Bat Eared Fox

Bat Eared Fox

Otocyon megalotis

See them at the Zoo

Quick Facts

Body Length: 18.1 to 22.9 inches
Tail Length 9.5 to 13.4 inches
Weight: 6.6 to 9.9 pounds
Distribution: Two populations: the southern population from southern Zambia to South Africa; the northern population from Ethiopia to Tanzania
Habitat: Open grasslands
Wild Diet: Insects and other invertebrates, small rodents and reptiles, fruits, and bird eggs
Zoo Diet: Canine chow, crickets, mice, ribs, chopped fruit, ground meat, and vegetables

Of all the canids, the bat-eared fox alone has, through years of evolution, given up meat as its main diet. Small and relatively weak teeth hint at a diet that’s easier to chew than meat, and these foxes chow down on fruits, scorpions, spiders, and the occasional small mammal or lizard. What bat-eared foxes lack in fang power, they make up in the ability to chew food more rapidly than most carnivores. Why would these foxes need to eat so quickly? Because the majority of their diet is insects. And you have to eat pretty fast if you’re going to fill up on bugs!

Description

The upper body of the bat-eared fox is yellow-brown to gray. The throat, under parts, and insides of the ears are pale, while the outside of the ears, mask, lower legs, feet and tail tip are black. The outer ears are very large and aide in directional hearing. The fur is long, soft, and thick. The bat-eared fox's legs are relatively short. Its teeth and associated jaw muscles appear to be adapted for rapidly chewing insect prey.

Status in the Wild

Bat-eared foxes are not considered endangered. They are sometimes hunted for their fur or because they are perceived as threats to livestock.

Conservation Programs

Listed as of “least concern" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources).


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