Bats

Rodrigues Fruit Bat (Pteropus rodricensis)

Rodriguez Fruit Bat
Judith Wolfe

Rodrigues Fruit Bat hanging


Zoo collection includes: Three females

Found in the wild: Rodrigues Island, off the coast of Madagascar.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo:  Look up and you can usually see them suspended from the rafters just inside the entrance or near the beach.

Description: They have a body length of 6 to 8 inches with a wingspan of 2 ½ to 3 feet and weigh ¾ of a pound. Comparatively short, broad wings allow them to fly in the dense forests. These bats will also be seen climbing trees using their claws or sometimes sliding down the rafters at play. They have large eyes, which allow them to see well at night. These bats see in full color.  Considered a flying fox, these large bats may have a wingspan up to 3 feet and have brownish-gold fur.

What do they eat:  In the wild, they eat fruit juice, pollen, and nectar.  

Life span: In captivity, the average lifespan of this bat seems to be about 20 years.  Their lifespan in the wild is currently unknown.

Threats: These flying foxes are threatened primarily by tsunamis

Fun Facts: Male Rodrigues bats maintain a harem of up to 8 females. Harems often roost together in large colonies, or “camps,” in the upper forest canopy, probably for added protection from predators. Like other fruit bats, Rodrigues fruit bats help “plant” the rain forest, by dispersing the seeds of the fruits and plants they eat. The Rodrigues Fruit Bats are very social, roosting in large colonies in the tops of emergent trees. They are not echolocators, but use their eyesight for travel and to search for food.  Males will vocalize, nip, or strike with their wings to defend breeding, roosting, and feeding territories from other male bats.

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Short-tailed fruit bat (Carollia perspicillata) AKA Leaf-nosed fruit bat

 

Short-tailed Fruit Bats eating watermelon
Judith Wolfe 

  Short-tailed Fruit Bats eating


Zoo collection includes: Lots and lots of bats

Found in the wild: Southern Mexico to Paraguay and southern Brazil, Trinidad, Tobago, and Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: This exhibit is located just after the Leafcutter ants in the Tropical Rain Forest.

Description: Approximately 2 inches long with brown fur. Their ears are relatively simple, rigid, and usually erect. If you can get a good glimpse you might notice the leaf shape on the nose of the bats. This helps to focus and direct sounds when using echolocation.

Zoo Bat Cave: The lighting has been adjusted so it is night in the exhibit and the bats are more active. This does, however, make them harder to see - but please do not use flash photography. Bats are not blind and the lights will hurt their eyes.

What do they eat:  At the CPZ, the Leaf-nosed fruit bats are fed diced bananas, apples, canned primate and feline diet, and fortified bat mix twice daily.

Life span: Averages 2.5 years, but can live up to 10 years

Threats:  Destruction of their habitat due to population growth and forest clearing are among the major threats to their population.

Fun Facts: There are over 1,000 different species of bats, and they occur on every continent except Antarctica. Only the mammal order Rodentia numbers more species. These small mammals have high metabolism; food travels through a fruit bat's digestive system in about 30 minutes. When food is scarce, these bats will enter torpor, a sluggish state, to conserve energy.

 

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