Malayan Flying Fox

Malayan Flying Fox

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
Malayan flying foxes are very large bats and the heads have a distinctive fox-like appearance. Their head is reddish brown and their body is brown to black with yellow patches between the shoulders.
Size
Wingspan measures up to1.8 m (6 ft.).
Weight
1 kg (2.2 lbs.)
Diet
Primarily fruit-eaters but they may also feed on flowers, nectar, pollen, and leaves
Gestation
180 days; gives birth to a single pup and occasionally twins. The young will stay with the mother for 3 to 4 months.
Sexual Maturity
18 to 24 months
Life Span
20 to 30 years
Range
The Malayan flying fox is native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Vietnam, Myanmar, the Malaysian Peninsula, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Philippines.
Habitat
Prefers rainforests habitats and can also be found on offshore islands. They range from sea level to 1,300 m (4,225 ft.).
Population
Global: Unknown
Status 
IUCN: Near Threatened (NT)
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Malayan flying foxes are one of the world's largest bat species.
  2. Contrary to their scientific name, Malayan flying foxes are not vampire bats. They are ffruit-eaters.
  3. Flying foxes have long, sharp, curved claws on their toes which allow them to hang effortlessly upside-down in trees. 
  4. Malayan flying foxes do not have the ability to echolocate but can use their sharp vision to locate prey.
  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 mostly nocturnal, flying up to 60 km (36 mi.) a night while foraging.

Ecology and Conservation

The greatest threats to Malayan Flying Foxes are habitat loss, persecution as crop pests and being hunted as a source of bushmeat.

There are 7 subspecies with the most threatened being Pteropus vampyrus lanensis of the Philippines.

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.

Lubee Bat Conservancy – Malayan Flying Fox Species Profile. http://www.lubee.org/bats/our-bats/large-flying-fox-or-malayan-flying-fox/. Downloaded 18 October 2018.