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Straw-Colored Fruit Bats

Classification
  • Order: Chiroptera
  • Family: Pteropodidae
  • Genus: Eidolon
  • Species: helvum
Fun Fact

Over 8 million straw-colored fruit bats migrate to Kasanka National Park in Zambia in November each year. This migration is the largest mammal migration in the world.

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About Straw-colored Fruit Bats

The straw-colored fruit bat is not entirely straw colored. Their neck and back are a yellowish-brown color, while their underside is tawny olive or brownish. This is one of the larger species of fruit bats. Their wings are long and narrow which allows them to fly long distances without having to continually flap their wings.

This species of bat is a very social, roosting species. They tend to roost in groups of 100,000-1,000,000 individuals! At night the colony leaves the roost in small groups in search of food, which is usually in nearby forests or plantations. They find their food by sight, as well as smell. They have been observed chewing on soft wood, probably for the moisture. Because they eat fruits and flowers, they play a very important role in pollination and seed dispersal of the forests. Even though they feed at night, they can be active during the day as they move about the roost. These bats will use the same food sources from season to season. They can be quite harmful to crops, since they live in very large colonies and roost near their food source.

Predators of this species include owls, eagles, snakes, buzzards and civets. Humans are known to consume these bats in Zaire and West Africa.

Straw-colored Fruit Bats in the Wild

Habitat

Found in most forests, and savanna zones south of the Sahara.

Location

Widespread throughout Africa and Madagascar

Diet

Various fruits and occasionally blossoms.

Population Status

Straw-colored bats were recently listed as “near threatened” on IUCN's Red List due to a trend in decreasing population size.

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