Total length 75 - 90 cm; tail 23 - 34 cm; shoulder height 35 cm; mass 3 - 5 kg
This small jackal-like carnivore has slender legs, a sharp-pointed, fairly long muzzle and disproportionately large ears. The ears may reach a length of 14 cm and are dark at the back, particularly at the tip; the insides of the ears are white or light in colour. The body is covered in fairly long, silvery-grey hair with a distinctly grizzled appearance and the legs are black. The tail is bushy and black above and at the tip. Although the front of the face is generally black, a light or white band runs across the forehead to the base of the ears.
Open country, such as short scrub and grassveld and sparsly wooded areas. Absent from mountains, dense woodland and forest.
Both nocturmal and diurnal behaviour have been recorded. It lies up during the hotter hours of the day. It is an active digger but although it will excavate its own burrows, it frequently modifies those dug by other species. It is normally seen in groups numbering from 2-6 individuals. As pairs mate for life, the composition of groups usually consist of a pair and their offspring. Occasionally more may be seen but such groupings are temporary, perhaps associated with an abundant, localized food source. When foraging it appears to wander aimlessly, stopping periodically with ears turned to the ground; when food is located digs shallow holes with the forepaws
Mostly insects (particularly termites) and other invertebrates; also reptiles, rodents and wild fruits.