The Indian flying fox is so called due to its unique, fox-like appearance: reddish-brown coat, characteristically long snout as well as large eyes. And indeed, this animal resembles a little fox with wings. An observer would mistake this bat for a fox, if not its leathery wing and the habit of sleeping in an upside down position. The animal exhibits small ears. Instead of using echolocation, this flying fox perceives its environment through well-developed senses of vision and smell, helping the animal to detect food. Like all other bats, the Indian flying fox has claws, found on the second finger of each wing and used for grasping fruits and other objects.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. Approx...
In zoology, a nectarivore is an animal that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of the sugar-...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Zoochory animals are those that can disperse plant seeds in several ways. Seeds can be transported on the outside of vertebrate animals (mostly mam...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Congregatory animals tend to gather in large numbers in specific areas as breeding colonies, for feeding, or for resting.
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
Colonial animals live in large aggregations composed of two or more conspecific individuals in close association with or connected to, one another....
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
These bats are endemic to South Central Asia, found from Pakistan and China to the Maldive Islands. Within this territory, they live in tropical forests and swamps. The Indian flying fox tend to occur near water bodies and roost among banyan, tamarind and fig trees.
The Indian flying foxes are highly social creatures, forming large roosts of several hundred animals. A single group usually occupies one tree. These bats live in a 'vertical', male-dominated hierarchy system, where higher-ranked individuals occupy higher spots of the tree, while lower-ranked individuals remain on lower spots. Males of a group are responsible for protecting their roost and particularly, females, from outsiders. The Indian flying foxes are nocturnal animals. When sleeping, they hang by their feet in an upside down position, wrapping their wings around themselves. At sunset, they wake up and leave the tree to forage. They spend their nighttime hours looking for food, feeding, digesting their meal, resting as well as socializing and moving around the tree. In order to maintain suitable body temperature, these bats fan themselves with their wings.
The Indian flying foxes maintain frugivorous diet, supplementing it with insects as well as flowers, containing juice and nectar. Although their favorite fruits are figs, the animals also consume mango, guava, bananas and various cultivated fruits.
This species is polygynandrous (promiscuous), with both males and females breeding with multiple mates. Males usually defend females of their roost from males, coming from the outside. These bats are seasonal breeders. The mating season takes place between July and October. Gestation period lasts for 140 - 150 days, yielding 1 - 2 babies, generally in February-May. The newborn bats are carried by their mother until 3 weeks old, after which the babies begin hanging by their feet independently, although the mother will continue to carry them to the feeding sites every night. The babies are cared for only by their mother. At around 11 weeks old, they are able to fly. Weaning occurs within 5 months after births, and the age of reproductive maturity is 1.5 years old.
The Indian flying foxes are not currently threatened with extinction, although they still suffer from some localized factors such as felling of their roosting trees, mainly for roads. In some parts of their range, these bats are hunted for food and medicine.
This species is common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. As reported by Zoos Print, populations of this species have been estimated in the following areas: Bundala (Sri Lanka) - 50,000 individuals (data from 2006); Nallur near Chennai (Tamil Nadu) - 6000 Indian flying foxes; Limkheda, Dahod District, Gujarat State - 5000 individuals, found on 3 Ficus trees; Bangladesh - a single colony of about 2500 individuals. Further, as reported by the Academia resource, there have been found 287 individuals in the town of Dhubri (Assam). Overall, Indian flying foxes are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, but their numbers are decreasing.
Feeding upon a wide variety of fruits and flowers, these animals act as important seed dispersers of these plants, thus benefiting the ecosystem of their range.