This fox is named for its
enormous ears

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Bat-Eared Fox

Conservation Status:

Least Threatened

  • Termites make up 80% of their diet
  • Native to more than 10 African countries
  • There are 2 distinct populations

Quick Facts

Scientific name

Octocyon megalotis


7 to 12 lb.


18 to 26 in. long

Life span

13 years


Open plains, savannas, grasslands




60 to 70 days




Where do bat-eared foxes live?

Bat-eared foxes are found in short-grass plains—and areas where termites and beetles are found—in East and Southern Africa.

Tags: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, East Africa, Southern Africa, Kilimanjaro, Samburu, Bat-Eared Fox View Africa | Habitat

Physical Characteristics

What is a bat-eared fox?

As its name indicates, the bat-eared fox has unusually enormous ears in proportion to its head, like those of many bats. Its body is generally yellow-brown with a pale throat and under parts. The outsides of the ears, the raccoon-like “face mask,” lower legs, feet, and tail tip are all black. Its legs are relatively short.

Behavior & Diet

Bat-eared foxes play an important role in termite control.

A single bat-eared fox can eat up to 1.15 million termites each year—this is about 80% of their diets. In addition to termites, bat-eared foxes also eat other insects and arthropods, small rodents, lizards, the eggs and chicks of birds, and plant matter. They obtain much of their water from the body fluid of the insects they consume.

They are most active at night.

Bat-eared foxes are primarily nocturnal. They emerge from their underground dens at dusk to feed during the night.

Bat-eared foxes are wily escape artists.

To escape from predators, the bat-eared fox relies on speed and its incredible dodging ability.

They form family groups similar to our own.

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 social-groom often, play, and sleep together. Males participate in guarding, grooming, and playing with the young as much as or even more than the mother.


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The bat-eared fox is losing its living space to humans.

As human populations grow and expand, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads.


Our solutions to protecting the bat-eared fox:

  • Engage wildlife scouts.

    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. 

  • Work with communities living near wildlife.

    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. 


Will you show bat-eared foxes your support?

With your help, AWF can work on critical initiatives like providing sustainable agricultural training and working with wildlife scouts to protect the bat-eared fox. Donate for a cause that will help with wildlife conservation and ensure the bat-eared fox does not become an endangered species. 

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