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Bat-Eared Fox at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Click to see more.

Bat-Eared Fox

Otocyon megalotis

Family

Canidae, the dog family.

Conservation Status

Not threatened.

Distribution

East and South Africa.

Habitat

Savannas and open plains with tall grass, thick brush and burrows for hiding. Found in close proximity to ungulates

Factoid

The bat-eared fox is possibly named after the Egyptian slit-faced fruit bat, which also has ears that are large in proportion to its head.

Their coats are yellowish-brown with brown feet and ear tips and blackish brown faces. Their legs are relatively short, and tails bushy, darkening in color towards the tip and their ears are approximately 5 inches long.

They are the only canids that prefer insects to mammalian prey. Eighty percent of their diet consists of insects, particularly harvester termites and dung beetles, as well as fruits, scorpions and an occasional small mammal or bird. They are hunted by native peoples for their pelts and meat and also by carnivores such as the black-backed jackal, slender mongoose and brown hyena.

Bat-eared foxes usually breed in pairs, giving birth in self-dug dens. But single males may breed with two females and two or three breeding dens may be clustered within a few hundred meters, where soil and vegetation are suitable. After a 60-70 day gestation period, two to five pups are born. Juveniles achieve adult size at 4 months, when they begin to accompany adults on foraging trips. Groups can include up to 12 foxes.

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