Malayan Flying Fox

Malayan Flying Fox

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Malayan flying fox, large flying fox, flying fox
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Chiroptera
FAMILY: Pteropodidae
GENUS SPECIES: Pteropus vampyrus

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Overall coloration is gray—brown to black with yellow areas between the shoulders.  As suggested by their common name, their heads are fox—like in appearance. 
SIZE: wingspan = 1.8 m (6 ft.)
WEIGHT: 1,000 g (2.5 lb.)
DIET: frugivores; eat fruits, flowers, nectar, pollen, and leaves
GESTATION: 4.5 to 6.5 months
SEXUAL MATURITY: 18 to 24 months
LIFE SPAN: 20 to 30 years
RANGE: Southeast Asia—including Vietnam, Burma, Malay peninsula, Borneo, Phillippines, Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Isles, and Anak Krakatau
HABITAT: Rainforests
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/Least Concern
CITES Appendix II
   

FUN FACTS

1. Malayan flying foxes are one of the world's largest bat species.
2. Contrary to their species' name, Malayan flying foxes are not vampire bats. They are frugivores.
3. Flying foxes have long, sharp, curved claws on their toes which allow them to hang effortlessly upside—down in trees. 
4. Flying foxes use vision, rather than echolocation, to maneuver when flying.
5. Bats are the world's only flying mammals. Other mammals may glide through the air, but bats flap their wings and fly.
6. Malayan flying foxes are primarily active at night, flying up to 60 km (36 mi.) a night while foraging.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

The greatest threats to Malayan flying foxes are unsustainable hunting and persecution as crop pests.  

As fruit—eating animals, Malayan flying foxes are important propagators of tropical plants. Many plant seedlings sprout only after having passed through an animal's digestive system.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Macdonald, David , ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxfordshire: Andromeda Oxford Ltd, 2001.