Fun Guam Flying Fox Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 04, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 08, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Guam flying fox facts are interesting.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.4 Min

Are you fascinated by bats, like the hoary bat? Then you'll like to know about Guam flying foxes. The Guam flying fox is also known as the little Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus tokudae).

The conservation status of these bats has been declared Extinct since they have not been seen since the 1970s. They were native to the Pacific islands. More specifically, they were found only in the tropical islands of the Marianas in Guam.

Already a threatened species due to low population, these bats fell victim to human cruelty and predation, which eventually led to their extinction. The upper parts of the body of these bats were of light-brown and gray shades and the lower parts of their body were of darker brown shades.

Their length was about 5.5-6 in (14-15 cm). Since they've been extinct for a long time, very little information is known about them. However, their characteristics and behaviors can be assumed from their recent relatives, other flying foxes.

For instance, a female flying fox usually gives birth to one pup. This could have been the same for Guam flying foxes.

Read on to know more about the Guam flying fox, and if you like this article, then also check out Ryukyu flying fox and leaf nosed bat.

Guam Flying Fox Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Guam flying fox?

Guam flying fox (Pteropus tokudae) is a kind of small megabat.

What class of animal does a Guam flying fox belong to?

The little Mariana fruit bat belongs to the class Mammalia of animals.

How many Guam flying foxes are there in the world?

The last time the Guam flying foxes were seen was between the years 1967-1970. Ever since they haven't been seen anywhere.

It's thought that the population of these bats was never really in large numbers in their habitat range. When humans began hunting Guam flying foxes for food, the population dwindled. In addition to that, these foxes were also preyed upon by predators like the brown tree snake.

Where does a Guam flying fox live?

The little Mariana fruit bat was indigenous to Guam. They were mainly found living in the Pacific islands.

More specifically, in the Mariana islands range of the Pacific Ocean. Due to a lack of research, it was never discovered if these bats were migratory or not. Now that they have become extinct, their behavior and living habits remain a mystery.

What is a Guam flying fox's habitat?

There isn't much information available about the preferred habitat of the little Mariana fruit bat. According to their geographical distribution, it can be asserted that they preferred to live in tropical regions.

The last ever Guam flying fox that was found was seen in a mature limestone forest in the Marianas. A limestone forest is usually full of scattered emergent trees with a low density of underlying vegetation plants and a canopy with an elevation of 26.2-49.2 ft (8-15 m).

All other species from its family Pteropodidae are arboreal.

Most species live in a primary forest or in a developing secondary forest, while some live in savannas with low trees and bushes. We can assume the Guam flying foxes preferred the same habitats as well.

Who do Guam flying foxes live with?

The Guam flying foxes are thought to have lived in big colonies, made up of some smaller family groups. Much like other bats of the Pteropodidae family, Guam flying foxes also slept during the day and remained active at night for hunting, breeding, and roosting.

How long does a Guam flying fox live?

The lifespan of the little Mariana fruit bats is not known. However, the average lifespan of flying foxes is generally 15 years, although they could live up to 30 years, both in the wild or in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the process of reproduction in little Mariana fruit bats. Usually, the mating behavior of the species of the Pteropodidae family is dynamic, varying according to the species.

For example, males of the Hypsignathus genus create lekking territories twice every year. To attract females, they emit unusual sounds while flapping their wings. Harems of males of some species have been seen to be made up of 37 females and one male.

The gestation period of the females is usually four to six months but it can extend even longer. Pregnant females leave the roosting areas and congregate with other pregnant females to form nurseries.

They even groom and care for each other throughout their pregnancy. Usually, one young pup is born, but sometimes even twins can be seen. We can assume that these same behaviors were also present in Guam flying foxes.

When a female was shot in 1968, she had a young pup on her who escaped. This shows that Guam flying foxes may have cared for their young ones for a prolonged period after birth.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Guam flying foxes according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is listed as Extinct. While they were an already endangered species, they were driven towards extinction due to several reasons.

The three major reasons behind the suffering of their population were habitat loss, the introduction of predatory animals in their habitat, and hunting. Deforestation and degradation of forests led to habitat loss, while the predatory reptile, brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) was introduced around 1945 or after in the Marianas, which became a problem for the Guam flying foxes.

They were a delicacy for the people of Chamorro culture of the Mariana Islands.

