The Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis) is a canid of the African savanna, named for its large ears. Fossil records show this canid to first appear during the middle Pleistocene, about 800,000 years ago.
The Bat-eared Fox has tawny fur with black ears, legs and parts of the pointed face. It averages 55 cm in length (head and body), with ears 13 cm long. It is the only species in the genus Otocyon. The name Otocyon is derived from the Greek words "oto" for ear and "cyon" for dog.
The teeth of the Bat-eared Fox are much smaller than teeth of other canid species. This is an adaptation to its insectivorous diet, insects making up as much as 80% of its food intake. The Bat-eared Fox visits termite hills, follows locust swarms and stays close to herds of zebras or antelopes in order to feed on the insects landing on their excrement. In addition to insects, the Bat-eared Fox eats rodents, birds and eggs, and sometimes fruits. Most of its water intake comes from the food it eats.
Bat-eared Foxes are mostly nocturnal animals that live in small groups consisting of mated pairs and their young. The pairs live in dens and typically raise two to five pups together. Mated pairs are very social and are monogamous, although it is unknown if they mate for life.
Due to its unusual teeth, the Bat-eared Fox was once considered as a distinct subfamily of canids (Otocyoninae). However, according to more recent examinations, it is more closely related to the true foxes of the genus Vulpes.Other research places the genus as an outgroup which is not very closely related to foxes. The Bat-eared Fox is an old species that was widely distributed in the Pleistocene era. In that time, it even lived in parts of West and South Asia.