The spectacled flying fox is a megabat that lives in Australia’s north-eastern regions of Queensland.
Spectacled flying foxes are large black colored bats with yellow rings surrounding their eyes that make them look like they are wearing glasses, giving them the nickname “Spectacled bats”. They are also known as “Spectacled Fruit Bats” because they diet primarily consists of fruit.
Their other identifying trait is a yellow mantle covering the top of their head, neck, shoulders and upper back. On the end of their wings they have a single hook that they use to move around in the trees and their feet look more like hands with five fingers and sharp claws. These features are seen in the pictures below.
Bats camp together
Spectacled flying foxes are highly social forming large groups called “camps” during the daytime. These camps can contain hundreds or even thousands of bats.
Daytime is rest time?
It was surprising to me to see the bats moving around in the trees during the daytime but they spend very little time actually sleeping. Some of the bats were hanging with their eyes closed but many others were wide awake with their eyes open.
Many of the bats were interacting with each other during the day as some of the bats were hanging in pairs.
Others bats appeared to be fighting as they looked like they were biting and clawing at one another.
The final two photo are two of my favorite because the show some of the details of the bat. The first photo has a good view of the bats wing and hand. The second photo has a nice view of the bats head with its eyes looking straight at me, mouth wide open and the sun highlighting its ear and face.
Location: Cairns, Australia
Diet: feeds mostly on rainforest fruits with some eucalyptus nectar and pollen.
Height: Body height is 8 to 10 inches but when they are hanging by their legs they look larger. Their wing span is almost 5 feet making them very large when flying.
Weight: up to 2 pounds.
Lifespan: 12 to 30 years
Reproduction: Females give birth to a single baby (pup) per year and the newborn bat is nursed by its mother for about 5 months.
Interesting Fact: The saying “blind as a bat” is a myth. Bats are not blind, bats do not rely heavily on their sight but flying foxes do use their vision to locate fruit. Flying foxes can see up to 1 kilometer at night.
At dusk the bats leave their camps to forage for food.
During our stay in Cairns, Australia we enjoyed watching the sunset from our hotel balcony. Every night the bats would fly past us on their way to find food. Some of the bats would land in the trees below us causing the entire tree to shake and some of the tree limbs looked like a monkey had jumped on it.
Bats aren’t the prettiest or most popular animal to watch but they are unusual from almost any other creature. Their head looks like a fox or a small dog, they have wings with no feather and they hang upside down all day long. Weird!