Rodrigues Fruit Bat
Endemic to Rodrigues Island
Primary growth rainforest
Body Length:6 inches
Wingspan: 36 inches
Weight: 350 grams
Up tp 15 years in captivity
Wild: Fruit juices and pulp, occasionally insects
Zoo: Various types of fruit and vegetables, dog food, occasionally eggs
Gestation: 150 days
Litter size: 1 pup
Deep chocolate brown with a slightly golden ruff around the shoulders
About the Animal:This fruit-eating was once of the most endangered bats in the world. Found only on Rodrigues Island in the Mauritius, it was nearly extirpated by habitat destruction and tropical cyclones.
Enter zoo breeding programs, specifically that of the Durrell Trust. They created an in situ breeding program on the island to re-populate the species. This program has been successful enough that the animal has been down-graded from critically endangered to just endangered. This is a huge step, but there is more work to be down to ensure this species doesn’t disappear.
Rodrigues Fruit Bats are dependent on primary growth forest – most of which has been cut down. Only a small pocket remains on the island, and it is currently home to the entire wild population of this species. However, conservationists and the native peoples of Rodrigues have been working hard to re=plant native trees, thus not only restoring the native ecosystem, but creating more habitat for this bat.
Mating and Reproduction: Gestation for these large bats is 5 months – a long time considering the size of the animal. Infants are born fully furred with eyes open and are able to cling to their mother’s fur right away. Fruit bats do not form lasting pair bonds, and the male provides no assistance in child rearing.
Amazing Information: Rodrigues Fruit bats are one of only three endemic species remaining on Rodrigues Island.