Fun Indian Flying Fox Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 20, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
There are so many fun Indian flying fox facts to know and learn about! Which one of these is your favorite?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the Indian flying fox! One of the heavyweights of the bat family, their size, wings, and general appearance is enough to scare even the bravest of us!

But fear not, these bats have never harmed humans. They are herbivores, and eat mostly decaying or broken fruit to satiate their hunger, and have not even harmed an insect (quite literally!) However, they are still very delicate and shy creatures, and should not be approached if you can help it.

Found all across Indian forests, the Indian flying fox is a type of bat that is mostly seen hanging upside down from many a tree, but never alone! This is a bat that enjoys living with other members of its family, with colonies up to several hundred members.

They choose their habitat based on how close they are to food, water, and forest, which often makes their habitat overlap with that of humans.

If you want to learn more about them, continue on, you are on the right track! Do not forget to take a look at other fun animals like the lesser horseshoe bat and big brown bat.

Indian Flying Fox Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Indian flying fox?

The Indian flying fox is a type of bat.

What class of animal does an Indian flying fox belong to?

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) belongs to the class of mammals.

How many Indian flying foxes are there in the world?

Although this species is ubiquitous and found easily across its range, no population estimates are available. But if we talk about another vulnerable bat species, the ghost bat population is estimated to number between 4,000-6,000 adult individuals, according to the IUCN Red List.

Where does an Indian flying fox live?

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus species) lives in tropical forests. In India, these animals can be found to be high in the Himalayas, inside the Northwestern deserts, as well as in the South and East tropical forests.

What is an Indian flying fox's habitat?

Forests and wetlands are home to these creatures. This animal prefers to roost in big, well-established colonies on exposed tree branches like fig, banyan, and tamarind, particularly in temples and urban areas.

Roosting trees (tall trees with a small diameter, such as canopy trees) are typically found near water sources, human settlements, and farmland. The availability of food plays a big role in the Indian flying-fox habitat selection.

Who do Indian flying foxes live with?

These bat species are gregarious species that live in big colonies of several hundred individuals. Male animals may establish a vertical dominance hierarchy of tree resting sites and protect the roost and related females from invaders.

How long does an Indian flying fox live?

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus species) can survive for 20–28 years in captivity. The Indian flying fox lifespan in captivity has the longest lifespan of any flying fox. The oldest one known was 31 years and 5 months old when it died.

How do they reproduce?

Male and female bats do not form pair bonds in this species as they are polygynandrous. These bats reproduce once a year, from July-October. From February-May, babies are born.

The gestation period is usually between 140-150 days. Female gives birth to one or two pups when the gestation period is completed. For the very first three weeks after birth, the offspring are held by the mother.

After this span of time, they start to hang themselves on the tree. Weaning begins around the age of five months. In parental care, only females are involved.

At around 11 weeks of age, newborn bats start to fly. At the age of 18–24 months, the female bats reach reproductive maturity. Male bats would spread their wings towards one female and pursue her until he can grasp the collar of her neck using his fangs and grip her with its thumbs.

What is their conservation status?

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) is classified as Least Concern by IUCN Red List.

Indian Flying Fox Fun Facts

What do Indian flying foxes look like?

The thumb bears a robust claw, as well as the wings, which extend from the sides of the dorsum and out of the back of the second toe. Only the first two digits of its own wings have claws, with the thumb having the more formidable claw, and all five fingers of its leg have claws.

It doesn't have a tail.

With its black body that is gently striped with gray color, a pale with yellow-brown cape, a brown-colored head, and a dark brownish shade of underparts, the Indian flying fox comes in a large range of colors. Its eyes are huge, its ears are plain, and it has little facial adornment. The head is oval in form.

The Indian flying fox species gets its name from its fox-like look.

How cute are they?

Due to their unsightly appearance and color, these animals are not considered cute or attractive. There are much cuter animals and birds around to look at instead!

How do they communicate?

These creatures are extremely clean by cleaning and grooming themselves on a regular basis. They do, however, communicate through scent. Camp trees, mates, and others of their kind are all identified by their odors. These animals communicate with one another in colonies as they wander around the nesting tree.

How big is an Indian flying fox?

The Indian flying fox's size is about 6.1–8.7 in (15.5-22.1 cm). The body length range is 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm) for the Rodrigues flying fox. This shows that the body length of Indian flying foxes is slightly larger than Rodrigues flying fox species.

How fast can an Indian flying fox move?

Indian flying foxes can move at 13.4 mph (21.6 kph) for three hours or more and can achieve the highest speeds of 19.3 mph (31 kph).

How much does an Indian flying fox weigh?

The Indian flying fox is India's and one of the world's largest bats, weighs up to 3.5 lb (1.6 kg). Its body mass range is 1.3–3.5 lb (0.6-1.6 kg), with males being slightly larger than females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) male and female don't have any significant name.

What would you call a baby Indian flying fox?

The baby Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) has no special name.

What do they eat?

Indian flying foxes, commonly known as Old World fruit bats, are nectarivorous or frugivorous. This species has been observed eating a variety of fruits (mango, guava, fig) as their food and drinking nectar from flowers.

Fruit bats press their pulp or juice against the top of their mouth to extract the fruit juices, then reject the dry debris. Ingested fruit seeds are scarified in the digestive system and distributed in the feces.

Some fruit bats eat insects in their diet to augment their protein intake. Flowers, cones, bark, seed pods, and twigs are also several types of food that are eaten by the Indian flying foxes.

Over 100 types of natural vines and trees provide flowers, fruits, and occasionally leaves for flying foxes to eat. They eat the fruit of imported plants are found in parks, gardens, orchards, and streetscaping to complement their diet.

Are they dangerous?

Diseases such as flaviviruses and henipaviruses may be transmitted naturally by the Indian flying fox. Domestic animals and humans can both die as a result of them.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping a fruit bat like a pet, including the Indian flying fox, is illegal in most countries. It is not only illegal in many places to keep a fruit bat in captivity, but it is also immoral from a humanistic standpoint.

Did you know...

The leaf-nosed bats known as vampire bats can be observed in Central and South America. Blood is their main source of nutrition. Additional foods consumed by these bats include pollen, nectar, fruit, insects, and meat. This species' population is located in enormous colonies of 20-100 animals, while considerably bigger colonies (about 5,000 individuals) have been documented.

Are Indian flying foxes dangerous?

Indian flying foxes are parasites in many areas because they do severe damage to fruit crops. These species may also be responsible for disease transmission, especially the Nipah virus, which caused severe illness or death.

What is the difference between a bat and a flying fox?

Fruit bats, sometimes known as flying foxes, are the biggest bats and thus essential members of the bat family. Flying foxes are herbivorous in general, and frugivorous in specifically, despite their bigger size. Fruit bats species do not have a tail, unlike microbats (excluding flying foxes).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our bat-eared fox facts and flying squirrel fatcs pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Indian flying fox coloring pages.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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