Indian Flying Fox : The only Flying Mammal
Indian Flying Fox
Indian Flying Fox (in flight)
· During morning walk inside famous Nana Rao Park (also known as Company Bagh) at Kanpur, we sighted a number of large –sized bats hanging on tree branches on either sides of walking track. Seeing the large colony of bats, curiosity generated and we clicked a number of photographs. Later we identified them as ‘Indian Flying Fox’ which is one of the largest bat in the world. They belong to the class of ‘Mammalia’ and are the only flying mammal which make them unique. They are also known as ‘Greater Indian Fruit Bats’.
Salient Features of Indian Flying Fox :
· They are very agile, gregarious, arboreal and nocturnal which roost in large colonies on open tree branches, buildings with limited natural lights.
· As they do not lay eggs and do not have proper wings & tails, they are not classified as birds. They are mammalian. Their forelimbs adapted as thin membrane which enable them to fly. The wing spans from 1.20 to 1.50 m while fully stretched.
· It has claws on its first two digits of wings and five digits on its leg, As it does not have strength to perch on tree branches, it hangs itself upside down with help of claws. As soon as it releases from tree branch, it changes its position facing downward and fly with the help of thin membrane.
· As it has large eyes similar to fox, it is named as Flying Fox.
· They emit ultrasonic sounds to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing sound pulses with the returning echoes, they can know about their surroundings and presence of prey. They are capable to navigate at night by using this system of acoustic orientation (or echolocation). It is believed the concept of RADAR has been developed based on this capability of bats.
· They feed mainly on ripe fruits such as mangoes, bananas, guavas, sugarcane, bees, wasps, etc.
· The sounds made by flying foxes generally consist of squealing, shrieking and cackling calls.
· Its scientific name is ‘Pteropus Medius’ and belongs to ‘ Pteropodidae ‘ family.
· Its Hindi name is ‘ चमगादड़ ‘.
· IUCN conservation status: Least Concern (LC).
# The Indian Flying Foxes are very important for agriculture and our ecosystem. They help in seed dispersion and pollination process which increases food production.