In 1976 fewer than 100 of these bats were known to exist on Rodrigues Island. The Wildlife Preservation Trust removed 23 for captive breeding. Today, there are over 400 individuals living in zoos, including the Philadelphia Zoo. Philadelphia has assisted in on-site research and education with the goal of increasing the population.
Class Mammalia, Order/Suborder Chiroptera/Megachiroptera, Family Pteropodidae and Genus species Pteropus
Geographic Range and Habitat
Roost in the bare upper branches of canopy trees and only on Rodrigues Island in the southern Indian Ocean.
A true bat whose hands have evolved into wings and, as a bat, the only true flying mammal. This bat does not use echolocation but depends on its excellent eyesight. Color ranges from light brown to dark chocolate-brown. Chest hair is red-gold and hair on head is lighter than body hair. Wingspan reaches from 1.5 feet to 2 feet. Weight is 10 to 12 ounces. Head has a long fox-like snout. Body is tailless and ears are oval. Eyes are large, almost round and provide excellent vision. Sense of smell is good.
Nocturnal, flying out to feed at dusk. Colonial and gregarious roosting in large groups. Colonies are noisy with bats giving loud screams and screeches as they maneuver for position in the roost. During breeding males will nip at rivals.
Little is known of breeding behavior in the wild. However, a male maintains a harem of females. Gestation is about 150 days with 1 wild birth a year but usually 2 a year in captivity. Newborn weighs about 1.5 ounces. Sexual maturity is reached between 1.5 to 2 years. Pups are fully dependent on mother for first 30 days and are weaned between 70 and 100 days.
In the wild: Ripe, aromatic fruits: wild figs, guavas, bananas, breadfruits and papayas.
In zoos: Pure apricot and peach nectar fortified with vitamins; fresh, raw, cut-up fruits and vegetables including oranges, apples, bananas and peas.
In captivity: Up to 15 years.
"Endangered" - US Dept of Interior, Endangered Species Act.