Straw-coloured fruit Bat

Fruit Bat
A fruit bat © Oregon Zoo / Photo by Carli Davidson

Straw-colored Fruit Bat, Eidolon helvum, is a species of bats, called Àdón in Yoruba, a mammal having the distinguishing feature of their forelimbs being developed as wings, thereby becoming the only mammal that flies. The neck and back of this species display the straw color, hence the name, while the ventral side of the body is a duller color of brown or grey. The Straw-colored fruit bat is an extremely social animal; traveling in colonies of hundred thousands. Particularly large populations of this animal colonize the main campus of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Populations migrate from the southern forest zones of Nigeria north into the savanna zone during the major wet season. They roost in tall trees, and go off at night to forage for ripe fruits and floral parts in small groups. After noisily sucking out the juice from a fruit, they discard the pulp, which makes them important pollinators and seed dispersers. The fruit bat is also important in the local economy as its roosting activities cause extensive mechanical damage to some economically important trees like oil palm and Iroko. This species has an expected lifespan of 15 years.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer