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Sounds of the Bat-Eared Fox

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Sounds of the Bat-Eared Fox 2017-05-17T06:48:43+00:00

Resembles a small, fluffy dog with thin legs and huge ears. The neck and body are cream-coloured brown, heavily grizzled with silvery grey. The muzzle is narrow, black on top and on the lower jaw. The top of the head is black and the sides of the muzzle and the forehead are white. The ears are huge: up to 13 cm high, dark brown on the back. The legs are black and slim, with small feet. Each foot has five toes of which four mark in the spoor; the front feet have long claws for digging. The tail is very bushy, black on top and at the tip. Females have two pairs of nipples on the belly. Average shoulder height 30cm. Total length 82cm, tail 28 cm, weight 3,6 kg.

The main habitat requirement is the presence of harvester termites, which make up a large part of the diet. Short grassland, grassland with bare ground, open woodland with sparse ground cover. Overgrazing improves the habitat for bat-eared foxes by increasing the number of termites.

Active during the day in winter and at night in summer. Not active during the heat of the day in summer and the cold of the night in winter. Shelters in disused aardvark or springhare holes, or digs its own burrows.

Prey is located by sound and smell. Underground prey is located precisely by holding the ears close to the ground, and is dug up with the front feet. Large insects are crushed with repeated quick snaps of the jaws, small rodents are bitten in the head, and swallowed in chunks, or nearly whole. They live in mated pairs which stay together for life. Family groups of a pair with up to four pups can be seen. They forage individually for scattered prey and in pairs or threes for concentrated prey. Both parents protect, groom and bring food for the pups. Bat-eared foxes are very playful, playing with objects such as sticks and feathers or with each other.