Straw-coloured fruit bats are the most widely distributed of the African fruit bats and live and travel in vast colonies numbering into the millions. They roost in tall trees, and go off in smaller foraging groups at night searching for ripe fruits. After noisily sucking out the juice from a fruit, they discard the pulp, which makes them important pollinators and seed dispersers. They also chew wood and bark to obtain moisture.
Scientific name: Eidolon helvum
A swamp in Zambia houses the biggest bat roost in the world.
Thought bats were anti-social creatures that only came out at Halloween? Then think again. Every year, hundreds of thousands of straw-coloured fruit bats leave the Congolese forest and fly over a thousand kilometres to Kasanka National Park, a remote swamp in neighbouring Zambia. Here they join the largest gathering of fruit bats in the world.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Straw-coloured fruit bat distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Decreasing
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
The straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) is a large fruit bat that is the most widely distributed of all the African megabats. It is quite common throughout its area ranging from the southwestern Arabian Peninsula, across forest and savanna zones of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. They have recently been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List due to a decreasing population trend. Straw-coloured fruit bats travel in massive colonies of at least 100,000 bats and sometimes massing up to 1 million. Their necks and backs are a yellowish-brown colour, while their undersides are tawny olive or brownish.
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