Range: Two distinct populations of bat-eared foxes occur in Africa. O. m. megalotis occurs in the southern regions including southern Zambia, Angola, and South Africa. O. m. virgatus occurs in Ethiopia and southern Sudan extending to Tanzania.
Habitat: Commonly occurs in short grass lands as well as the more arid regions of the savanna. In addition to raising their young in dens, bat-eared foxes use self-dug dens for shelter from extreme temperatures and winds.
Diet: The bat-eared fox is an insectivore that uses its large ears to locate its prey. 80–90% of their diet is harvester termites. When this particular species of termite is not available, bat-eared foxes feed on other species of termites. They have also been observed consuming ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, millipedes, moths, scorpions, spiders, and rarely birds, small mammals, and reptiles. The insects they eat fulfill the majority of their water intake needs.
Description: This species is named for its large ears. The name Otocyon is derived from the Greek words "otus" for ear and "cyon" for dog, while the specific name "megalotis" comes from the Greek words "mega" for large and "otus" for ear. It is also referred to as big- eared fox, black-eared fox, cape fox, and Delalande’s fox. In appearance it is sandy gray with lighter fur on the belly and the inside of the ears and a band across the forehead are white or buff. Head and body length: 18 to 26 inches (46 to 66 centimeters) Shoulder height: 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 centimeters) Weight: 7 to 12 pounds (3.2 to 5.4 kilograms) Dentition: The teeth of the bat-eared fox are much smaller more numerous (48) and reduced in sheering surface formation than teeth of other canid species. This is an adaptation to its insectivorous lifestyle.
Life Expectancy: Wild: 6 years; Zoos: 13 years
Reproduction: Bat-eared foxes are monogamous (mate for life), but sometimes two females will mate with one male and share a communal den. Females gestate for 60-70 days and give birth to litters consisting of 1 to 6 pups. Beyond lactation, which lasts 14 to 15 weeks, males take over grooming, defending, huddling, chaperoning, and carrying the young between dens. In contrast to other canids, the bat-eared fox has a reversal in parental roles with the male taking on the majority of the parental care behavior. sites. Male care and den attendance rates have been shown to have a direct correlation with cub survival rates. The father is very invested in the rearing of young, and he spends a great deal of time babysitting. While the father is watching the cubs, the mother is free to forage for food, primarily insects. They cannot be regurgitated for the young due to the hard, indigestible exoskeletons.
Behavior: Bat-eared foxes use their specialized ears to locate termites, dung beetles, and other insects. They can hear larvae chewing their way out of an underground dung beetle ball. They can also detect the sound of harvesting termites chewing on short grasses. Once they locate the insects by sound, the foxes jump and quickly catch them. They will sometimes travel up to 7.5 miles in one night when foraging for food. A bat-eared fox family has several den holes in its territory, each with many entrances and chambers. The den is a protected area where the group sleeps, escapes from predators and also where the females give birth. The foxes' claws are made for digging, and they can create their own burrow or enlarge an empty one made by another animal. Bat-eared foxes are hunted by several different mammal species, including cheetahs, jackals, spotted hyenas, rock pythons, African wild dogs, and leopards. They are fast and good at dodging, but their best chance at escaping predation is by fleeing to their underground dens
Our animals: One male; one female. Born 1/23/2010 at Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, MN.