How much do you know about Africa’s bat-eared fox? Today we’ll be sharing with you some interesting fun facts about this little fox with big ears.
1. The bat-eared fox first shows up in the fossil record 800,000 years ago, in Africa, where the species still lives to this day. They are considered a basal canid, which means that the appearance and anatomy of the bat-eared fox closely resembles that of ancestral canines.
2. Unlike many other foxes, the bat-eared fox is a highly social animal. They hunt in pairs or in threes and live in groups of up to 15 individuals. They practice social grooming, which reinforces bonds between group members, and spend the time which they aren’t eating or sleep in play.
3. These little foxes are mostly insectivores. They can hear their prey because of their keen hearing. Up to 90% of the diet of the bat-eared fox is made up of termites. When insects are especially scarce, they may hunt small reptiles or eat fungi.
4. The scientific name for this species is Otocyon megalotis. Otocyon comes from two Greek words: otus meaning ear and cyon meaning dog. Mega is also Greek, meaning large.
5. Most bat-eared foxes show monogamous behavior, although from time to time one male will regularly mate with the same few females. With these foxes, it’s the fathers who take most of the responsibility of raising the kits. After the kits have been weaned off of the mother’s milk, it’s the father who plays with the children and teaches them how to defend themselves. The mother spends most of her time finding food for the father and kits.
6. This species of fox lives exclusively in Africa. They prefer the grasslands because ungulates like antelope and zebras keep the grass short and therefore easier to find insects and bugs in. They dig small dens to shelter and hide in, as well as retreating to tall grass if a predator is nearby. During the hottest parts of the day, the bat-eared fox will rest in the shade of acacia trees. The large ears of these foxes do a good job of keeping them cool, though, by dispersing heat into the veins in the ears and keeping their bodies from overheating.
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