Giant Indian fruit bat
Habitat and Distribution: Found in tropical forests and swamps from the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Burma.
Size: About 12 inches long; 2-4 pounds; wing span over 4 feet. Males are larger than females.
Wild Diet: Fruit like mangos, guavas, figs, and bananas; also nectar from tree flowers.
Predators: Humans, snakes, and raptors
Lifespan: Up to 15 years in the wild; up to 30 years in zoos
Reproduction: Giant Indian fruit bats mate in the roost from July to October and do not form strong pair bonds. Females produce a single offspring after a gestation of 5 about months. The baby is well developed at birth, weighing about a third of its mother’s body weight, and clings to its mother's fur for the first few weeks of life, even when she flies from the roost to feed. The young bat nurses for 5 months and stays with its mother for about 8 months.
Behavior: Giant Indian fruit bats are arboreal and primarily nocturnal. During the daytime, they roost in tall trees in noisy, active colonies called "camps." At dusk, they leave the roost in groups to fly to a feeding site up to 30 miles away. To feed, they use their large, flat molars to chew a piece of fruit, push it against the roof of the mouth to extract the juice, then spit out any seeds, pulp or peels.
IUCN Status: Least Concern
The giant Indian fruit bat is widely distributed across a number of protected areas. Deforestation may someday pose a threat to this species as it lives and feeds almost exclusively in trees.
Did you know?
- This species is also known as an Indian flying fox because its large eyes, long snout, and pointed ears give it a fox-like appearance.
- Rather than relying on echolocation like smaller insect-eating bats, giant Indian fruit bats use their keen senses of sight and smell to navigate and find food.