15 Fruit Bats That Are More Fluffy Than Fierce
Bats. They're bloodthirsty, bloodsucking creatures, lurking in dark caves during the day and spreading rabies at night, right? No, not really. Vampire bats are a thing, but fruit bats are only a danger if you're an avocado.
If you are, contact Guinness immediately for being the largest piece of produce on record. If not, read on to bust some myths about these fluffy, flying friends.
Does This Look Like the Face of a Killer to You?
It's not. Vampire bats do drink blood, but fruit bats, not so much. While bats can carry diseases that are transmissible to humans, less than 1 percent of bats have rabies.
However, if a bat is behaving strangely or seems to be comfortable interacting with people, the odds are higher that they have rabies. Just give them their space, and you should be just fine.
What’s Up? Not Much. Just Hangin’ Out
Evolution is fascinating. The predecessors of fruit bats lived about 31 million years ago, and somehow, they evolved to continue sleeping upside down this entire time. Imagine hanging from your toes, and if you let go, you'd fall to your death.
So relaxing. Fortunately, it's much easier when you're a bat.
Spreading Rabies Would Be Easier If Someone Weren’t So Busy Snacking
Don't underestimate how much time it takes to be a foodie. Fruit bats eat mostly plant matter, mainly fruits, but pollen, nectar, flowers and leaves are all fair game.
Some bats can eat up to 2.5 times their own body weight every night. That would be like eating more than 200 pounds of food as a midnight snack.
Does This Kiwi With Wings Really Look Like a Threat?
How this face can strike fear into the hearts of men is a mystery.
They're clearly only interested in the bananas you picked up at the farmer's market.
This Fruit Bat Is Definitely Plotting Something, Though
Even the fruit bats secretly harboring evil aren't equipped to cause much chaos. The majority of fruit bats can't use echolocation like other bats. Since they don't need to catch prey, echolocation isn't necessary.
Most of them just use their sense of smell and sight to find food, so the evilest thing they can accomplish is demolishing an orchard.
Why Don’t We Come With a Built-In Blanket?
It's not fair that bats come equipped with this cutting-edge technology and we didn't. What a design flaw.
Bats typically roost in chilly, damp caves, so their built-in blankets come in handy. They wrap their wings around themselves like a creepy-looking, skin Snuggie, trapping air inside for insulation.
If a Lemur Could Fly, It Would Be a Fruit Bat
Fine, not really. It's missing a tail, and lemurs are completely different animals.
Still, bats have a reputation for being mice with wings, even though they're not. They're rodent-sized, but they're more closely related to primates than mice or rats.
It’s Not Their Fault Their Entire Body Looks Like an X-ray
Similar to birds, bats have very lightweight bones to enable flight. But that's where the similarities end.
Bird wings are made of feathers, while bat wings are like stretched-out human hands wrapped in a thin membrane of skin. It's called the patagium, and it allows bats to move their wings with as much flexibility as a hand.
Weird Looking Duck, Right?
One would think that bats, particularly large fruit bats, wouldn't be able to swim. As it turns out, they can.
They're not bad at it, either, but they avoid it whenever possible.
Snack Time. Again.
There are tons of different families of fruit bats, but one family is hard to miss: the megabat family. This encompasses some of the biggest bats in the world, including the giant golden-crowned fruit bat. They weigh up to 3.5 pounds, which is huge by bat standards.
Their more impressive feat, however, is their wingspan, which can be up to 5.5 feet wide.
Mangoes Are Dobby’s Favorite
You can't deny that this little creature looks distinctly like a house elf. Fruit bats share Dobby's determined nature because, without it, they couldn't survive. Flying is a serious workout. Fruit bats use up to 20 times more oxygen during flight than at rest.
For humans, that level of exertion could only be sustained for a few minutes. Bats, however, have much larger lungs in proportion to their size, so they have much more endurance to match. They need it to help them fly long distances in search of tasty fruit.
That Awkward Moment You Get Caught Having a Midnight Snack
Oh, hi. Didn't think you were still up. Maybe this fruit bat is eating for two. It's a possibility even if the bat is a male.
While females are the only ones who carry their young, the males of some fruit bat species can produce milk, too. This allows them to be more active participants in raising their pups.
Just Going to Rest Our Eyes for a Minute
Most fruit bats are nocturnal, and they rarely sleep alone. Most of them gather in roosts, ranging from groups of just a few to roosts of several-thousand bats.
Bats also form social groups during their pregnancies. Usually, pregnant females leave their original roost and form nursery roosts with other expecting bat moms. It's like the bat version of a mom support group at the park.
Just Kidding! That Was a Test. I'm Not Even Tired.
Bats are nocturnal, and while many bat species do have echolocation skills, the rumor that bats are blind is totally false. Bats have perfectly good vision, and large fruit-eating bats can see up to three times better than people can.
The only reason echolocation is a thing is that they typically search for food at night in very dimly lit conditions.
LOL, I Lied. Wake Me Up at Sundown
These cute, fluffy flyers live on every continent besides Antarctica, and there are 166 confirmed fruit bat species. Because of their widespread distribution, fruit bats have become a part of human culture. Nicknamed "flying foxes," the Asmat people of Indonesia even believed fruit bats offered spiritual protection to warriors. Depictions of fruit bats are also found in cave art in Australia, and they appear in countless folk tales.
Some of them are endangered, but many are still thriving. It's a good thing, too, because celebrating Halloween wouldn't be the same without bats.
Keep reading these fun and fascinating wildlife stories on Always Pets: