Animal Species:Black Flying-fox
Black Flying-foxes are the largest species of flying-fox in Australia. They can fly at 35 - 40 kilometres per hour and may travel over 50 kilometres from their camp to a feeding area. They often share their camps with other flying-fox species.
Standard Common Name
Short black fur, but can sometimes also have a reddish-brown or yellow-brown collar. Its belly fur can have a frosted appearance if the fur is flecked with grey tips. The lower legs of this bat are unfurred and faint red-brown eye rings may be present. It is quite a large flying-fox with weights ranging from 500 – 1000 g. Forearm length up to 19 cm.
Northern and eastern Australia.
Tropical and subtropical forests, and in woodlands. Forming camps in mangrove islands in river estuaries, paperbark forests, eucalypt forests and rainforests.
The Black Flying-fox is a migratory species that roosts in large numbers high in the tree canopy during the day.
Feeding and Diet
At dusk, individuals fly out to feed on blossom and fruits, and return to their roost at dawn.
Mating and reproduction
Mating occurs in March to April when large males establish a territory on a branch. Females become pregnant before the bats disperse into generally smaller camps for the winter. They re-congregate into large camps during spring and summer, when birthing occurs. Females give birth to one offspring annually around late September to December. Young are completely dependent for up to 4 weeks, at which point they will be left at the camp at night while their mothers forage. At 2-3 months, the young can fly and they will start to leave the camp at night to feed. They are weaned at about 5 months, and become sexually mature at about 2 years old (but most females will not reproduce before 3).
Black Flying-foxes are vulnerable to loss of feeding areas from clearing of native vegetation and land degradation from agriculture.
Danger to humans and first aid
Yes, carriers of infectious diseases: Lyssa and Hendra viruses. A bite or scratch from an affected bat can be fatal.
Dr Anja Divljan , Technical Officer