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Animal Data > Rodrigues Fruit Bat

(Pteropus rodricensis)

Status Distribution Sexually Mature
Critically Endangered Rodrigues Island (Indian Ocean) 2 years
Number of Young Gestation Life Span
2 140 days 30 years

The Rodrigues bats have good senses of sight and smell that they use for navigation. They fly to fruit trees to feed at dusk. They feed mainly on the fruit juices, squeezing pieces of fruit pulp into their mouths, swallowing the juice and spitting out the pulp and seeds. If the pulp is very soft eg. banana, they will swallow some of it. The bats also chew eucalyptus and other flowers to obtain juices and pollen. They drink whilst flying to and from the feeding sites. Some will drink sea water, this provides them with the mineral salts lacking in the plant food. They will rest and digest their food at the feeding sites for several hours, then return to the roost site. Rodrigues bats roost in trees and may use the same roosting site year after year. During daylight hours there is much noise and motion in the roosts.

The Rodrigues bat may once have occurred on Mauritius and Round Island but disappeared soon after these islands were settled. They are now only known to occur on Rodriguez Island where they used to be abundant, but by 1974 their numbers had dropped to just 70. The fact that this species is restricted to this small island makes them very vulnerable. They have been seriously affected by the clearing of forests on the island. This gives easier access to hunters trapping the bats for meat, and also destroys the buffering protection the trees provided against the cyclone winds. Conservation efforts have helped to increase numbers to about 1,000 by 1995.

Main Features

The Rodrigues bat has a dog like face with large, widely separated, simple ears.

In Captivity

In 1976 Gerald Durrell set up a captive breeding colony at Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Marwell’s group arrived in 2001. The group is an all female colony made up of animals from breeding colonies in other zoos. They are fed on chopped fruit, cabbage and carrot plus some soaked leaf-eater pellets. They are occasionally given leaves and flower heads. Their favourite foods are banana and papaya. The lights in their enclosure are dimmed during the day and turned on full at night.

©2009 Marwell Wildlife