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Zoo Knoxville celebrates the birth of bat-eared fox
May 17, 2024; 5:12 p.m.

zoo knoxville bat eared fox
Five-week-old kit, named “Ziggy”, is starting to venture out of the den. Image by Zoo Knoxville

KNOXVILLE - Zoo Knoxville is excited to announce the birth of a bat-eared fox kit on April 11, 2024. The five-week-old kit, who has been christened “Ziggy”, has started to venture out of the den and explore under the watchful eyes of parents Fern and Motsumi (pronounced mot-SUE-mee).

"Ziggy is hitting all the appropriate developmental milestones and this is exactly when we would expect to see a kit start taking short forays out of the den," said Terry Canon, curator of mammals. "Since Ziggy is healthy and mom and dad are doing an excellent job caring for them, we have been keeping the den quiet and our interactions to a minimum to give them time to bond as a family. At this point, we don’t know if we have a male or female kit.”

Ziggy can often be seen early mornings and late afternoons when the Zoo is quiet as they get familiar with their habitat. Caregivers expect them to begin spending more time outdoors over the next few weeks. Bat-eared foxes live in family groups of mating pairs and their young, and males are very active in guarding, grooming, and playing with the kits. Caregivers report that father Fern has been very attentive and protective of Ziggy.

Bat-eared foxes are native to more than 10 African countries. They play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling termites-a single fox can eat more than 1.15 million termites each year. Bat-eared foxes are threatened by loss of habitat as human populations expand. Conservation groups are working with local communities to implement sustainable agriculture, reducing the amount of land needed, and mitigating human-wildlife conflict.

For more information about Zoo Knoxville and its conservation initiatives, please visit

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