If you’re fascinated by flying foxes like me and want to find out more about them, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’m answering many people’s questions about these amazing megabats (how awesome is that word – megabat!).
Read on to find out if they are dangerous and aggressive towards people and if they will bite you out of nowhere.
Table of Contents
Do flying foxes bite?
As a general rule, flying foxes do not bite people and generally do not pose any danger to humans and other animals alike if left alone and undisturbed. They are mostly active at night, and many times you won’t even be aware that a flying fox was in your neighborhood or even backyard.
What if you do get bitten by a flying fox? Well, pray. I am just kidding, of course. The Queensland Department of Environment And Science advises that you, first of all, do not scrub the wound if you get bitten or scratched. Contact your doctor so that vaccination can be arranged.
Wash the wound gently but thoroughly with soap and water for at least five minutes, apply an antiseptic, and cover the wound.
RELATED: Are Bats Related to Dogs?
What Do Flying Foxes Eat?
Flying foxes and other megabats are what are called frugivores – they mostly eat raw fruits, succulent fruit-like vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. But they will also eat stuff like flowers, nectars, leaves, and even insects such as cicadas. In captivity, the recommended diet for flying foxes consists of two-thirds hard fruits like pears and apples and one-third soft fruits. Bananas and other high-fiber fruits should generally be avoided.
Farmers do not like flying foxes as they tend to eat their crops. Because of that, flying foxes are shot, beaten to death, poisoned, and electrocuted to reduce their populations.
Are Flying Foxes Aggressive?
Flying foxes or fruit bats refers to a genus of megabats Pteropus that live in the tropics and subtropics of Asia (including the Indian subcontinent), Australia, East Africa, plus some oceanic islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Most of the species are nocturnal, and for that reason, you might not even know they’re there. Also, like many other active animals during the night, flying foxes avoid humans and will not engage with them. For that reason, flying foxes are not aggressive and shouldn’t be feared.
Are Flying Foxes Marsupials?
Flying foxes are not marsupials and do not carry their young in pouches. They are mammals just like you and me and give birth to live young bats – pups. Their mother supports them with her wing while they’re latching on to her.
Megabats are part of the family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera (bats). They are also called fruit bats, Old World fruit bats, and especially the genera Acerodon and Pteropus – flying foxes. They can be differentiated from other bats due to their dog-like (or fox-like) faces, clawed second digits, and reduced uropatagium.
Why Are Flying Foxes Called Flying Foxes?
The phrase “flying fox” has been used since at least 1759. And it’s still in use for the obvious reason – their heads look similar to fox’s head. Apart from being called flying foxes, they’re also called fruit bats because of their love for tasty and succulent fruit.
Do Flying Foxes Live In The United States?
One species of the flying fox lives in the United States, though not on the mainland. Mariana flying fox (Pteropus mariannus) lives in the Mariana Islands and Ulithi (an atoll in the Caroline Islands).
It is a is a mid-sized bat that weighs up to 1.1 lb (500 g) and is considered a culinary delicacy by Chamorro people (inhabitants of the islands).
Do Flying Foxes Fly Or Glide?
Flying foxes do indeed, as their name states, fly. They are the only true flying mammal and have adapted very well for it. Flying foxes can travel at 13 mph (21 km/h) for three hours or more and can reach top speeds of 19 mph (30 km/h).
How Do Flying Foxes Help The Environment?
Megabats, in general, including flying foxes, play an important role in seed dispersal and pollination. Flying foxes pollinate various plants and are particularly important in fragmented forests, as many other pollinators are terrestrial and can’t reach all the parts of a forest.
Because they’re such avid flyers, flying foxes can deposit seeds up to 12 miles (20 km) from the parent tree!