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Fruit Bat - Interesting Facts
The Fruit Bat is often confused for other species of bats. They look very common but it is their variations in size that get them mistaken. In some areas the Fruit Bat is about 16 inches long. Yet when you compare it to other areas where they are only 2 inches long you can see why people don’t think they are the same species. They also vary in weight – as much as 2 pounds or as little as 2 ounces.
The wingspan for the Fruit Bat is one that is very wide. They can be out to about 5 feet. They have very large eyes, small ears, and small feet. They are also called the Flying Fox in many regions, and so many people think that is a separate species from the Fruit Bat. They are one and the same, and all fall into the category of Megabats.
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What is ironic is that the Fruit Bat has the best vision of all bat species. Yet when you see them land you would assume they are blind! They don’t have the ability to land on their feet like birds do because their feet are small and simplistic. As a result of this they end up crashing into branches and bushes to help them slow down and stop. They don’t get hurt doing this but it can be funny to watch.
Only one sub species of the Fruit Bat relies on echolocation to help them find prey. The rest use their vision and their excellent sense of smell to be able to find what they are looking for. They have teeth that are sharp so that they can get through the thick skin of the fruits they consume. They also have a tongue that is very long – you won’t be able to see it unless they are eating though. Otherwise it rolls up and sits below their ribs.
In different habitats, the shape of the wings for the Fruit Bat will also be varied. They will rely on this customization to help them make the most of their environment. The wing shape assists with reducing factors including the wind in given locations. Of the 1,100 species of bats, many researchers find the Fruit Bat to be the most unique and the most interesting to study.
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We have found very few fossil remains of any species of bats. As a result it does make exploring the evolution of any given species difficult. The main theory for the Fruit Bat is that they were struggling to find enough food to live on with insects and bugs. This could have been due to many bat species around or changes in the environment. As a result they began feeding on the fruits that grew around them so that they could survive.
There is no solid evidence in regards to such evolution events though that can give it merit. Until such solid evidence can be found though the theories about evolution will continue to be put out there. Hopefully one day the answers will be found and the evolution process for the Fruit Bat will no longer be a mystery.
Fruit Bat Video
For the Fruit Bat the use of their wide wingspan also helps them when they aren’t flying. When they roost they wrap them body up in the wings. This helps them to feel secure and it also helps them to stay warm. They live in very large colonies and it is believed the more members they have the less stress they have. They get a sense of security from having so many others around them.
Organization plays a big role inside of the habitat for the Fruit Bat. Each of these large colonies have sub areas where there is as many as 8 females and then 1 male. They will socialize with others but mainly within those of this sub unit. It is believed that the bonds they create there are very strong.
These bats spend their time either eating, grooming, socializing, or sleeping. They are very interested in staying clean and will spend long periods of time grooming their fur. They can be seen splashing water on themselves and using their tongue to clean up. It is believed they get sticky from the fruits and so they want to wash it off.
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Habitat and Distribution
The Fruit Bat is found throughout locations of the world. They typically are found in areas that have thick forests and lots of fruit. They like to be close to water and that makes sense. There has to be water in order for the plants and trees that grow fruit to be plentiful. They need warmer climates not so much for their body but so that they always have access to food.
They will typically stay in the same roost from the time they are born until they die. However, they may have to travel long distances during certain periods of the year in order to find food. This can make for an exhausting trip as they will still return to that same roost again after feeding. Where they find food changes with the growth patterns of the fruits.
They may roost in caves or just very high up in the trees. They like it to be dark when they roost so they will move into the thicker areas of the forest to do so. They need lots of sleep so they will try to find a quiet location where they aren’t disrupted or at risk of predators.
Diet and Feeding Habits
Researchers have identified hundreds of different fruits that these bats are able to feed on. They are adaptable to the environment and will take what they are able to get. They don’t eat all of the fruit though so they do have to consume lots of it to be full. They crush the fruit with their teeth and consume the nectar that is inside of it.
Fruit Bat Video
Mating occurs within the sub units of the colony. The females with give birth to one offspring about six months after mating occurs. They are completely dependent on her for the first six weeks of life. At that time their wings are strong enough for them to fly and they will go find their own food. Then they move to another area of the larger colony.
The Fruit Bat has some concerns with natural predators but not too a point that their existence is threatened. Eagles and hawks seem to be the biggest problem for them. These are skilled hunters that learn the locations of the Fruit Bats and wait for them to leave the roost. In the trees they may have problems with squirrels or snakes from time to time.
Humans can be a problem for Fruit Bats too. Those in a residential setting don’t want these bats consuming fruit from their trees. Large plantations of fruit trees have concerns because colonies of Fruit Bats can destroy their crops. They often use chemicals, traps, and netting to reduce the risk of that happening. As a result many bats get killed while they are trying to get to food sources in these locations.