THE ANATOMY OF FRUIT BATS
Like all bats, fruit bats belong to the Chiroptera order. After rodents, these are the most diverse species of mammals in existence. They can weigh up to one kilo and have a maximum wingspan of 1.7 metres. Unlike other types of bats, most fruit bats do no
The African straw-coloured fruit bat shown here has a maximum head-to-toe length of just 20 centimetres (1) and a maximum wingspan of 75 centimetres (2). It has a dog-like head and a good sense of smell with which to sniff out ripe fruits. (3). The bat also feeds on nectar, and thus plays an important role in the pollination of plants – 40% of trees in the world’s rainforests would be unable to produce fruit without their help. Its favourite food sources are the Borassus and date palm trees. Thanks to the strong, hooked claw on its thumbs (4) the bat is a good climber and can defend itself against attackers. It can use its feet (5) like hands to open the shells or skins of fruits. The bat bites into hard shells with its sharp canines and mashes the fruit between its teeth, sucking out the nectar.