Original Research

Foraging and feeding by bat-eared foxes Otocyon megalotis in the southwestern Kalahari

J.A.J. Nel
Koedoe | Vol 33, No 2 | a436 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v33i2.436 | © 1990 J.A.J. Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 September 1990 | Published: 23 September 1990

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J.A.J. Nel, University of Pretoria

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Abstract

Bat-eared foxes Otocyon megalotis feed in pairs or groups of three when utilizing clumped prey in patches, e.g. termites, and cover 0,87-1,28 km/h. When feeding on dispersed prey, e.g. insect larvae, they are widely spaced and cover 0,56-0,83 km/h. Food patches are never re-utilized on the same day. Patch size diameter varied from 6-30 m, and patches were 10 to > 100 m apart, while from 1,17 min to 15 min were spent in patches. There were no significant correlations between patch size and distance moved to next patch, or time spent in a patch and distance moved to next patch, or time spent in a patch and patch size. Patches were seldom (1,6 ) returned to immediately. A male and a female had similar numbers of feeding bouts per sampling period during winter or summer, but when accompanied by cubs the male fed less frequently. The male had significantly longer feeding bouts than the female in winter, with the reverse applying in summer. Within-sex comparisons show that the number of feeding bouts of the male did not vary significantly between winter and summer. Conversely the female showed significant differences in the number but not the duration of feeding bouts in winter and summer. Optimal foraging in this species probably relates to prey profitability, i.e. highest ingestion rate.

Keywords

foraging, feeding, bat-eared fox, Otocyon megalotis.

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