Bat, Straw-colored Fruit


Eidolon helvum


Reddish-brown to yellowish-brown fur. Eyes and ears are large. Bodies are approximately 5.7 to 9 inches in length, and wings span up to 30 inches. Females are usually larger in size. Weight is between 8 to 12.25 ounces.

Family

Pteropodidae

Order

Chiroptera

Class

Mammalia

Range

Southwest Arabian Peninsula, forested areas south of Sahara and Madagascar

Habitat

Forests and savannas-elevation up to 6,500 feet above sea level.

Life Expectancy

15 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity

Sexual Maturity

Approximately 2 years

Diet

In the wild, they eat flowers, bark, leaves and fruits. In the Zoo, they are fed bat mix, apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and cantaloupe.

Status

IUCN - Near Threatened

Behaviors

Straw-colored fruit bats are crepuscular (active during twilight), but more diurnal (day active) in the winter months. Offspring can weigh up to 1.75 ounces at birth. Generally, just a single offspring is born. The gestation period is 9 months. These bats live in colonies of several hundred. During migrations, their numbers climb to one million.

Adaptions

Modified body for flying. They have powerful claws. The thumb is used for crawling, hanging, and manipulating objects.

Special Interests

For a long time, humans have associated bats with mice—even though they are not related at all. Chiroptera in Greek means “hand and wing.” Fledermaus is the German word for bat. It means, “flying mouse.” In French, it is referred to as chauve souris meaning “bald mouse.”

Folklore

In parts of Asia, the bat is considered to be a sign of good luck. A Chinese design of five bats arranged in a circle (The Chinese Five Bats) symbolizes wealth, love, virtue, old age, and natural death. This is called the wu-fu symbol, and is frequently used as a good luck charm.

Conservation

The main threat to bats is habitat destruction. Fruit- eating bats, such as the straw-colored fruit bat, disperse seeds and pollinate some tropical plants.

Jacksonville Zoo History

Since its first arrival in April 1996, this colony has been one of the more important breeding colonies in North America.

Exhibit

River Valley and Streambank Aviaries / East African Exhibit Area