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Rodrigues fruit bat

Pteropus rodricensis

Rodrigues fruit bat

Rodrigues fruit bats are also known as Rodrigues flying foxes, due to their fox-like facial features. They are brightly coloured and can be yellow, orange and red or silver and black.

They have small bodies but the lightweight bones in their wings make it easier for them to fly. The bats are active at sunrise and sunset when they go hunting for food. This species was first brought to captivity as conservationists were worried that a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, could easily wipe out their small population on the island of Rodrigues. The Rodrigues fruit bats at Belfast Zoo are found in the Rainforest house where they share their humid home with a number of exotic bird species.

In 2018 we welcomed the arrival of nine critically endangered Rodrigues fruit bats from Chester Zoo.

Habitat
Rainforest

Diet - Herbivore
This bat eats fruits, such as bananas, mangoes and papayas, as well as plant material and insects.

Size
They can be up to 20 centimetres (cm) long with a wingspan of 90cm. They can weigh up to 350 grams.

Location
Rodrigues fruit bats are found in the rainforests of Rodrigues Island, in the Indian Ocean.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes the Rodrigues fruit bat faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The species is listed under Appendix II of CITES.

Threats
The biggest cause of their decline is the destruction of their habitat due to agriculture and logging. They are also hunted as food.

Current population
Rodrigues fruit bats are extinct on Mauritius and Round Island and are now only found on Rodrigues Island. There are between 2,000 and 4,000 bats left but the population has been as low as 70 individuals.

Zoo population
There is an EEP for Rodrigues fruit bats. There are around 800 bats living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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