A Flying Fox, CC BY Horniman Museum and Gardens
Fruit bats, or ‘flying foxes’, with their small ears and big eyes are
the largest bat species in the world and can have a wingspan up to a jaw
dropping 1.5 m!
Imagine coming across them roosting in trees upside down in their hundreds or thousands! Fruit bats feed on nectar, blossoms, pollen, and fruit but unlike other bats they don’t echo locate their food.
They live in areas of countries along the equator including the sub-tropics of Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Australia, East Africa, and a number of remote oceanic islands in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Sadly, they are endangered because they are hunted by people for their meat and may be attacked if they feed on a farmer’s plantation. Some cultures believe eating the bats can cure asthma.
Things to think about:
- What kinds of things do you eat when you feel poorly?
- What other animals are endangered in the world because people believe their meat can be used as medicine?
- What can we do to protect these animals?
Michigan’s Museum of Natural History’s Cranbrook Institute of Science has a whole conservation zone just for bats. Have a look at their videos about caring for the bats and their habits here.
You can learn more about this collection object on The Horniman's website.
- A double-preparation of a Flying Fox bat, often used for teaching.
- Fruit bats, or ‘flying foxes’, with their small ears and big eyes are the largest bat species in the world and can have a wingspan up to a jaw dropping 1.5 m!