Fruit Bat

While most bat species feed on insects, fruit bats feed on fruits. That’s not the only thing that distinguishes fruit bats. Some species are large, sometimes three pounds or more, and some have wingspans of more than five feet. They rely on sight and smell, and most of them do not echolocate. They roost in trees, not in caves. There are dozens of species of them, in the family Megachiroptera. Some species are tiny, but most are large. They are sometimes called “flying foxes.” Several are large enough so that they are considered delicacies and are eaten in some areas of the Pacific. They don’t actually eat fruit, they mash it up with their teeth and then lap the juice up. They also lap up nectar. Fruit bats are strong flyers. They have to be because fruit ripens at different times in different places, so the bats have to find places where fruit is ripening. These bats often live long lives, 20 to 30 years. They are hated by fruit growers, who kill the bats but are unaware that they are important pollinators.

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