Bat-eared fox hears through the ground
This fox species is a size bigger than a domestic cat and looks heart-warming, like a stuffed animal. You rarely come across it during a safari in Africa, because they mostly operate at night, but on a cloudy day they can also hunt during the day. If you run into them, they certainly don’t run away; they continue foraging ice-cold. They walk for much of the day with their noses close to the ground and their ears pointed towards the ground, as they can even pick up sound vibrations from underground. Bat-eared foxes are hunters but they mainly eat insects and rodents.
- The bat-eared fox’s den
- Hunting bat-eared foxes
- Naming long-eared fox
- Its striking ears
- Two groups
- Enemies bat-eared fox
This animal lives in small groups of around five. They live in family groups with two of the foxes being the male and the female. The bat-eared fox pairs for life, although groups of bat-eared foxes have been found where the foxes were polygamous, that is, had multiple partners. The female’s gestation period is 60 days and usually four to six young appear in daylight in one litter. Giving birth takes place in an underground hole. After delivery, both parents raise the babies.
The bat-eared fox’s den
They can dig a hole themselves, but often a hole is dug by another animal such as the aardvark, which for this reason is called the homebuilder of Africa. Sometimes one takes over a hole from a jumping hare. A jumping hare is an African hare that moves like a kangaroo.
Hunting bat-eared foxes
Bat-eared foxes do not hunt farmers’ livestock, which is why it is referred to as a “harmless animal” in Africa. A few meters apart they search in grassland areas and savannas for termites, rodents and large insects. Small reptiles such as geckos supplement its diet. Their large ears come in handy here; they can even hear what is happening underground. In this way they can take a field mouse out of its hole and eat it. The bat-eared fox does not have the typical teeth of a fox, but more like an insectivore. It has between 40 and 46 relatively small teeth. Centipedes, scorpions, ants, tiny birds, eggs, beetles, butterfly, termites and wild fruits are on the bat eared fox’s daily menu.
Naming long-eared fox
The Latin name of bat-eared fox is otocyon megalotis. In English, it is called bat-eared fox, which makes sense, because of the large ears that resemble the ears of a bat. In Dutch, his name is next to bat-eared fox spoon fox. In German it is called löffelvos, which also means spoon fox. In Afrikaans, the sister language of Dutch, it is called ‘turning jackal’. It got this name because it often goes its own way to a certain point and then turns around.
Its striking ears
The bat-eared fox has gray-brown fur with bits of black hair in it and it is about 80 centimeters long and 35 centimeters at shoulder height. His big ears make him look a lot bigger. The bat-eared fox’s ears don’t just help it search for food underground. The ears are quite hairy. It can survive well in a desert climate because of its ears. It loses excess heat through its large ears.
Two groups of bat-eared foxes live in Africa with a large area in between where they do not occur. The first area is in East Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania. The second area is in Zambia, Botswana, Southern Angola, Namibia, northern South Africa and western Zimbabwe.
Enemies bat-eared fox
Bat-eared foxes have a large number of enemies in Africa. Turning over while foraging will keep their scent trail from spreading too far; that’s how they protect themselves. Leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and snakes can all feast on a bat-eared fox as a meal. Its biggest enemy, however, is the jackal, a canine that is a lot bigger and much stronger than the bat-eared fox.