Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BAT-EARED FOXES


These cute little foxes live in Africa, just like my distant basenji cousins.  Except that bat-eared foxes live in different parts of Africa than where the basenjis usually live, so they probably do not belong to the same country clubs or otherwise hang out together.








Bat-eared foxes got their name because they have these gigantic ears, as you can see from the pictures.  Their fancy scientific name is Otocyon megalotis, and they are the only animals in the Otocyon genus.  The name of this genus comes from two Greek words, oto for "ear," and cyon for "dog."  These foxes have been around for a very long time, like probably for 800,000 years or so.  They used to also live in western and southern Asia, but now they are only in Africa.





A very pointy termite hill
The thing that bat-eared foxes most like to eat is insects.  Almost 80% of their diet is insects.  They get these insects from termite hills and locust swarms and also by following zebras and antelopes around to eat the insects that land on their poop.  Other yummy things that bat-eared foxes sometimes eat are rodents, lizards, scorpions, birds, eggs, and fruit.





Because they eat mostly insects, bat-eared foxes have teeth that are very different from regular foxes' teeth, and that is why they are in the genus Otocyon instead of the genus Vulpes, which is the family other foxes are in.  For a while, scientists thought that bat-eared foxes were not even related to true foxes, but now they think they are probably very distant cousins.




Bat-eared foxes are about 15 inches tall, and their bodies are about 20 inches long.  They usually weigh between 6 and 10 pounds.  They like to sleep during the day and then go out hunting at night.  The foxes can scan the ground with their big ears, and whenever they hear bugs hiding there, they dig them up and eat them.  Bat-eared foxes live in small family groups in dens, with the mama and papa fox and their pups.  Usually there are between 2 and 5 pups in a litter.





A bat-eared fox snoozing at the KC Zoo
There are lots of bat-eared foxes, so we don't have to worry about them becoming extinct any time soon.  We even have some bat-eared foxes in the zoo here in Kansas City, so Mom has seen them in person, but I haven't because dogs are not allowed in the zoo.  Which is sad, because I think it would be fun to meet a real live fox from Africa!

6 comments:

  1. Another reason I need to visit the zoo! I don't think I've heard of these bat-eared foxes...so I found your blog very interesting. I'm also impressed with the termite hills...that's some large hills made by such small insects...I guess they're insects. Before I close - I apologize for mis-spelling the breed ViZsla in an e-mail to your mom last night...I don't know how or why I did that! Thanks for today's blog.
    Love, AP

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  2. Dear Piper,
    I was SOO impatient yesterday for your next blog buthen I realized that rushing you isn't such a good idea! So this blog is very interesting and I think the foxes are cute, too it is just that I wish their ears weren't that huge and their face kind of looks like a pug's, I wish they looked as beautiful as you! Sadly, I can't change nature, and neither can anyone else! I hope you write a blog tomorrow!
    Love,
    Tas
    P.S. Last time you said you wanted to write about how much you loved food, do you know that humans and dogs can't digest corn? I bet you already know this since you are such a smart dog but take this as a reminder, since corn is in dog food a lot of dogs get diarhhea with blood!(YIKES!!!) but that is only for sled dogs because almost EVERY dog food has corn so if you feed a sled dog some brand of dog food, and then they pull a heavy sled, their intestines will start being squeezed together while the corn is going down and since the corn is sharp, it will act like tiny knives and they cut through the intestines and the the dog starts bleeding and having yeah... you know the rest since it will be the second time... any ways I hope you don't decide to pull something heavy!!!

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  3. Dear Aunt Patty,
    My mom says everybody should go to the zoo sometimes to see the interesting animals. Of course, it's sort of sad that the animals can't live in the wild, but the zoo tries to give them a nice place to live in and take good care of them.

    Mom did not even notice that you misspelled vizsla last night because she never remembers how to spell it anyway. Those Hungarians sure had funny names for their dog breeds! Ha!

    Love, Piper

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  4. Dear Tas,
    I am sorry I didn't have a blog entry yesterday, but you can blame it all on my mom because she was really busy Monday and couldn't help me do the research for my blog. I wish I could just do everything by myself, but I have to get a little help from her, so when she doesn't have time to help me, I am kind of stuck. There will be a blog entry tomorrow, though, so you will have that to read.

    Mom doesn't feed us any dog food with corn, wheat, or soy in it. My brother Gabe was allergic to corn and also to wheat. My brother Barry is allergic to wheat and soy. I knew that corn wasn't a very good thing to put in dog food, but I didn't know that it could actually hurt your insides. But don't worry about me because I never eat any corn, and also I would never pull anything heavy because I am way too lazy to do that! LOL

    Love, Piper

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  5. Dear Piper,
    It is really nice when you leave comments it is like I got an autograph and I know I told you this already but I still can't get over that feeling! Anyway, there are really cute pictures on Google type in Adorable puppies and you'll see some pictures that'll just melt your hear (not litterally) They are pretty adorable I bet you looked adorable to as a puppy!!! :D
    Love,
    Tas

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