Kidadl

Fang-tastic Facts About The Megabat For Kids

Contents
Fang-tastic Facts About The Megabat For Kids

Share this article

Megabats belong to the family Pteropodidae (Gray, 1821) and are also called fruit bats, Old World fruit bats, or flying foxes. They are the only branch of the family Pteropodidae that can be subcategorized as one of the two superfamilies of the suborder Yinpterochiroptera which contains species that were previously a part of Megachiroptera. These bats are primarily found in tropical regions and they sustain themselves on fruits, nectar, and pollen, which is why they are also referred to as fruit bats. Megabats are social animals and they live in huge colonies and, like the other members of their brethren are active after sunsets. They, however, do not use echolocation like microbats. Instead, they use their sense of smell to spot their food. While their diet primarily consists of fruits but they also eat leaves, nectar, and pollen.

In 1821, subfamilies of megabats were described by John Edward Gray and there are over 150 bat species of fruit bats. While the kingdom, phylum, class, order all stay uniform the genus tends to vary. The lower classifications based on existing conventional hierarchy may include their family Pteropodidae consisting of six other subfamilies including Pteropodinae, Nyctimeninae, Harpyionyterinae, Rousettinae, Epomophorinae, and Cynopterinae. These subfamilies are further branched into tribes, species, and sub-species. Little red flying fox, Mariana fruit bat, large flying fox, giant golden-crowned flying fox, which is from the Philippines and are also known as Filipino megabat, are some of the common examples.

Want to know more fascinating facts about megabats? Then keep reading this article. You can also check out our articles on fruit bats and the hoary bat.

Megabat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a megabat?

Megabats of suborder Megachiroptera is a type of bat.

What class of animal does a megabat belong to?

The megabat belongs to the family Mammalia.

How many megabats are there in the world?

Megabats exist in huge numbers, there are a massive number of bat species and it is quite difficult to determine their exact number.

Where does a megabat live?

Megabats or fruit bats inhabit the tropical region of the world. Megabats, of the suborder Megachiroptera, can be found all over the world. Flying fox Pteropus exist in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of Asia (South-Asia, South-east Asia), East Africa, in the oceanic regions of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and also in Australia.

Fruit bats are also found in Japan and China in east Asia. Six species of fruit bats are considered to be native in China while the rest are considered to have been a result of migration. In Japan, four species of fruit bats are found, and all Pteropus. But this Pteropus are found only in Japan but doesn't exist in any of its five main islands.

In fact, Southeast Asian countries like Singapore have five species of fruit bats, while Indonesia has 76 species of fruit bats. The Maldives has two species of fruit bats while India has 13 species of fruit bats.

An oceanic country like Tonga has one species of fruit bats while Papua New Guinea consists of 76 species of fruit bats.

What is a megabat's habitat?

There are 14 genera of fruit bats that have been discovered in Africa, which itself is home to 28 species of fruit bats. Out of 28 species, 24 of them are found near the tropical and sub-tropical parts of Africa while the rest of the species are found near the temperate zone. Eight of the fruit bat species are found in the dense forest exclusively. They require diverse varieties of fruits for their survival and sustenance. Hence fruit bats can be found in deep forests where fruits are found in abundance. They prefer to stay in warm weather and thrive in the dense region of the forest because it provides them cover and protects them from various predators.  

Nine of the species can be discovered both in the savannas and the densely forested areas. Another nine species of fruit bats are found only in savannas, and two of the species can be observed on the islands. However, only one of the species named Rousettus lanosus can be found in the Montane ecosystem.

In Australia, there are five genera and eight species of fruit bats. This includes Dobsonian, Pteropus, Macroglossus, Syconycteris, and Nyctimene. In Australia, the species of Pteropus can be observed in the rainforest, mangrove forests, and wet sclerophyll forests. However, a major portion of the Pteropus species is found in the urban regions.

Who do megabats live with?

Megabats or fruit bats are social creatures and they have the tendency to live together. The fruit bat makes colonies known as camps. The fruit bat may assemble in trees known as roost trees and this is a common practice by all the bats both microbats and megabats. The fruit bat takes rest during the day by hanging upside down from the roost tree or any dark crevices and during the night they are often found feasting in groups or flying long distances hunting for food.

How long does a megabat live?

The average life span of a fruit bat is 16 years although they can survive longer than this, however, it is not more than 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The fruit bat reproduces by the method of copulation. The period of reaching maturity to copulate is in fact slow among bats. The gestation period of these bats is somewhere between two and six months and they deliver one offspring at a time. Bats do not lay eggs, as they are mammals they deliver their young ones.

