Fruit bat facts

Written by lisa miller
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Fruit bat facts
Fruit bats are remarkable creatures. (Getty creative)

Fruit bats are remarkable and misunderstood creatures. This group of bats contains the largest bats in the world, as well as some of the smallest. Fruit bats are considered to be good luck in some cultures and bad omens in others. No matter how you feel about them, it is certain that fruit bats have captured people's imaginations for thousands of years.

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Types

There are two main types of fruit bats: Old World fruit bats and New World fruit bats. Old World fruit bats, such as flying foxes, are found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. New World fruit bats, such as leaf-nosed bats, are found in North and South America.

Habitat

Fruit bats can be found many different places on earth, but are generally found in warm, tropical climates. Because fruit bats eat primarily fruits, they make their home in place where a variety of fruits are abundant. Tropical rainforests are the most typical environments for these bats, although some are found in desert regions and temperate forests.

Size

Fruit bats have an enormous range of sizes. The Malayan Flying Fox is the largest bat in the world. Its wingspan measures around six feet across. The largest bat by weight is the Giant Golden Crowned Fruit Bat, which resides in the Philippines. The fruit bat family is also home to several very small species of bats. The several species of long-tongued fruit bats have a head and body length of only around five to six centimetres.

Diet

Fruit bats have been known to drink the nectar from flowers, and some seem to prefer this, but all have fruit in their diets. Fruit bats are not carnivores and will not eat insects. The teeth of fruit bats are specially designed for biting through the tough skins of fruit, and thus can eat some that other animals cannot. Fruit bats tend to prefer overripe fruit in general. The types of fruits the bats eat varies depending on the environments in which they live (fruit bats in Egypt, for example, will eat mostly dates and the Golden-capped fruit bat will survive almost entirely on figs), but most eat a variety of native and cultivated fruits.

Misconceptions

Despite the old saying is "blind as a bat," the fact is that fruit bats are not blind at all. In fact bats have decent vision, and some species can see just as well as humans can. Fruit bats even have colour vision.

Fruit bats are also excellent pollinators. Although many people consider insects to be the best at pollinating plants, fruit bats do an excellent job as well. Not only do they pollinate, but they also disperse seeds. According to Bat World sanctuary, it is estimated that around 95% of new rainforest regrowth is due to fruit bats dispersing seeds.

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