Bats With 6 Foot Wings

As the sun goes down every evening in Northern Australia, millions of huge dark-winged creatures dominate the skies.  They are an imposing sight, but these black flying foxes are just big harmless bats, the biggest in the world. Their wing-span can reach a whopping six feet.  Given that the smallest bat weighs less than a penny, that’s pretty big.  Nearly one quarter of the world’s mammal species are bats.  160 of these are in Provost and 60 of these are called flying foes, for their unique looking fox-like faces.  The black flying fox babies can’t fly for the first month, which means the moms have to carry them even after they become air-born.  At night they search for food and nectar ,mainly through sight and smell.  Like other fruit bats and Vampire bats, black flying foxes don’t rely on echo location.  During the day they live in huge colonies or camps, housing up to a hundred thousand flying foxes. Usually they stay relatively cool by roosting in nearby Mango and paper bark trees that sit in water. But sometimes even this location isn’t cool enough   I couldn’t wear black fur coat in the intense Australian heat.  You can imagine why they fan themselves and when that doesn’t work they lick themselves.  They cool down a little as their saliva evaporates.  But with a hundred thousand bats in the same grove of trees, things are bound to heat up. Fights often break out over which branch belongs to who.  They defend their tree. But they rarely break in. Mostly it’s just a lot of noisy posturing.  Posturing aside, this big black flying creature is nothing more than a fuzzy foxy-looking vegetarian.