I have had the Common Fruit Bat, also known as the Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), roosting under the roof of my porch since 2006 (above). For years I was thrilled by their presence. This small group of bats would hang from the strips of dark brown wood that make up the porch roof, sometimes swinging about ever so gently as they go about their comfort activities. I was oblivious to the mess they left on the floor – traces of guano and discarded food. Well, there was always someone cleaning up after them.
The small colony roosting in the porch consisted of an alpha male (above, tagged) and his harem of more than half a dozen females. One day I noticed that one of the females had a young close to her body (below).
The bats arrived in the early mornings and left in the late evenings. During the night a few would return with fruits that were too big to manipulate in flight, to hang down and eat them. Bits and pieces of these fruits would be strewn on the floor, like seeds of Chiku (Manilkara zapota), partially eaten Sea Apple (Syzygium grande) fruits and the skins of Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum).
In April 2011, Benjamin Lee of the National Parks Board came to tag the bats with number rings (above). Mist nets were set (below) and a few bats were trapped, including the alpha male. Measurements were made prior to tagging them. The tagged bats were then released.
The bats continued to return to the porch daily for some months, with the alpha male among them.
YC Wee & Benjamin Lee
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