Range:

Eastern and southern Africa

Habitat:

Dry, short-grass savannas and brush

Listen up!

The bat-eared fox is a small, African fox known for its enormous ears, which are over 5 inches (13 centimeters) tall. The ears are full of blood vessels that shed heat and help keep the fox cool; they also give the animal a very good sense of hearing.

Bat-eared foxes are sandy gray with lighter fur on the belly and darker fur around the eyes, muzzle, the back of the ears, feet, and tip of its long, bushy tail. The inside of the ears and a band across the forehead are white or buff.

At home on the savanna

In the short-grass savannas and scrublands of eastern and southern Africa, it’s not unusual to find groups of bat-eared foxes occupying the same area, something uncommon among other wild dog species. Their wide habitat range matches that of their favorite food, the harvester termite. Bat-eared foxes usually live in groups of 2 to 5 individuals that have overlapping territories of almost 200 acres (80 hectares).

Unlike other dog species, bat-eared foxes don't seem to mind sharing their territory. Up to 72 foxes have been recorded in 1 square mile (2.6 square kilometers).
The scientific name for the bat-eared fox is "Otocyon megalotis." It is from the Greek words “oto/Otis” (ear), “cyon” (dog), and “mega” (big) and basically means eared dog with big ears.
A male fox is called a dog, a female is a vixen, and babies are called kits.

The San Diego Zoo’s first bat-eared foxes arrived in 1965. Since then, over 20 pups have been born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Currently, the Zoo’s foxes can be seen in Africa Rocks; the Safari Park’s fox family shares an enclosure with a pair of warthogs in the African Outpost, as the two species would be found in the same habitat in the wild.

The Safari Park also has a bat-eared fox serving as an animal ambassador. Kusikia, whose name means to hear in Swahili, helps spread the word about her brethren in the wild and our conservation efforts around the globe. She has been on The Ricki Lake Show and local TV shows—anywhere she can help spread our conservation message. It’s a big job for a little superhero: she’s bat (eared) girl!

Fortunately, bat-eared foxes are fairly common in southern and eastern Africa. They are occasionally hunted for their pelts or killed because they are believed to be pests to young livestock.