Wild Fact #126 – Good Thing They Like Fruit – Large Flying Fox

Largest Bats in the world - Large Flying Fox

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Did You Know?

  • The Large Flying Fox is also known as the Malaysian Flying Fox, Greater Flying Fox and the Kalang
  • This particular specimen is part of the Fruit Bat family and as such feeds exclusively on flowers, nectar and tasty fruit (okay, they may eat fruit that isn’t tasty but I think that is just a personal opinion)
  • The scientific name for the Large Flying Fox is Pteropus vampyrus – Any guesses how they received this species name?

What’s In A Name?

Both the common and the scientific name of today’s featured animal is quite intriguing. Let’s start with the common name, Large Flying Fox. How did this bat get stuck with this bizarre name? For starters, they are one of the largest bats in the world, hence the “Large” part. Secondly like most other bats (probably all bats) they are capable of flight (that is the flying part) and last but not least these megabats have the face very similar to the adorable Fox.

The Large Flying Fox

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So what about the scientific name? Why are they referred to as “vampyrus”? Are they related to Vampire Bats, Dracula or Robert Pattinson? I haven’t confirmed whether or not the Large Flying Fox is related to the Twilight Star but I know for a fact they are not closely related to Dracula or Vampire Bats. Instead, they received this species name as a result of a couple of very long canine teeth. If you look at the skull of this bat, you will notice they have canines like a dog. So it is a good thing for us that these bats prefer the taste of fruit.

The Large Flying Fox is a Weary Traveller

Believe it or not, this Flying Fox is known to travel over 50 kilometres a day just to find the perfect fruit patch. Once they find their scrumptious feeding place, these bats will crash land into the tree, grapple a branch or two with their feet (or their claw located on their wings) and begin feasting. They manage to find these perfect feeding locations using their sharp eyesight and keen sense of smell. Yes, that’s right, the Large Flying Fox does not rely on echolocation, so let’s hope for their sake they are not “blind as a bat”.

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