Straw-coloured Fruit Bat
The Straw-coloured Fruit Bat (Eidolon helvum) is the most widely distributed of all the African megabat
Megabats constitute the suborder Megachiroptera, family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera . They are also called fruit bats, old world fruit bats, or flying foxes.-Description:...

s. It is quite common throughout its area ranging from southwestern Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, forest and savanna
A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.Some...

 zones of Africa (south of the Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

) and to the offshore island of Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. Even though these bats appear in large numbers, they have recently been upgraded to Near Threatened
Near Threatened
Near Threatened is a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future, although it does not currently qualify for the threatened status...

 on the IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

 due to a decreasing population trend. They travel in massive colonies of at least 100,000 and sometimes massing to 1 million. Their neck and back are a yellowish-brown colour, while their underside is tawny olive or brownish. This is one of the larger species of fruit bats.


The Straw-coloured Fruit Bat got their name from the silky yellowish or straw colour of their exterior, the colour of the wings are black, and the back hair is pale and somewhat tawny. Males are generally bright orange, compared to the females which are usually silky yellowish. They have huge cheeks, eyes, and ears. The average weight of these bats is ranged from eight to twelve ounces and grows to 5.7 to 9 inches in length. It could have wings span up to 30 inches; though males are generally larger than females. Further details goes into the anatomy of the bat. The bats heart is very large, and its wings are long and tip tapered. The cheeks of the bat are also large like little pouches.


The taxonomy of E. hevlum (Straw-coloured Fruit Bat) are megabats from the family Pteropodidae in the order of Chiroptera.


The Straw-coloured Fruit Bat is a highly social species. They tend to live in groups of over 100,000 and at times that number may increase to almost one million. In the nighttime, the colony leaves the roost in smaller groups to find any food which is in forests near to their environment or any plantations that also may be near.

They find food by sight and smell and also have been seen chewing on soft wood for the moisture. These bats can also pollinate and disperse seeds among the forests, and although they feed at night, it does not mean that they are nocturnal. During the day, they will be found resting moving along the colony. Year to year, season to season, the bats will be using the same place that they found food the previous year or season.

These animals live in large colonies and they are ecologically important pollinators and seed dispersers.


The diet of the Straw-coloured Fruit Bats varies depending on whether they are domesticated in zoos, or out in the wild. Non domesticated bats (not in the zoo) usually eat bark, flowers, leaves, nectar and fruits. In Zoos, they are fed various bat mix, apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and cantaloupe. In some zoos they are also fed a marmoset diet and vegetables. This bat is the main agent of seed dispersal
Seed dispersal
Seed dispersal is the movement or transport of seeds away from the parent plant. Plants have limited mobility and consequently rely upon a variety of dispersal vectors to transport their propagules, including both abiotic and biotic vectors. Seeds can be dispersed away from the parent plant...

 for the rare African tree Milicia excelsa
Milicia excelsa
Milicia excelsa is a tree species from tropical Africa. It is found in Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda,...



Eidolon helvum is the most widely distributed fruit bat in Africa, and perhaps the world. It appears mainly in Africa, mostly among the sub-saharan climates, and in many forest and savanna zones, around the southwestern Arabian peninsula, and also found in Madagascar. Specifically the bats are mainly found in tropical forests, but also found in urban areas where human activity does not seem to disturb it. The savannas is also another key area where the fruit bat is also found. It has been found at a max altitude of 6,562 ft (2,000 m). It prefers tall trees for roosts. And country wise, it is found mainly around south of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique is used usually for migration purposes.
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