Image: Grey-headed Flying-fox Illustration

Grey-headed Flying-fox Illustration

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are large bats that roost in leafy trees in eastern Australia. They often live in large groups of many thousands of animals. They are about 25 cm long with reddish coloured fur around their neck, a grey head and a brown body.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are large bats that roost in leafy trees in eastern Australia. They often live in large groups of many thousands of animals. They are about 25 cm long with reddish coloured fur around their neck, a grey head and a brown body.

Grey-headed Flying-foxes fly around at night using their eyes and sense of smell to search for fruit and flowers. They land in trees and crush fruit and flowers with their strong teeth. They swallow the juice and some fruit but spit out the seeds.

Females give birth to one live young in October or November each year. The young bats are born helpless but with some hair. For four months the young bats feed on milk from nipples located under their mother's armpits. Young bats hold onto the fur on their mother's belly while she searches for food at night until they are six weeks old.

The mothers then leave their young together in the trees while they look for food at night. Mothers return each night to feed their young until they are four months old. At this stage they start to follow the adults out each night and learn how to find their own food.

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are Australia's largest bat and are important pollinators and seed distributors of many tree species.

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Tags wild, kids, illustration, grey, headed, flying, fox,

3 comments

Ondine Evans - 3.01 PM, 27 January 2010

Hi lmn! This is a good question and I asked our Mammals Collection Manager, Sandy Ingleby. Her answer was:  Some bats have tails and others don’t.

Within the 'Mega-bats' or  flying foxes/fruit bats, some groups lack tails –like those of the Genus Pteropus. The Grey-headed Flying Fox (in the picture above) seen flying over Sydney at night is an example of a species lacking a tail. Other groups of Flying Foxes have tails, such as:  the Bare-backed Fruit Bats (Genus Dobsonia), the Tube-nosed Bats (Genus Nyctimene) and the Fijian Blossum Bat (Notopteris), which is also known as the Long-tailed Flying Fox as its tail measures up to 61 cm.

Among the insectivorous or 'Micro-bats', most species have tails but these can either be enclosed within the tail membrane, extend beyond the membrane or project through it.

lmn - 8.01 PM, 22 January 2010
Do bats/flying foxes have tails and if so where are they as we can't see them.

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