Common Name: Bat-eared Fox
Scientific Name: Otocyon megalotis
Species: O. megalotis
An average bat-eared fox is about thirty to forty centimeters when it’s standing, and its body length is between fifty to sixty centimeters. This fox has tawny fur with black on its legs, ears, and almost its whole face. The adaptation for this fox is its small teeth (that differs from any other canid). This allows a diet for feeding on insects that make up eighty-percent of all its meals. Three characteristics that the bat-eared fox has are nocturnal, hyper-protective of their families, and escaping rather than fighting.
The bat-eared fox thrives because it seems that rare that any animal seems to threaten it, and also there are enough insects out there to eat. The only parts of the world you can find these foxes in a large population are only in the countries of South and Eastern Africa. In addition, you can also find them in smaller groups in Namibia, Botswana, and Western Africa, southern and western parts of Zimbabwe. There are only two remaining main populations still thriving today.
Bat-eared foxes may usually be monogamous (two females with one male, but only mating one at a time). They breed annually in dens that they build. A female may have up to five pups varying how many will survive. Maturing may take five to six months until the pups are fully grown and considered as adults. Even though there are only two main populations, we are not concerned about their species, therefore, the bat-eared fox is considered as an average growing species in the population.
Currently, there are no contributions that are helping this population of bat-eared foxes to increase. The bat-eared fox’s role in the food-web is to eat insects. It is said that they follow herds of zebras and antelopes so that they can feed on the insects falling in the animals’ excrements (poop). The bat-eared fox also eats fruits and any small animal it can find. A helpful tool it uses to find its prey is by using its very sensitive keen sense of smell. An example use of this “keen sense” is that the fox locates a scent of a beetle from the surface and then digs for the little insect for a good tasty meal, which is considered to be their diet when they cannot find a small animal or fruit.
It also appears that the bat-eared fox does not compete for food with any organism, but if it does, it may just be against another one of its kind. Another thing, the bat-eared fox happens to have predators (sort of), unless you call a diurnal bird that was killing the fox, but not eating it. Yet even people who live in Botswana also kill it for its pelts, but rarely. So the only defense the bat-eared fox has against humans and birds is its natural speed. However, the younger ones such as cubs lack this speed. So only the young are killed by these “active” birds.
The facts that I found that stood out in my research are the fox’s role in the food web. It’s because it just seems very odd how these foxes don’t mind eating the insects on top of the animal waste (poop). Another thing is that these foxes can be monogamous. Having a male to mate twice seems hard because imagine how the male would have to help find food for his family twice in a lifetime! And one thing that I learned about this animal is that birds in the dry areas of Africa actually attack young bat-eared foxes. I always thought the only predators of foxes were humans! But now that just changed everything.
Author: Erryl F.
Sources: "ADW: Otocyon megalotis: Information." Animal Diversity Web. 01 Feb. 20SS http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Otocyon_megalotis.html>. "Bat-eared Fox -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 01 Feb. 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otocyon_megalotis>. "BBC - Science & Nature - Wildfacts - Bat-eared fox." BBC - Homepage. 01 Feb. 2009 http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/159.shtml>. Clutton-Brock, Juliet. Dog. Grand Rapids: Dorling Kindersley, Incorporated, 2000. (Pgs 13 & 26)