Flying Foxes – Did You Know…

… that the grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) is a megabat native to Australia? The species shares mainland Australia with three other members of the genus Pteropus: the little red flying fox (P. scapulatus), the spectacled flying fox (P. conspicillatus), and the black flying fox.

The grey-headed flying fox is endemic to the south-eastern forested areas of Australia, principally east of the Great Dividing Range. Its range extends approximately from Bundaberg to Geelong in Victoria, with outlying colonies in Ingham and Finch Hatton in the north, and in Adelaide in the south. In the southern parts of its range it occupies more extreme latitudes than any other Pteropus species.


The grey-headed flying fox is the largest bat in Australia. This flying fox has a dark-grey body with a light-grey head and a reddish-brown neck collar of fur. It is unique among bats of the genus Pteropus in that fur on the legs extends all the way to the ankle. Adults have an average wingspan up to 1 m (3.3 ft) and can weigh up to 1 kg (2.2 lb). The head and body length is between 230 and 289 mm (9.1 and 11.4 in), with an average of 253 mm (10.0 in). The forearm length is between 138 and 180 mm (5.4 and 7.1 in), with an average of 161 mm. Weight generally varies between 600 and 1,000 g (1.3 and 2.2 lb), with an average of 677 g (1.493 lb). It is tailless, with claws on its first and second digits. Since it does not echolocate, it lacks tragus or leaf ornamentation found in most species of bats (also called Microchiroptera). It relies on sight to locate its food (nectar, pollen and native fruits) and thus has relatively large eyes for a bat.

The grey-headed flying fox is long-lived for a mammal of its size. Individuals reportedly survived in captivity for up to 23 years, and a maximum age of up to 15 years seems possible in the wild.

And by the way: I love watching them fly by…

31 thoughts on “Flying Foxes – Did You Know…

  1. Illuminating post – I always thought Flying Foxes were airline stewardesses.

    There ya go, you see. An old dog can learn new tricks but I must say I still prefer getting up to airborne tricks at a mile high and it has other advantages too.

    At that height, binocular using contributors to WordPress can’t spot us and then report back in critical measurement details – I wouldn’t fancy my “head and length” being reported on ‘ere for all and sundry to know about – it might put potential paramours off !!

    Cheers ~ ‘ter
    ps – and by the way, I am NOT tailless and there are no claws on my digit either !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always wanted one as a pet, of course living in Canada that can never happen, don’t think our climate is warm enough for them, that and fruits are really expensive here , keeping one stocked in it’s favorite fruits could be very costly

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The flying fox and the water rat have a lot in common you know. Their both mammals and a mate of mine said that flying foxes look like water rats with wings, so there you have it – QED (and no, that isn’t short for Queensland).

    As it happens I’ve got a rat in my house and it’s been here for bloody ages.

    I’ve tried numerous humane methods to get rid of it. Sawn off shotgun, a grain of sarin gas, sledge hammers delicately placed above various doors, I’ve even offered to pay her costs for a divorce lawyer, but will she bite?

    Never; she refuses to budge!

    Cheers ~ ‘ter

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We love bats and would love to get/make a bat house! I couldn’t imagine seeing a bat a meter across. A couple years ago I reading Stellaluna to a class and afterwards we were studying bats. One student asked how big a bat can get. That’s when I learned of the Flying Fox. We were all amazed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know when you learn about something and then you kind of forget? And then you are faced with it and remember again? That was what happened to me with the Flying Fox when I saw them fly out up in Sydney one of the first years we were here in Down Under…

      Liked by 1 person

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