One of the worlds 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.
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.
Although its species name may suggest
otherwise, the Malayan flying fox is a strict
vegetarian that feeds on fruits, flowers,nectar,
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.
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.
Genera & Species Pteropus vampyrus
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