Bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis)

bat-eared fox

At the top of the zoo, close to the Somali wild ass

Fast facts

Status Least Concern

Size Head and body length: 46-66cm

Weight 3.0-5.3kg

Gestation 2 months

Young 1-5

Life span Up to 14 years

What do I eat?

Bat-eared foxes will mostly eat small invertebrates such as ants, termites and dung beetles. They will look for their food (forage) at night and use their large ears to listen out for their prey by pointing them towards the ground to hear if any invertebrates are hiding in the ground below them. They will then use their front paws to dig in to the ground to reach their prey.

Bat-eared foxes do not always hunt alone. They have been seen in groups of 2 to 15 foxes all foraging together, especially if there is lots of food nearby!

Where do I live?

These animals are found in many countries in Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia and South Africa.

They prefer to live in habitats such as savannah and scrub where there are areas of short and tall grasses. This is ideal for the bat-eared fox, as it is a great place to find food and also provides areas where they can hide from larger predators.

Breeding

Once these animals have found their perfect mate, they will mate for life (monogamous). A female bat-eared fox can have between 1-5 cubs per litter in a den. The male will often be close by, and help to care for the pups whilst the female goes out foraging.

Young bat-eared foxes will stay inside the den until they are about 15 weeks old. When they are fully weaned they will start to follow their parents out to look for food.

Predators

Bat-eared foxes face threats from predators such as lions, leopards, cheetah, hyena and African wild dogs. Pups are also known to be threatened by other animals including black-backed jackals and birds of prey.

To stay safe, bat-eared foxes will run away from a threat, and they are really quick! They are able to change direction (even reverse the direction they were going) without slowing down.

Conservation

The bat-eared fox is not a globally threatened species, yet it does face some threats in South Africa due to hunting for trophies and their pelts. These animals are at risk of some diseases such as rabies, parvo virus and canine distemper.

Bat-eared foxes can be found in many protected areas across their range, and are part of captive breeding programmes in various zoos worldwide.

Did you know?

The bat-eared fox got its name due to its large, bat-wing shaped ears.

The ears of the bat-eared fox can grow up to 14cm long!

These animals gain most of the water and moisture they need to survive from the insects that they eat.

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fantastic winter fun

We went in Feb half term. Our 10 year old and 9 month old were entertained all day. Great layout, everywhere is pram friendly, parking was close, food in the restaurant was 10/10. We all loved the bridges and routes around the animals. You can get surprisingly close to the animals.… Read full reviewnicky &robin, 21st February 2016