Photo: C & D
Australia's Wet Tropics
Spectacled Flying-fox Pteropus
It prefers to spend its time in the upper canopy of taller trees
in the rainforest, but can also be seen in swamps and mangroves. It is restricted in
Australia to the north-eastern wet regions of Queensland.
It is found in New Guinea and offshore islands including
Woodlark, Alcester, Kiriwina and Halmahera.
During the day, these bats spend their time in communal camps
found in the upper canopy. A camp may consist of tens of thousands of individuals.
They rarely sleep and are easy to locate as they squawk a lot of
the time amongst themselves, making the din within a camp quite deafening..
- The Spectacled Flying-fox is also known as the Spectacled Fruit-Bat.
- Three subspecies are recognised, but only one of these is in Australia.
- It has a limited range in Australia.
- The Spectacled flying fox was listed as a threatened species in May 2002.
- When it takes off, it beats its wings until its body is horizontal, then releases
its grip to fly forward (usually after dropping several metres first).
- They considerably damage smaller tree branches and after stripping a batch of
trees, the colony will move 50-100m away to a new area.
- They leave the camp at dusk to search for food, with most animals streaming off
in different directions, high up and in a purposeful manner. Only a few bats will search
for food near the camp in an apparently random way.
- They prefer the blossoms of mature hardwoods, especially the Northern Bloodwood
and the Apple Box. They are guided by their keen sense of smell, good nocturnal vision and
the feeding cries of other flying-foxes as they look for food.
- Some bats drink water while skimming over the surfaces they leave or return to
their camp. They have been seen drinking sea water in this way, and crocodiles have
snapped them up while doing so. Other predators include the Carpet Python and the
- Spectacled Flying-foxes have been kept in captivity for 17 years. Females can
breed after two years. Mating occurs between March and May, with one young being born to
each female from October to early December.
- Weight ranges from 400-600g, size (head and body length) from 220-240mm, and
forearm length from 155-175mm.