Rodrigues Fruit Bat

Scientific Name: Pteropus rodricensis

Description

Rodrigues fruit bats are much larger than our native South Carolina bats, with a wingspan of 2½ feet and weighing about a pound each. Thickly furred, most of the coat is a dark chestnut brown except for a mantle of golden brown hair that covers the head, neck and shoulders. Fruit bats are mainly nocturnal and have excellent eyesight. They are important pollinators in many regions of the world, redistributing pollen and seeds from a wide variety of plants.

Range

Fruit bats are found throughout the tropical forests of Africa, Asia and Australia. Rodrigues fruit bats are only found on Rodrigues, a 36-square-mile island 1,000 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Status in the Wild

The Rodrigues fruit bat was listed as endangered in 1984. In 1974, there were only about 70 bats left in the wild. Deforestation on the island of Rodrigues is the largest contributing factor to the decline of these bats in the wild. Riverbanks Zoo currently has 4 captive born bats, which are on display in the Riverbanks Conservation Outpost near Kangaroo Walkabout.

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