Top 10 Largest Bats in the World

Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis)
Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis)

More than 1300 species of bats or roughly a quarter of the world’s mammal species are well-known. Before you panic about these furry creatures at night, let me enlighten you on the role of bats in our ecosystem. We will discuss the 10 largest bats in the world.

  • A sole brown bat is proficient in eating thousands of insects at night.
  • Bats can pollinate and disperse the seeds from countless plants counting bananas and mangoes.

These are actually enthralling nocturnal creatures with their face akin to foxes, having large strong claws, long wings, and distinctive behavior. You would have certainly heard about flying foxes which is an exemplar of the largest group of bats in the world- The Megabats. We will come across the 10 largest bats in the world and will make out some cool facts about this fascinating creature.

1. Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus)

  • Description: It is a large megabat that is oversized with a wingspan of about 8.5 inches. The bat weighs about 3 pounds. The Giant golden-crowned flying fox eats figs as well as leaves from various plants.
  • Habitat: It is found exclusively in the Philippines. They live in deep caves as well as rain forests. They can either live on one island or can move to another island for survival. The bat is critically endangered and needs to be conserved before extinction.
  • Economic Importance: These bats all along with other species are used as a tourist attraction. These bats are also hunted for consumption.

Also Read: 10 Different Animals That Start With V

Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus)
Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus)

Image Source: Wikimedia

2. Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonni)

  • Description: Livingstone’s fruit bats are black or dark brown colored with huge round ears and copper colored eyes. They are hefty bats with wingspan up to 5 feet long. They nourish plants, fruits, and leaves. These are critically endangered bats.
  • Habitat: These are found only on the islands of Anjouan and Moheli. They are also found in some parts of Comoros islands off the coast of Madagascar. Roosts are found in native trees, steeps, and slopes.
  • Economic Importance: These bats are at times used as food by humans. They are also a vital member of the ecosystem. They assist in dispersal and pollination.
Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonni)
Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonni)

Image Source: Wikimedia

3. Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis)

  • Description: These are stunning golden bats and nourish utterly on coconuts and dry fruits. It is a species of megabat endemic to Indonesia. It is considered vulnerable by IUCN due to unsustainable levels of hunting.
  • Habitat: The species are found in Sulawesi, Buton and Indonesian islands like Mangole, Selayar and Sanana. These bats favor low-land habitats.
  • Economic Importance: These bats are ready to lend a hand in scattering seeds as well as pollination.
Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis)
Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis)

Image Source: Wikimedia

4. Insular Flying Fox (Pteropus tonganus)

  • Description: It is a black-backed bat with an orange or yellowish mantle. They weigh up to around 565 grams.
  • Habitat: Pteropus tonganus lives in a variety of habitats and are found in low land or native forests. Roosts are positioned on cliffs above the oceans or mountainsides. These bats also utilize marshy, agricultural, and residential areas.
  • Economic Importance: These forest animals are hunted by local people for subsistence. They are used in exotic food markets and for medicinal purposes.
Insular Flying Fox (Pteropus tonganus)
Insular Flying Fox (Pteropus tonganus)

Image Source: Wikimedia

5. Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus)

  • Description: It is also known as Mariana flying fox. These are medium-sized bats and males are usually larger than females. They have fox-like heads and are brown to dark brown coloured.
  • Habitat: The Marina fruit bats dwell in the mangrove forests and coastal areas. Roosts are found on cliffs or at winds and human protected locations.
  • Economic Importance: Mariana flying foxes habitually eat the fruits of Cycads making their meat noxious which can lead to a deadly disease.

Also Read: ‘Dracula’ bat: Jawbone of a giant vampire bat dating back 100,000 years is discovered in an Argentinian cave

Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus)
Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus)

Image Source: Wikimedia

6. Straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum)

  • Description: It is the second-largest fruit bat in Africa. It is having wingspan upto 1 meter and weighs up to 350 grams. These bats are strong fliers with long wings. Their bodies differ from straw colour to pale yellow or dark brown-grey colour.
  • Habitat: The straw-coloured fruit bat lives in a wide range of habitats across sub-Saharan Africa. They prefer moist tropical forests because of plenty of fruits.
  • Economic Importance: These are pollinators of certain flowers. They do seed dispersal through their faeces.
Straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum)
Straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum)

Image Source: Wikimedia

7. Lyle’s Flying Fox (Pteropus lylei)

  • Description: These are the largest bats in the world as some of the species have a wingspan of up to 2 meters and weigh about 1.5 Kg. They don’t have tails. Their face bears a resemblance to the small fox.
  • Habitat: Lyle’s Flying Foxes are found in the central plains of Thailand, towns of Bangkok, Vietnam and Cambodia. It is a species of limited distribution that roosts by day in large colonies in villages, cities, towns and areas where they are free of persecution.
  • Economic Importance: These bats chew the fruits and seeds are dispersed through faeces. These also act as pollinators for some plants and trees.
Lyle’s Flying Fox (Pteropus lylei)
Lyle’s Flying Fox (Pteropus lylei)

Image Source: Wikimedia

8. Fijian monkey-faced bat (Mirimiri acrodonta)

  • Description: These bats weigh about 222-362 grams. Their fur is relatively thick and even hides their ears. Their eyes are orange in colour. They are listed perilously endangered by IUCN.
  • Habitat: They are found only on the third-largest island of Fiji, Taveuni. They are the only megabats that are widespread in Fiji. These bats generally roost in pairs on trunks of large trees. Only six species of Fijian monkey-faced bat are observed yet.
Fijian monkey-faced bat (Mirimiri acrodonta)
Fijian monkey-faced bat (Mirimiri acrodonta)

Image Source: Wikimedia

9. Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)

  • Description: The face and head of Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat look a lot like a dog. These are usually greyish brown in colour. These are strong fliers and can trek 10 Km to stumble on the food.
  • Habitat: These can be found in Africa, usually live on Edges of forests. During summer they migrate to Taiwan.
  • Economic Importance: These bats are vital for seed dispersal in tropical areas. They play a vast role in the preservation of rainforests. These bats pollinate the baobab which is a chief tree in Africa.
Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)
Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)

Image Source: Wikimedia

10. Long-tongued fruit bat (Macroglossus sobrinus)

  • Description: Long-tongued fruit bat is one of the smallest megabats. It nourishes utterly on nectar from banana flowers. These are dioecious, sexual and viviparous.
  • Habitat: It is regarded as an inland species. Its range includes Asia, Columbia, China, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Economic Importance: These are pollinators of wild bananas that are one of the far and wide consumed fruit. These bats have antigens for viruses containing rabies which is a precarious human disease.
Long-tongued fruit bat (Macroglossus sobrinus)
Long-tongued fruit bat (Macroglossus sobrinus)

Image Source: Wikimedia

These are the largest bats in the world. Kindly share and do post your comments.

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