Bat-eared Fox Kits Born at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. – Three bat-eared fox kits were born at Brookfield Zoo on March 23. Following their birth the two females and one male, named Helen, Jane, and Edward, remained in their den for several weeks. Now, guests visiting their habitat at the Desert’s Edge exhibit can see the kits wrestling, playing, and running around together.

This is the first litter for the parents, 7-year-old Stella and 10-year-old Pombe. Pombe arrived at Brookfield Zoo in spring 2018 based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Bat-eared Fox Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

A unique characteristic of the bat-eared fox is its large ears, which measure more than 5 inches tall. The ears give the fox a great sense of hearing that they use to find insects, which is a large percentage of its diet. At the zoo, when animal care specialists provide insects to the foxes during the day, guests may notice the animals rotate their ears to locate and then sometimes dig to find their tasty treat. An adult bat-eared fox can measure between 18 to 26 inches and weigh between 7 and 12 pounds.

Currently, the kits at the zoo weigh between 3 and 3.5 pounds. Native to eastern and southern Africa, the species live in open grasslands. They are not considered endangered and are sometimes hunted for their fur or because they are perceived as a threat to livestock.


About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


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