By late July 2014 a lone adult female Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) with a baby clinging to her arrived one morning to roost in the porch (above). The female is recognised by her yellow-orange collar, as compared to the dark orange-red male collar LINK. Juveniles lack such a collar.
The baby was actively suckling and excess milk leaked onto the floor, leaving whitish stains (below). Note the engorged nipples of the adult female.
The pair was stubborn, not flying off even when shooed. So they were left alone and observed.
The young appeared to be weaning as after a session of suckling, it left the comfort of the mother’s body to be by itself (below) – or was the young pushed off gently as part of the scheme to make it independent?
That evening the mother left the roosting site together with a few others to forage. The young was left along and wandered around.
According to this LINK, both sexes take care of the young and the male plays an active role in lactation and feeding the young. As in all mammals, the male has a pair of nipples that may be engorged, especially when they eat plants that contain estrogen-like compounds that can stimulate milk production LINK.
Medway, L. 1969. The wild mammals of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore. Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur. Second Edition. 131pp.
Bird Ecology Study Group Bats in my porch: 19. Does the male helps look after the pup?
[…] After all, the male’s collar is a dark orange-red while that of the female is yellow-orange LINK. Admittedly, in practice it is not that easy to distinguish the sexes as the colour […]