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Malayan Flying Fox

Pteropus vampyrus

Malayan Flying Fox

Description

One of the world’s largest bats, the Malayan flying fox can attain a wing-span of over six feet and weight of well over 2.5 pounds. Overall color is gray brown to black, while the fox-like head is usually reddish black or russet, becoming deep gold or orange rather suddenly during the breeding season. The back is black with scattered white hairs.

Distribution and Habitat

The Malayan flying fox is found throughout much of continental and insular Southeast Asia, as well as the Indonesian archipelago. It roosts in mangrove forests and coconut groves from sea level up to 4,265 feet.

Diet

Although its species name may suggest otherwise, the Malayan flying fox is a strict vegetarian that feeds on fruits, flowers,nectar, pollen, leaves.

Reproduction

All females within a roost tend to give birth at about the same time. Although birth peaks vary geographically and seasonally, most births occur from February to May. A single pup (twins on rare occasions) is born after a gestation period of about 180 days. The pup is carried for the first few days, after which it is left in the roost tree while the mother forages for food. It will be weaned at 3-4 months, and reaches sexual maturity at 18-24 months. The Malayan flying fox is believed to live up to 30 years in the wild.

Other Behaviors

These flying foxes roost in noisy groups of a few dozen to thousands in emergent trees that rise above the forest canopy. They leave roost trees near sunset in a loose stream and may fly nightly up to 30 miles to reach their feeding grounds. In feeding areas they separate into family or feeding groups of a few to 50. Territorial behavior, i.e. spreading wings, swinging and growling may be used to discourage other bats from landing on an especially good tree; the presence of flowers on trees seems to promote this behavior. They eat and rest in the fruit trees and return to the day roost at dawn.

Scientific Classification

Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Mammalia
Order Chiroptera
Family Pteropodidae
Genera & Species Pteropus vampyrus

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This page was last updated on June 18, 2017.