May 21, 2009

Winged Garbage Man

Fruit-eating bats differ in many ways from their insectivorous chiropteran cousins. Ironically, they've got a lot more of the whole vampire-Dracula thing going on, what with their size and veiny wings and all. Yet, the only flesh they bite is fruit-based.

Flying foxes, as I believe this one to be, are primarily diurnal creatures since, unlike insects, most fruits don't take any measures not to be eaten. Fruit doesn't need to be hunted, so daylight is as good a time to forage for them as night time. What a clever bat, to choose a food that actually wants to be eaten. In fact, they don't eat just any fruit, but fruit that is over ripe for the most part. They are the frugivorous equivalent of the garbage man. A winged, freaky garbage man.

11 comments:

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

I wish I have THAT lurking in my garage!

morgan said...

One possible reason for their diurnal and frugivorous ways: they never evolved echolocation!

Robin said...

WOW, I've been there! That's near Bali, Indonesia. I have the same exact photo too (except it's me in the photo, not that blonde chick).

stormydragon said...

That bat seems pretty mellow about being carried around by a person. Are they all like that, or is this one just semi-domesticated?

Yvonne Navarro said...

That's just downright fabulous and mondo cool. (They're awfully large to fly by echolocation anyay. Picture that accidentally bouncing off your head in the middle of the night-- ouch.)

Anonymous said...

I lived on the Zaire River for a couple of years. Those fruit bats mostly flew at dusk. Do not know if they were going out or returning but they were rarely (never?) seen during the day. I had one in my classroom, stuffed, with a 37 inch wingspan

April Lorier said...

Now THIS is an unusual, but necessary, creature! Just amazes me how many creatures there are in the world that don't visit my yard in So California!

bonni said...

I love these things. My husband and I used to live at a residential college attached to the University of Melbourne, and on the grounds was a very large, very old fig tree. In the fig tree lived a whole colony of these bats. Normally, they were pretty quiet (they sleep during the day) and they didn't make much trouble. Just at dusk, if you happened to be looking the right direction, you'd see the flock passing by, off in search of yummy fruit to eat. They're magnificent in flight, or at least, I've always thought so.

Anonymous said...

Simply gorgeous... and the giant bat too

Nicole said...

I have always been enamored with bats in general, and I find this particular species to fascinating.

Anonymous said...

They are diurnal because the colors of fruit are mainly visible in the day. Fruit has evolved to be colorful for birds and other creatures to spread around fruit tree seeds. The effect of this is that birds and fruit bats have evolved good vision to be able to see colors.

The side effect of this is that many fruit bats echolocation abilities are substantially reduced by comparison to their nocturnal, insect-eating cousins (compare the ears).