Bat Eared Fox: Hounded by Humans, Again?
Named for its trademark large ears, these diminutive but powerful predators have been around for thousands of years. Recently, however, a growing human population has threatened to encroach upon their natural territory and take away their habitats.
How Nikela Helps
Although Nikela does not have a project that directly protects the Bat Eared Fox many awareness campaigns address the plight of Africa’s endangered and threatened wildlife species as a whole. Actually Nikela is for preserving all wild things and their wild places.
Facts about the Bat Eared Fox
The Bat eared fox is made up of two distinct subpopulations. One of them commonly occurs in eastern African, while the other is in southern Africa. Both populations reside in grasslands and thrive in barren climates.
In addition to having the bat-like features for which it is named, such as a pointed face and long ears, the bat-eared fox has fur with a color that ranges from pale yellow to brown, with a black muzzle, legs, and ears. Their considerably large ears enable the foxes to communicate and locate prey. To escape from their predators, they rely on their incredible speed and dodging abilities. The bat eared fox is also known for its teeth, which are smaller than those of any other species of their kind. Though small, these teeth are pointed, allowing the bat-eared fox to better digest what they eat.
While their diet is made primarily of insects, bat-eared foxes have been known to pursue small mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles. Over 70 percent of their diet, however, is harvester termites. Bat-eared foxes typically consume termites or other arthropods, such as moths, scorpions, crickets, and grasshoppers. They dig holes in order to forage for their prey. Most of the foxes’ water intake comes from the food they eat, obtained from the bodily fluids of the insects.
Behavior and Social Groups
The bat-eared fox is mostly nocturnal, resting during the day in self-dug burrows. In parts of South Africa, they are nocturnal in the summer and diurnal during the winter. While male members of the species typically stay with the cubs to nurture the litter after they are born, performing tasks such as grooming, huddling, defending, and moving the pups between each den site. Females, on the other hand, forage for food. Mated pairs are social and often monogamous. Couples that mate typically stay mated for life, raising two to five pups together. Typically, these animals have a lifespan of up to thirteen years.
Bat eared foxes are currently losing space to humans, who build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads on their territory. The bat-eared fox is also threatened by the trade in their skins. Today, it is a protected species and can be seen in game reserves throughout Africa.
Contributed by Nikela Volunteer Sanika Phadnis
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