Critter Science

The Science of Animals

flying fox

Australia’s Giant Flying Fox

Winning the title for the world’s largest bat species, it’s the flying fox. There are more than 60 known species of these bats living in Asia, Australia, Africa, and various Pacific islands. Fossil records show they first evolved from prehistoric giant bats at least 35 million years ago! They may look scary but they’re just harmless flying mammals looking for fruit.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Pteropus
Weight: Up to 2.1 lbs.
Height: Up to 13 inches
Wingspan: Up to 5 feet
Lifespan: Up to 17 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) They eat mostly fruits, flowers, leaves, nectar, and pollen.

2.) They are considered pests by farmers as they tend to do a bit of damage to their crops.

3.) Unlike other bats that use a high pitched sound to echo-locate their food, these bats lack that ability. They have de-evolved the sonar ability due to their diets. They don’t need to echo-locate fruit after all.

4.) Bat colonies can be as large as over 200,000! That’s some party.

5.) During the daylight hours flying foxes come together in groups called camps. These camps are quite noisy.

But wait, there’s more on the flying fox!

6.) Flying foxes mate while hanging upside down. Talk about a tricky act.

7.) Since it gets hot in their native habitats, they will flap their wings while they rest and will also lick their bodies to keep themselves cool.

Did you know…?
In 1930 a group of scientists discovered a group of these bats that was over 4 miles long that contained an estimated 30,000,000 bats!

8.) Since a newborn can’t fly for several weeks, mom will carry her baby with her as she flies.

9.) These bats are also important pollinators. As they graze for fruit, they also help to pollinate flowers and their droppings help to disperse seeds.

10.) It is believed that they have made their way to Madagascar by island hopping.

Now a Short Flying Fox Video!

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Critter Man

With over 41 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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