What is their conservation status?

The overall conservation status of Pteropodidae or fruit bat as of 2014 as per the IUCN estimated that one-fourth of species of the fruit bat is threatened and some of them are even on the verge of extinction. The data also confirms that four species are already Extinct and eight species of fruit bat are Significantly Endangered. Moreover, 16 types of megabat are classified as Endangered while 37 of the fruit bat type is Susceptible. There are 13 types of these bats that are Nearly Threatened and 89 types of fruit bat are of the Least Concern.

Megabat Fun Facts

What do megabats look like?

Megachiroptera can be differentiated from the Microchiroptera or microbats on various grounds. The fruit bat has a dog-like appearance and simple ears which are due to the lack of cartilage flaps called tragi usually found in microbats. The fruit bat is called ‘mega’ because of the large physique and body weight. The largest of them, the great flying fox (Pteropus neohibernicus) has a weight of 3.5 lb (1.5 kg). These bats have a reduced uropatagium (membrane between the back thigh) and in many cases, the tail may be present or absent. An overwhelming majority of these bats tend to have a uniform fur both in terms of color and consistency. Sometimes these bats might also exhibit variations like large eyes. Even in such cases, these bats tend to rely on their sense of smell rather than the conventionally employed echolocation like microbats.

The megabat wingspan is short. This small wingspan area leads to the loading capacity of the wings being comparatively higher than other avian counterparts. These bats came to be known as flying foxes because their heads are like foxes. The wings of the flying fox megabat are more than just for flying, it protects the bats from cold and even rains. Often the mother flying foxes utilize their wings as a cradle for their babies. The flying foxes also use their wings to scare off potential predators and protect themselves.

Although they have large eyes they depend on their sense of smell.

How cute are they?

The fruit bat has a dog-like appearance. Their head is like foxes from which they get their name flying foxes. Few people may find them cute while others may find them intimidating.

How do they communicate?

The fruit bat communicates with each other by vocalization. These bats make noises resembling a trill consisting of loud sounds. The fruit bats may also produce honk or make bleat-like loud noises too.

How big is a megabat?

The fruit bat is distinguished from other bats because of its megabat size and weight. While not all of them are of the same size, some of them may weigh around 3.2 lb (1.5 kg) and have a wingspan of 66.9 in (169.9 cm). On the other hand, a microbat has a 9.8 in (25 cm) wingspan. The megabats from the Philippines are among the largest megabat types.

How fast can a megabat fly?

The speed of these bats depends on the type of bats and also the size of their wings. Fruit bats can fly very rapidly but an accurate unit cannot be estimated.

How much does a megabat weigh?

The weight of megabats also depends on the type of bat. A great flying fox (Pteropus neohibernicus) may weigh around 3.2 lb (1.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

No distinct names have been allotted to these bats based on their gender.

What would you call a baby megabat?

Baby bats are known as pups.

What do they eat?

Their diet mainly consists of fruits. They do not eat insects like microbats. Megabats also, eat leaves, nectar, and sometimes even pollen.

Are they aggressive?

Megabats generally do not tend to disturb humans or express aggressive behavior. However, if provoked, their sharp teeth might cause minor injuries to humans and also cause rabies.

Would they make a good pet?

These bats prefer to live in colonies among the wilderness, unlike pet animals. Hence, a megabat pet is probably not a good idea.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Here are a few interesting facts about them.

Humans consume bat meat in certain parts of the world.

Megabats are likely to have evolved from a similar ancestor of existing pteropodids some 31 million years ago.

Fruit bats mate upside down.

In 1930, naturalists came across a colony of bat which consisted of 30 million bats.

Fruit bats can swim.

Pythons and eagles are among the predators of the megabats.

Can megabats kill you?

Megabats are a pool of numerous diseases and many of these viruses can even affect humans. These disease-causing viruses may include the Ebola virus and Marburg virus. One variety of bat had been detected carrying the Marburg virus, which causes the Marburg virus diseases. These bats are considered to be a natural carrier of the Ebola virus even though it's not confirmed yet. This is because the theory of how humans contracted Ebola is still implicit. However, it is assumed that humans contracted the Ebola virus through explicit contact. Other than the Ebola virus and Marburg virus flying fox Pteropus is also the carrier of the Nipah Virus, Hendra virus, and several other viruses which are can cause deadly diseases in humans and animals. Some of these viruses if left untreated can be fatal for humans.

What is another name for a megabat?

These bats are also known as Old World fruit bats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Mexican free-tailed bat, or numbat.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Megabat coloring pages.

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.