Bristol Zoo is home to 12 Livingstone fruit bats. These large orange-eyed bats have a wingspan of about 140cm and are sometimes called flying foxes, due to their dog-like muzzles and soft, thick and often reddish fur.
The bats fly using their long webbed fingers - their scientific name ‘Chiroptera’ is actually Greek for 'hand-wing'. In the wild, during the day time they roost at the tops of tall trees, occasionally stirring to squabble with their neighbours. As evening approaches they become more active and by morning, they return to their roost trees, where they will spend much of the day hanging upside down from the branches.
Here at Bristol Zoo you can visit our fruit bats in their custom built, walk through enclosure.
As their name suggests, these bats eat fruit. In the wild, they leave their roost trees towards dusk and fly off in search of trees laden with ripe fruits, on which they gorge themselves.
This species live in tropical rainforest and dry forest in the Comoros Islands (between Madagascar and Mozambique); the only place they are found in the world. During the day time they roost upside down at the tops of tall tree branches.
Livingstone’s fruit bats are one of the rarest bat species in the world and are listed as Critically Endangered.
The population is under threat from severe habitat destruction in the Comoros Islands. There is immense pressure on the tropical forests of Anjouan and Moheli, where the bats live. At Bristol Zoo, we’re working hard to protect this important species with the support of Airbus.
When Livingstone's fruit bats go the toilet they hold on to a branch using their thumbs and turn themselves the right way up! They also like to use their urine to wash themselves.
You can find our Livingstone fruit bats in their fruit bat walkthrough next to the red pandas, just off the Top Terrace
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