Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)
Fruit bats are known for their cute foxy faces and large eyes. They roost during the day and wrap their wings tightly around their body leaving only their head peeping out. Bats bodies are designed perfectly for hanging upside down. Their toes naturally close to hold onto their roosts without having to use any extra energy. Hanging upside down also gives bats a safe place to rest away from predators – on the ceilings of caves, in trees and in buildings.
Fruit bats become active soon after sunset to look for small fruit to eat like mangoes, figs and nectar. They do not echolocate so instead rely on their strong sense of smell and large eyes to find food. (Echolocation is when bats make high frequency calls and then listen for echoes to bounce from objects in front of them. They form pictures in their brains by listening to the echoes – just like we form pictures in our brains by interpreting reflected light with our eyes.)
The main threat to these bats is deforestation - when forests are cut down so are bat’s roosts. Many bats have lost their homes when their natural habitat is destroyed to make way for plantations, homes and farming.
What can you do?
1. Install a bat house
You can help create safe roosts for bats to live in by putting up a bat house. To find out how visit www.batcon.org
2. Visit a bat location
Bats roost all over Sri Lanka – why not visit and observe a bat colony to appreciate how gentle and wonderful these endangered animals are.
3. Join a conservation group
Find out about local bat monitoring or education groups near you to help protect the bats in your area.
» Find out how else you can help to protect Sri Lanka's endangered species
Illustration by Asia Hewapathirana
Posted by Rainforest Rescue International at 12:09 AM