Bat eared fox
© Johann du Toit

Bat Eared Fox

The bat-eared fox’s name comes from its enormous ears, which are large in proportion to its head like those of many bats. The size ranges from 18 to 26 inches long and weigh 7 to 12kg. The body is generally yellow-brown; the throat and underparts are pale. The outsides of the ears, the raccoon-like “face-mask,” lower legs, feet, and tail tip are all black.

Their diet primarily consists of insects and other arthropods, especially the harvester termite and dung beetles. They occasionally feed on small rodents, lizards, the eggs and chicks of birds, and plant matter. Bat-eared foxes obtain much of their water from the body fluids of these insects.

Bat-eared foxes are mostly nocturnal, emerging from their underground dens at dusk to feed during the night. They live in groups of mating pairs and their young. These family groups social-groom often, play and sleep together. They are usually monogamous and breed annually, producing a litter of 3 to 6 pups. Males participate in guarding, grooming, and playing with the young as much as or even more than the mother.

To escape from predators, the bat-eared fox relies on speed and its incredible dodging ability. Although hunted by some indigenous people, bat-eared fox populations are healthy and not threatened.

Their life span is 13 years.

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