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Zach at the Zoo: Meet the Bat-Eared Fox

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jul 11, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In this week's edition of Zach at the Zoo, we are better introduced to Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium's bat-eared fox family. Big ears run in the family!

  • A male and female were born two months ago and are quickly growing up.
  • They are well-known for their five inch ears that they use to their advantage in their natural habitat.
  • VIDEO: We get to check them out during feeding time.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

This week’s animal is ‘ear’-resistable.

“So these guys are called bat-eared foxes for a reason. These kits and adults are all ears," Supervisor of Dome Animals & Birds Kendal Davis said. "Even at just two months, they’re all ears and legs we like to say”

Those five-inch ears play several roles in their habitat in Africa

“They’re full of blood vessels. So, what these blood vessels do is they can use them to release that heat and stay cool on the warm or hot days,” Davis continued.

“Obviously, with big ears you probably have pretty good hearing. 70 percent of their diet is termites. With these big ears, they are honing in on insects on the ground. So they’re going to use those ears sort of like telescoping.”

For nine-year-old female Ruaha and seven-year-old male Solstice, life has been a bit different lately.

“We just had kits born two months ago. So it’s been really exciting for us to watch them grow here at the zoo,” Davis said.

“When they’re born, they’re just teeny, little nuggets and are born with their eyes and ears closed. Those eyes and ears open within 7-10 days, and within like two weeks, once they learn to get their feet under them, they’re starting to explore and leave the nest already.”

Mom has done most of the hard work, but it’s dad’s job to get them up to speed from here.

“The male takes part in protecting the den and searching for food," Davis told us. "Once the kits are old enough to leave then den, he will teach them to hunt, and play, and interact.”

The parents have been great partners – and it’s true love for these soulmates.

“This species is actually monogamous. They pair up, they mate for life — it’s even said to have been observed in the wild that when one of them passes on they stay alone for that time. They’re just committed to their partner.”

Eventually these two kits will leave Omaha with the hopes of pairing up with a mate of their own at another zoo.

In the meantime – you can see the family of four for yourself inside the Desert Dome.