Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creature Feature: Large Flying Fox.

Well, Halloween is fast approaching. So too is the freaky Theme Week starting on Halloween. You all have waited very patiently for it, so prepare for a horror the likes of which you have never seen before! *Insert evil laugh here.*

Until then, we have a classic fixture in Halloween decor: A giant bat.

This is NOT a sparklebat.

This particular bat, a Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus), is the largest bat in the world. It is also called the Malaysian Flying Fox, Greater Flying Fox, or Kalang. It is native to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. There are many species of flying foxes, but they all have a few things in common: They have almost doglike faces, cannot echolocate, are usually threatened, and can scare the excrement out of small children.

Don't let the "vampyrus" in its name fool you- these bats do not suck blood and are definitely not vampires in disguise. Megabats like the flying fox feed on nectar and fruit. The bats serve as pollinators in their native habitat, meaning that the giant bats have the same ecological function as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. One of those things is not like the others, but hey, whatever works.

The Large Flying Fox is, well, large. Although it weighs only 3 pounds, that's a lot for a bat. It also has a wingspan of up to 6 feet. They eat in groups of up to 50 individuals and are very noisy; put together an image of 50 giant bats all in the same place for some real Halloween material!

From Superstock! :D

Due to much of its habitat being in danger, the Greater Flying Fox is considered near-threatened. Farmers may kill them, seeing them as crop pests. There's another reason for this bat's sudden decline in population, but, well...let's save that for next week.

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