Status: No special status.
Size: Body length 18 to 24 in., tail 9 to 13 in., weight 6 to 11 lbs.
Characteristics: Social, monogamous.
Offspring: Two to five pups.
Predators: Jackals, leopards, hyenas, birds of prey, domestic dogs.
· The bat-eared fox is also called the big-eared fox, black-eared fox or Delalande's fox.
· It has 48 teeth, six more than any other member of the dog family.
· Their large ears help heat to escape their bodies during extremely warm weather.
· Bat-eared foxes are curious animals that are drawn to humans to watch their activities.
Bat-eared foxes have extremely large, pointed ears, making their faces seem similar to that of a bat. They live in small family groups of three to six foxes (a couple and their offspring). Because they’re small, they’re very vulnerable to predators and have underground dens where they live and into which they can escape if needed. They usually go out to hunt at night, when the air is cooler, but are occasionally seen during the day. These foxes are unique—rather than hunt mammals like other members of the dog family, bat-eared fox’s diets are mostly made up of insects. Their large ears provide them with excellent hearing, and they can detect insects beneath the soil and dig them up. They especially like termites, beetles and grasshoppers, but will eat small rodents and reptiles, as well as fruit and various plants. They’re able to go for long periods without drinking, but will drink regularly if a water source is available.
Bat-eared foxes live in two separate regions of Africa. One is the southwestern tip of Africa, including South Africa, Namibia, southern Angola and western Botswana. The other runs from Ethiopia through Kenya to Tanzania. They live in arid and open ground and it is believed that they once extended much farther, even into India. Although they are heavily hunted for their thick, soft fur, the population of the bat-eared fox is not considered at risk at this time. Bat-eared foxes are also shot by farmers, who don’t realize that the fox is valuable for its predation on insects and rodents, and that it doesn’t prey on farm animals.
Males and females form life-long bonds. The female gives birth to her cubs in the den 60 to 75 days after mating. Both parents take care of the cubs. The youngsters nurse for up to fifteen weeks, but may be weaned in as few as five weeks. They begin to eat insects when they’re one month old. By the time they’re four to six months old, they’ve grown to full adult size, but remain with their parents for approximately a year. The record longevity for a captive bat-eared fox is over 13 years. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown.