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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bat-eared Foxes in Maasai Mara

The Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis) is a bit of an odd-ball.
Most of the bigger carnivores in East Africa - felines and canids - are, well, predators. They hunt for antelopes, zebras, wildebeests or the occasional rodent.

Not the Bat-eared Fox. He's just as much of an odd ball as the Aardwolf, that's actually a Hyena. Both Bat-eared Fox and Aardwolf don't hunt for the big game. They hunt for the tiny critters like termites, bugs and other insects. I did not see the Aardwolf unfortunately. Only once I saw the Bat-eared Fox in the distance. But unmistakeable a Bat-eared Fox. The tuffed foxtail and the big bat ears make sure you won't misidentify this one. That's why the Dutch call him Grootoorvos; big eared fox.

With those big ears they can hear bugs up to about 12 cm under the sand. You see the 2 foxes in the photo foraging, head down. Listening for bugs under the soil.

For those who like the biological details:
Click a link and you'll go to the Flickr photo page for that rank in the biological classification. Or have a look in the 'Find wildlife photos' menu item on the left.

Phylum: Chordata; Vertebrates / Gewervelden
Class: Mammalia; Mammals / Zoogdieren
Order: Carnivora; Carnivores / Carnivoren
Suborder: Caniformia; Canines, Bears, Seals, Weasels / Honden, Beren, Zeehonden, Marterachtigen
Family: Canidae; Canids / Hondachtigen
Subfamily: Caninae; Canids / Hondachtigen
Genus: Otocyon; Bat-eared Foxes / Grootoorvossen
Species: Otocyon megalotis; Bat-eared Fox / Grootoorvos

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