I took this photo of a grey-headed flying fox exactly eleven years ago in Australia, but I deleted it from my photo archives because it interested me in so many ways. This is one of the native Australian animals I wanted to photograph during my visit.
Grey-headed flying fox with its young
She is a mother who suckles her young! Bats are mammals like you and me and they produce milk to feed their young. the little bat in the photo (you can see its Viennese color) hangs upside down and extends its little neck as far as possible to reach its mother’s nipple. Yes, they hang upside down all day, so of course they are breastfeeding upside down! There is one exception: bats turn to the right and give Thumbs up when it’s time to poop!
The grey-headed flying fox is Australia’s largest bat
Australia is a country of giant bats, and it is the largest bat of all – the gray-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus). The wingspan of matures reaches three feet! This species of bat mates once a year. Conception occurs in June-May, and after four months of pregnancy, only one baby is born in October-November.
Why are these Australian animals called Flying foxes?
You can really see why these Australian animals are called flying foxes. This bat has a cute little dog snout and a nice fox fur. They are also known as fruit bats (because they feed on pollen, nectar and fruits! and I love the calm expression on her face.
One way to distinguish a gray-headed flying fox from other flying foxes is through its fur. the fur on the legs of the gray-headed flying fox reaches the ankles! Flying foxes with fur.
Its loose claw is used for the care
Look at these awesome “on the thumb” claws! On the wing of the young bat, it can be clearly seen that the bones almost exactly resemble a human hand, only they are longer and thinner. Imagine if you had longer finger bones with skin between them. Do you think you could fly? Also notice how mom uses this big loose claw for self-care. Fantastic!
Flying Foxes at Yarra Bend Park
Flying foxes sit in huge noisy colonies during the day, and diverge to feed at night. I photographed this particular settlement in November 2002 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, in the city centre. at that time, this small park was home to almost 20, 000 flying foxes! I had no idea that just a few months after my visit (March 2003) they would start a massive campaign to remove all bats from the park. They managed to scare them all (to preserve the trees and plants that had suffered in the Botanical Garden) and move the settlement several kilometers to Yarra Band Park, Kew. the photo I took shows the last summer they spent in the Garden.