (Fennecus zerda), also known as the desert fox. Fennes foxes live in arid sandy regions of northern Africa, the Sahara, the Sinai Peninsula and Arabia and are one of the tiniest members of the canine family (eight inches at the tallest and usually less than a foot long). Their relatively huge ears and beady black eyes give them a distinctive appearance. The fennec fox’s bushy tail is characteristic of most foxes, and a thick creamy coat camouflages them in their sandy habitat.

Fennec foxes live in burrows and are nocturnal hunters, eating plants, small rodents, birds and their eggs, lizards, and insects. Their hearing is so acute that they can hear even the smallest of prey walking across desert sand. These foxes often stalk their prey and pounce upon it; their vertical leap is two feet high and they can jump four feet horizontally from a standing position, astounding feats for an animal of such small stature. They are rapid and prolific diggers, known for “disappearing” into sand while appearing to stand still. Some reports note that this species can dig a 20-foot-long tunnel in one night!

The fennec fox is not listed as endangered, but is now considered rare ...

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