Indian and Malayan Flying Foxes

posted in: Fauna, Mammals | 0

GiantFruitBat-Sri Lanka [RichardKoh]

The image of the Indian Flying Foxes (Pteropus gigantus) roosting in a flowering Rain Tree (Samanea saman) was photographed by Richard Koh in Sri Lanka. These flying foxes roost during the day, flying off at night to forage for fruits and nectar.

GiantFruitBat-Sri Lanka [RichardKoh]

According to Richard, the wingspan of the flying fox is about 1.5m and the size of its head is the size of a pomeranian dog (above).

Wildlife consultany Subaraj Rajathurai has this to say: “The big flying foxes of Sri Lanka are the same as in India and are called the Indian Flying Fox. With a wingspan of up to 130cm, there are many colonies, even in the capital, Colombo.

“The big flying foxes seen locally (though rarely nowadays) are the Malayan or Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus). Their wingspan is similarly up to 1.5m. They are considered one of the largest bats in the world!

“They were formerly resident in Singapore with a colony even at the Botanic Gardens. As a resident, they were hunted out by the 1960s but every durian flowering season, large numbers would visit us from the mainland. I had 100 in one night at MacRitchie, in the late 1980s. Today, it would be a big bonus to see one in Singapore as even the Malaysian populations have been decimated by hunting for food as there is a misguided believe that their meat can cure asthma!”

Subaraj-MalayanFlyingFox (SubarajR)

The above image shows a young Subaraj holding up a dead Malayan Flying Fox on St. Johns Island, Singapore in the late 1980s. The image below shows an Indian Flying Fox colony in Kandy, Ceylon, taken from my hotel room from a distance.”

Indian Flying Fox colony in Kandy (Subaraj)

Richard Koh & Subaraj Rajathurai
February 2016
(The first two images by Richard Koh; the second two by Subaraj Rajathurai)

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.


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