Bat-eared Fox

The bat-eared fox is a canid of the African savanna. It is named after its huge ears. Bat-eared foxes have tawny fur, their ears, legs and parts of the face are black. They are 21.65 in (55 cm) long (head and body). Their ears are 5.12 in (13 cm) long. It is the only species in the genus Otocyon.

The teeth of the bat-eared fox are much smaller than teeth of other canid species. This is an adaptation to their insectivorous diet. 80% of the diet consists of insects. Bat-eared foxes visit termite hills, follow locust swarms or stay close to herds of zebras or antelopes in order to feed on the insects landing on their excrements. In addition to insects bat-eared foxes eat rodents, birds and eggs, and sometimes fruits.

Bat-eared foxes are nocturnal animals that live in small groups consisting of a couple and their young. The pairs live in dens and raise the pups (two to five) together.

Due to their unusual teeth, Bat-eared foxes were once considered as a distinct subfamily of canids (Otocyoninae). However, they are closely related to the true foxes of the genus Vulpes. Other research places the genus as an out-group that is not very closely related to foxes. The bat-eared fox is an old species that was widely distributed in the Pleistocene era. In that time it even lived in parts of West and South Asia.