Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat
Scientific Name: Epomophorus wahlbergi
Description: These bats are greyish
brown, russet, or tawny in colour. Air sacks are present on the necks of males.
These sacks are used in food collection, and may aid in creating a megaphone
effect of the calls used by males to attract females during courtship. The males
have shoulder epaulets that are used in courtship displays.
Distribution: The Wahlberg's
fruit bat can be found in Africa, anywhere south of the Sahara desert. These
bats live in woodland and savannah areas, and prefer the edges of forests.
During the summer, they migrate in large numbers to Tzaneen, in the Zoutpansberg
district of South Africa, attracted by the ripening crop of guavas.
Difference in Sex:
Size: The total body length is between
125mm and 250mm long, and the wing span in males is about 508mm.
Weight: 40 to 120 g
Habitat: During the day, they live in
hollow trees, underneath large leaves, and beneath the eaves of buildings. They
often roost where there in considerable light. Every few days, they will move to
a new roosting site. They roost in small groups containing mixed ages of males
and females, the size of which range from three to one hundred individuals. They
often choose the same spot to roost, at certain times of the year, for many
consecutive years. While hanging from their feet in their roosts, they will
isolate themselves from their neighbours by short distances. While roosting, they
remain relatively quiet, and do not move very much. They make it a point to not
intrude on each other's space.
Habits: Once the fruit ripens, they
group together in the tree for several nights, and eat the ripened fruit. They
often completely strip the tree of all of its fruit. These bats are active
mostly in the evening and at night, but have been observed flying in the
Main feeding time: nocturnal
Gestation: Gestation lasts from five to
Number of young at birth: Young are born
singly, in most cases, but twins are occasionally seen
Diet: These bats are frugivorous. They
chew the fruit, swallow the juice, and spit out most of the pulp and seeds. They
swallow some of the softer pulp, and some of the seeds. They also chew flowers
to get the nectar and juices. They feed on figs, mangoes, guavas, bananas,
peaches, apples, papayas, and small berries. The smell of ripening fruit is what
attracts them to their food source.