Getting to Know Bat-Eared Foxes
One of the rarely-spotted but much-loved mammals to call Melozhori Private Game Reserve home is the bat-eared fox. In this blog post, we are excited to introduce you to these intriguing and adorable creatures, highlighting their interesting characteristics and behaviours.
Appearance and Unique Features
Bat-eared foxes are small, nocturnal creatures with a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from their counterparts. Their name derives from their extraordinary large ears, resembling bat wings, which not only provide acute hearing but also help dissipate heat. With their black facial masks and expressive eyes, these tiny canids never fail to capture the hearts of visitors.
Social Behaviour and Communication
Don’t let their cute appearance fool you; bat-eared foxes have a complex social structure. They live in small family groups, usually consisting of a monogamous pair and their offspring. Cooperation is the key as they work together to protect their territories and forage for food. They communicate through a range of vocalizations, from soft purrs to high-pitched calls, ensuring effective communication within their tight-knit community.
Remarkable Diet and Foraging Techniques
Bat-eared foxes have an incredibly diverse and unique diet. They typically hunt in small groups, splitting up in pairs to cover the same general area. These cunning creatures primarily feed on insects, particularly termites, which make up most of their meals. With their keen hearing and exceptional digging skills, they excavate termite mounds, revealing their appetite for these tiny treats. Additionally, they also feast on small rodents, birds and eggs.
Like many other inhabitants of the Melozhori, bat-eared foxes prefer to roam and hunt during the cooler hours of the night. Their nocturnal nature helps them avoid the higher daytime temperatures and potential predators. During the daylight hours, they mostly hide out in their self-dug dens or in the shade under a tree. Night-time game drives can be arranged with management prior to your stay, simply get in touch with a friendly member of staff.
Raising Their Young
Bat-eared foxes have a gestation period of approximately 60 days, with a litter of 1 – 6 cubs. Cubs (sometimes also called kits) are born between the months of September and December, and both mum and dad own their share of parenting responsibilities. The cubs are weaned at about 15 weeks and typically leave their family groups at 6 months of age.
Experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat is an opportunity like no other, and Melozhori Private Game Reserve invites you to get to know bat-eared foxes and the many other fascinating creatures that call this reserve home. To stand a (slim) chance of viewing them for yourself, be sure to book your stay with us under two hours from Cape Town. We look forward to welcoming you soon!