Quick FactsListen to the sound of the bat-eared fox
3 to 5 kilograms (7 to 12 pounds)
45 to 66 centimeters long (18 to 26 inches)
6 to 14 years in captivity. No data for in the wild
Prime habitat is short-grass plains and areas with bare ground, but they are also found in arid/semi-arid scrubland, and savanna.
60 to 70 days
Humans, eagles, and jackals
Bat-eared foxes are primarily found in East and Southern Africa where there are short-grass plains and plenty of termites and beetles.
As the name indicates, this fox has unusually enormous ears in proportion to its head, like those of many bats. Their bodies are generally yellow-brown with a pale throat and under parts. The outsides of the ears, the racoon-like “face-mask,” lower legs, feet, and tail tip are all black. Their legs are relatively short. Aside from their large ears, they are unique from other foxes by their teeth — they have more teeth than any other placental mammal (46 to 50).
Behavior & Diet
A single fox can eat up to 1.15 million termites each year. Termites and dung beetles make up about 80 percent of their diets. In addition to termites and dung beetles, they also eat other insects and arthropods, small rodents, lizards, the eggs and chicks of other birds, and plant matter. They obtain much of their water from the body fluid of the insects they consume.
Bat-eared foxes are primarily nocturnal — 85 percent of their activity occurs during under the cover of night. They emerge from their underground dens at dusk to feed during the night.
They have an incredible sense of hearing — their large ears can hear beetle larvae hatching from dung balls. To escape from predators, they rely on their incredible agility and speed. They have an impeccable ability to dodge predators and they are able to reverse directions at a flat run without ever losing speed.
Bat-eared foxes live in groups of mating pairs and their young. They are usually monogamous and breed annually, producing a litter of three to six pups. These family groups often social-groom, play, and sleep together. Males participate in guarding, grooming, and playing with the young as much or as even more than the mother.
As human populations grow and expand, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads.
In Botswana, indigenous people hunt the bat-eared fox for their pelts. In South Africa, they are hunting trophies. They are also often perceived as threats and predators of small livestock.
Our solutions to protecting the bat-eared fox:
African Wildlife Foundation recruits, equips, and trains scouts. These community members monitor wildlife, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and work with local authorities to ensure the safety and security of wildlife in their area.
AWF engages communities to become protectors of the wildlife they share space with. As populations expand, we know it is necessary to train communities in methods of sustainable agriculture and growth, such as planting new and diverse seeds, to increase production and decrease land-use.
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