About Rodrigues Fruit Bats
Rodrigues fruit bats are one of 60 bat species often referred to as "flying foxes.” They get this nickname from their dog-like faces, large eyes and widespread ears. Rodrigues fruit bats are covered with thick, brownish-black fur and have gold fur on their neck, head and shoulders. These large bats have a wingspan of about three feet, a length of five to seven inches and usually weigh less than one pound. Males are generally larger than females, but otherwise, it is difficult to differentiate between sexes.
Rodrigues fruit bats are crepuscular, meaning they are active at sunset and sunrise. These bats are social animals, living in colonies. Females roost in groups while males often roost by themselves. A dominance hierarchy has been observed among males, who will mark their territory by rubbing their heads, necks and shoulders on branches
Flying foxes are members of a subfamily known as “megabats,” or Megachiroptera, which are large, frugivorous bats. Unlike smaller bat species, megabats have simple external ears and cannot use echolocation to search for food. Instead, they use their eyesight and sense of smell to find fruit, which they grab and hold with their large thumbs while they eat. These bats will then eat the fruit by taking a bite and crushing the fruit between their tongues and the ridged upper palate of their mouths. Bats will then swallow the juice and soft pulp and spit out the hard pulp, seeds and skin. In spitting out and dispersing these seeds, bats are helping to re-plant the rainforest.
Rodrigues Fruit Bat at the Akron Zoo
The Rodrigues fruit bats share a habitat with the straw-colored fruit bats in our nocturnal animal building, located in Legends of the Wild.
- Wayne – male, born April 24, 1997
- Garth – male, born April 8, 1998