Hunting Bat-Eared Fox in Africa

Hunting Bat-Eared Fox in Africa

The bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) is a member of the fox family that is found in Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of Tanzania.  Hunting for  bat-eared fox in Africa is normally done in conjunction with a plains game safari.  The bat-eared fox lives on insects and uses its large ears to locate its prey.  Termites make up 90% of its diet, but it will eat ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, small mammals, and other insects.  The bat=eared fox’s food can provide all of its water needs, although the fox will drink regularly if water is available.

The bat-eared fox is 18 to 25 inches in length, weighs six to eleven pounds and lives a monogamous existence.  It is also called the big-eared fox, black-eared fox, or Delalande’s fox.  These foxes are unique in that rather than hunt mammals like other members of the fox family, they live on insects.  They use their large ears to locate insects under the ground and dig them up.  The teeth of the bat-eared fox are much smaller than teeth of other fox species.  They evolved these teeth as an adaptation to their insect diet.

In the northern areas of its range the bat-eared fox is nocturnal.  Around South Africa they are nocturnal in the summer and diurnal in the winter which allows a hunter to hunt bat-eared fox in Africa during the day.  Although they are heavily hunted for their soft, thick fur, the bat-eared fox population is not threatened.  They are sometimes shot by farmers who don’t realize the bat-eared fox doesn’t prey on farm animals, and is actually helpful in insect predation.

Male and female bat-eared foxes form life-long relationships.   Gestation is 60-75 days, and the female gives birth to one to six kits.  The young are weaned after six weeks, but begin eating insects at four weeks, and are full sized by six months of age. Male bat-eared foxes aid in raising the kits.  Survival rates for the kits is low, mostly due to predators.  Lifespan in the wild is unknown, but captive foxes have lived for fifteen years.  It’s doubtful that bat-eared foxes live to half that age in the wild.

Predators like the hyenas, or large birds hunt bat-eared fox in Africa.  If a fox is caught, other foxes will attempt to rescue it by attacking the predator.  They will rush in and attempt to drive the attacker off by biting its ankle.

Hunting bat-eared fox in Africa will be done primarily by opportunity when stalking other game. Bat-eared foxes are also hunted at night while using a spotlight, or may be called into range by using a predator call.  A small caliber rifle is preferred, but should you be out for plains game, and you want to hunt bat-eared fox in Africa, you would have to use whatever rifle you have with you.  In order not to ruin the hide, the best area for the shot would be center chest.  Hitting bone with a medium caliber bullet would make the taxidermist’s job much more difficult.