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Bat-eared Fox

Range:

The distribution of the bat-eared fox is divided into two populations, one from southern Zambia and Angola to South Africa, the other from Ethiopia and south Sudan to Tanzania.


Habitat:

This fox lives mainly in the open grasslands and grassy deserts of Southern and Central Africa.


Characteristics:

Unlike most members of the canine family, these foxes eat primarily insects. Perhaps this is because their enormous ears are pointed out and down, and specifically adapted for hearing prey that live underground. They also have different teeth than most other canines; sharp, pointy and specialized for crunching insects. They can have up to 48 teeth in their mouth including and extra 4-8 molars.


Bat-eared Fox Click to View Bigger Picture

Behavior:

Bat-eared fox often live in groups of two to four adults and will work together to hunt termites. While resting, they can often be seen grooming each other.


Reproduction:

They breed annually and are monogamous. Young are born in self dug dens after a gestation period of 60 days. The average litter size is 2-4 pups. Newborns are sparsely covered with gray underfur and change to adult coloring in 4-5 weeks. Considered full grown at 5-6 months. Males play a larger role than females in guarding, grooming and playing with the pups.


Interesting Facts:

Sleeping during the heat of the day, bat-eared foxes also rely on their ears to keep them cool. Body heat escapes through the thin skin, cooling blood in their veins and thus cooling their bodies. Then as night falls, they become more active, digging for termites and other prey.


Bat-eared Fox Click to View Bigger Picture

Did YOU Know?
The bat-eared fox communicate with each other in several ways including, a wide range of facial expression, tail and ear posture as well as some olfacory signals.

Bat-eared Fox
Range
Class: mammal
Order: Carinvora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Otocyon
Species: megalotis
Length: 25-27 inches with a 12 inch tail
Height: 12 inches; ears-5inches
Weight: 6-12 lbs
Length: 25-27 inches with a 12 inch tail
Average Lifespan: 6
Wild Diet: The majority of their diet is termites, but they will also eat dung beetles, locusts, small birds and mammals, berries and fruits.
Predators: Black-backed jackal, brown hyena, slender mongoose and honey badger all prey on bat-eared fox, especially the young.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone


Learn more about mammal or animals from Africa!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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