Fun Tube-nosed Bat Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 20, 2022 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Tube-nosed bat facts - a fruit bat with prominent tubular nostrils.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Of all the weird-looking animals you can think of, the tube-nosed bat can give stiff competition to any. It is also popularly known as the eastern tube-nosed bat or the Queensland tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni).

It is commonly found in the rainforest region along the Queensland coast in northeastern Australia. These bat species are characterized by two raised tubular nostrils, after which it derives its name.

It is also known as the tube-nosed fruit bat as its primary diet comprises fruits like figs. There are different theories as to what purpose the tube-like nostrils serve.

Some scientists believe that it helps the animal breathe when they are eating. However, some studies by scientists also reveal that the tubes also have olfactory roles that help the mammal locate their food.

This mammal is unique and fascinating, so we will explore some fun tube-nosed fruit bat facts in this piece of content. If reading about these animals interests you, don't forget to check our posts on hoary bat facts and numbat facts.

Tube-Nosed Bat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tube-nosed bat?

A tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni) is a megabat and is also known as a fruit bat and an eastern tube-nosed bat.

What class of animal does a tube-nosed bat belong to?

An eastern tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni) belongs to the class Mammalia, order Chiroptera, and family Pteropodidae.

How many tube-nosed bats are there in the world?

An estimate of the population of this species of bats is not available. However, the eastern tube-nosed fruit bat is one of the 14 species of tube-nosed bats worldwide and is said to have a stable population on the east coast of Australia.

Where does a tube-nosed bat live?

An eastern tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni) lives in the rainforest, mixed forest, tropical woodland, heathland, and vegetation areas. This mammal species is also seen in vine forests and subtropical areas in the rainforest. Their population distribution range along the Queensland Coast in Australia, from New South Wales, extending to Cape York and to Torres Strait, and into New Guinea.

What is a tube-nosed bat's habitat?

This species of fruit bat typically like to roost in the forest canopy as it provides them sufficient camouflage from predators amidst the foliage. However, some are also found in stand-alone exposed fig trees at the height of 13.12-19.7 ft (4 to 6 m) above the ground.

They tend to choose fruit trees for roosting when the fruits are abundant and ripe; however, they can change their roosting site upon sensing any predators' presence.

Who do tube-nosed bats live with?

The eastern tube-nosed bat is a solitary species known to roost alone or in a small scattered group.

How long does a tube-nosed bat live?

Not much is known about the lifespan of these tube-nosed fruit bats. It is known that Old World fruit bats live for 30 years or more in captivity and the wild.

How do they reproduce?

More research is needed to understand the reproductive biology and mating system of this eastern tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni). However, like other old-world bat family members, they seem to have a long reproductive cycle that includes mating, pregnancy, and the lactation period.

They are also known to be seasonal breeders.

The breeding season starts from July to September, and the females give birth to one offspring between October to December. The gestation period is about three months, and it takes about four months or more for the baby to wean.

What is their conservation status?

This species of bats are listed as of Least Concern by the IUCN. The State Government of Queensland also lists the species in the least concern category as the population of the bats is stable in the region; however, in New South Wales, it is classified as vulnerable.

Tube-Nosed Bat Fun Facts

What do tube-nosed bats look like?

Tube-Nosed Bat can be found in rainforest of Queensland

*We've been unable to source an image of a Tube-Nosed Bat and have used an image of its habitat. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Tube-Nosed Bat, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

These bats are small to medium-sized fruit bats. They are characterized by bulging eyes, a short snout, tubular nostrils that rise 0.19-0.24 in (5-6 mm) above their face, small greyish heads, short brown wings, and small ears speckled with yellow and green spots.

No two of these bats have the same pattern of spots on their body, so each individual has a unique spot code. The spots help them camouflage into the environment.

Their fur is greyish-brown and gets paler on the dorsal side. The wings also have a dark line that extends from the back of its neck. The eastern tube-nosed bat has an average length of 3.9-4.3 in (10-11 cm).

They have a well-developed tail that measures 0.8-0.99 in (2-2.5 cm). These bats also sport a claw on the index finger.

They have a unique dentition and lack lower incisors, and lower canines make up for it. When roosting in their habitat, they camouflage well by wrapping their wings around their body, leaving the ears out.

How cute are they?

With bulging eyes, protruding nostrils, small ears, short wings, a tiny tail, and a smug face, the eastern tube-nosed bat cannot be said to be cute.

How do they communicate?

They communicate through a high-pitched whistling call when in flight. Its whistling call also indicates its presence in an area. The sound they make is actually 2-3 times higher than what humans can hear. They use their sense of sound to navigate their surroundings; making those weird calls when flying is crucial for them.

How big is a tube-nosed bat?

An eastern tube-nosed bat is a small to medium-sized bat. Its forearm measures in the range of 2.5-2.7 in (65-70 mm), while the length of its body is about 3.23-3.67 in (82-93 mm). The measure of its ears from the base to the tips is in the range of 0.6-0.8 in(16-20 mm).

How fast can a tube-nosed bat fly?

The exact speed of their flight is not known. It is seen that they are quite agile in their flight and can hover around when foraging for food. It gives out its whistling call when in flight.

How much does a tube-nosed bat weigh?

The average range of their weight is 1.06 to 1.76 oz (30 to 50 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names to distinguish the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby tube-nosed bat?

A baby eastern tube-nosed bat is called a pup.

What do they eat?

The eastern tube-nosed bat is a herbivore, particularly a frugivore, and its favorite fruit to feast on is figs. However, they also eat native exotic fruits like lillypilly, guava, and soursop.

They typically look for food near their day-roosting site. Sometimes they consume the fruits in the trees, and at times it carries away the fruit for later consumption. They can carry fruits that are about half of their body weight while in flight.

In captivity, these animals live on papaya, pears, citrus fruits, and bananas. They don't seem to drink water.

These bats are hunted by feral cats, large owls, and tree snakes.

Are they dangerous?

Like many other fruit bats, they can be a carrier of diseases. So, it's best to let them live in their natural settings.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these bats do not make good pets. They thrive in the wild in their natural habitat. As they need a lot of space to fly, they cannot be caged. In many countries, the law forbids keeping them as pets.

Did you know...

Their tube-like nostrils can respond by opening and closing in response to olfactory, auditory, and visual stimuli independent of each other.

These bat species play the unique role of being the only small seed-dispersers bats in the rainforest of Australia.

These bats show very little activity during full moon nights. One explanation is they have a lunar phobia, and they try to avoid predators that can see well on moon-light-flooded nights.

Why is the tube-nosed bat endangered?

These bats have a stable population distribution in Queensland, Australia. However, in NSW, the mammal is listed as vulnerable.

In many areas, they are considered fruit pests as they damage orchard fruits. In addition, habitat loss due to human development activities can adversely affect them.

They get stuck in barbed wire fences and nets around orchards and starve to death. Studies are underway by scientists to better understand their biology so that better strategies can be put in place to safeguard the bats and minimize damage to orchards in Australia.

How did the tube-nosed bat get its name?

The eastern tube-nosed bat gets its name because it has conspicuous protruding nostrils that rise 0.2-0.23 in (5 to 6 mm) above its face.

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 fruit bat facts and Mexican free-tailed bat facts pages.

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

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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