Furthermore, man collectors considered these bats to be rare. That's why these bats were hunted on a large scale, leading to their extinction.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service suggested plans to recover the little Mariana fruit bat in 1987. However, no preservation actions can be implemented till the proof of their existence is found somewhere.

Guam Flying Fox Fun Facts

What do Guam flying foxes look like?

The little Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus tokudae) was a medium sized bat species. The top of the heads of these bats was a brownish yellow to a grayish color.

They had prominent ears with a dark brown colored chin and throat. The sides of the neck and the mantle were light gold to brown. The wings and the abdomen were dark brown or brown colored with white hairs.

Lyle's flying fox

*Please note the main image and this image are of a Lyle's flying fox that belongs to the same family as the Guam Flying Fox. If you have an image of a Guam Flying Fox please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

Many people don't consider bats as cute. Many are rather afraid of them, but then bats are considered to be amazing beings by many.

How do they communicate?

All bats mainly communicate by the senses of sight, smell, and sound. Plus, bats have excellent night vision and olfactory senses. However, the most amazing feature that bats possess is their sonic hearing ability.

They can produce sound waves of frequencies high above the humans are able to produce. These waves bounce off objects, returning to the ears of the bats and help them navigate and catch their prey. Being from the same family, we can assume that the Guam flying foxes had these abilities as well.

How big is a Guam flying fox?

The body length of an adult Guam flying fox (Pteropus tokudae) was about 5.5-6 in (14-15 cm). Their wingspan was about 25.6-28 in (65-71 cm). They were slightly bigger than the Mexican free tailed bats. The body length of an adult Mexican free tailed bat is about 4-5 in (10.1–12.7 cm).

How fast can a Guam flying fox fly?

The exact speed at which the little Mariana fruit bats could fly is not known. However, flying foxes, in general, have the ability to fly at an average speed of 13.4 mph (21.5 kph).

They can fly at a maximum speed of 19 mph (30.5 kph). They are also able to fly constantly for about three hours at a time.

How much does a Guam flying fox weigh?

These were medium sized bats. An adult Guam flying fox weighed about 5.4 oz (152 g) on average.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males or females of the species have no specific names.

What would you call a baby Guam flying fox?

A baby little Mariana fruit bat is called a pup.

What do they eat?

Very little is known about the diet of the Guam flying foxes. It is assumed that flowers and fruits were the primary sources of their food, like all other flying foxes.

Are they dangerous?

Due to a lack of research on the little Mariana fruit bat, it's not known whether they were aggressive or dangerous in any way. However, flying foxes, in general, are neither aggressive nor dangerous towards humans or other species alike, provided they're not agitated or disturbed.

Like any other animal, they will also respond in kind if they feel they are endangered.

Would they make a good pet?

The little Mariana fruit bats were victims of excessive hunting, but not for the pet trade or for domestication purposes. They were hunted because they were considered a delicacy in the Mariana islands. It's hard to imagine that these bats were domesticated because these already endangered species would not be extinct if that happened.

Did you know...

Little Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus tokudae) or Guam flying foxes got their name from their native land, Guam, or more specifically, the Mariana Islands.

The Guam flying fox's extinction

The three main reasons that led this already endangered species to extinction. Firstly, deforestation led to habitat loss for these bats as they are known to be arboreal.

Then the brown tree snake was introduced in Guam. This turned out to be an invasive species and led to the decrease in the populations of many avifauna species. Also, these bats were considered a delicacy to the people of the Mariana Islands.

Hence, they were hunted mercilessly for a long time. These led to the extinction of an already endangered species.

Do flying foxes attack?

There have not been any records of any old world fruit bats or flying foxes attacking humans or other animals. However, like any other animals, they could attack if they feel threatened by anyone.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Mexican free tailed bat facts and hoary bat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fruit bat coloring pages.

*We've been unable to source an image of Guam flying fox and have used an image of Indian flying fox instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Guam flying fox, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

Guam Flying Fox Facts

What Did They Prey On?

N/A

What Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

1-2

How Much Did They Weigh?

5.4 oz (152 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

primary forests, developing secondary forest, mature limestone forest of tropical countries

Where Do They Live?

Mariana islands

How Long Were They?

5.5-6 in (14-15 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Pteropus

Family

Pteropodidae

Scientific Name

Pteropus tokudae

What Do They Look Like?

Brownish yellow to gray, dark brown, light gold to brown

Skin Type

Hairy

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans and predators

What is their Conservation Status?

Extinct

Mariana islands

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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