Philippine Flying Fox - Characteristics and Feeding

Philippine flying fox: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Mammals have conquered many environments...

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Mammals have conquered many different environments, such as the marine environment and the land environment. However, in the aerial case, bats are the only mammals capable of flight in a manner similar to birds. They are a very varied group and generally speaking stories have been spread about them which in many cases exceed the reality. In this issue of PlanèteAnimal, we wanted to introduce you to one of the most unique bats that exist, known as the Philippine flying fox.Read on and find out why it's a species that stands out from other bats!


  • Asia
  • Philippines

Taxonomic classification of the Philippine flying fox

Also known as Golden-crowned Fruit Bat, to get to know it better, we will first detail its taxonomic classification:

  • Reign: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammals
  • Order: Bats
  • Family: Pteropodidae
  • Genus: Acerodon
  • Species: Acerodon jubatus
  • Subspecies: A. j. jubatus, A.j. mindanensis, A.j. lucifer (extinct)

Characteristics of the Philippine Flying Fox

Here are some of the characteristics of the Philippine flying fox that make it such a special bat. Among them, it is worth highlighting:

  • The weight of this bat varies from 1 kilo to about 1.2 kilo.
  • The wingspan is 1.5-1.7 meters.
  • The size, head and body included, can reach between 18 and nearly 30 centimeters. These characteristics make it one of the largest and heaviest bats in the world.
  • Males are generally larger than females. This trait is known as sexual dimorphism. You can learn more about sexual dimorphism: definition, curiosities and examples in this article from PlanèteAnimal that we recommend.
  • The external tragus are relatively simple.
  • The ears are long and pointed.
  • The muzzle is prominent and surrounded by very little hair.
  • The eyes are large, as well as bright. If you have any doubts about bat blindness, find out the answer in this other article.
  • The wings have a claw on the second toe.
  • The teeth are sharp, except for the last molars.
  • The fur covers the whole body, except the wings, around the eyes and ears.
  • Color may vary but tends to be dark brown to black on forehead and sides of head. Its shoulders are reddish brown and darker below. The nape varies from cream to golden yellow and the yellow hairs are usually scattered throughout the coat.

Philippine Flying Fox Habitat

The Philippine flying fox is, as its name suggests, endemic to the Philippines region. However, there are three islands where it is not present: the island of Palawan and the islands of Batanes and Babuyan.

Its main habitat is forested areas and although it usually passes through agricultural or disturbed areas, it does not usually roost there.It is preferably found in leafy trees, near cliffs, in steep areas that are very difficult for people to access. It is also found in bamboo plants, mangroves, swamp forests and other small islands near the coast.

Behaviors and Habits of the Philippine Flying Fox

A typical habit of the Philippine bat is that it roosts with other types of bats, such as Pteropus vampyrus and Pteropus hypomelanus, the latter being more abundant in the spaces they share . Its habits are mainly nocturnal, so it leaves the colony at night to feed and usually returns before dawn. During the day, she spends most of her time sleeping and lounging.

As for her behavior, you should know that she has few interactions with other individuals, except when mating. Additionally, it is believed to use visual communication and possess a distinctive odor, suggesting possible chemical communication.

Reproduction of the Philippine flying fox

Due to the lack of studies on this subject, the reproductive aspect of the Philippine flying fox is not known. At present, the exact duration of gestation is not known, but births take place between April and May and they are composed of only one baby. In captivity, females give birth every two years, so it is believed that in the wild, breeding may be less frequent.

The females have been observed to be very protective and in their claws keep their young clinging to their fur while fanning them with their wings to cool them down.

If you are more curious, you can find more information about how bats reproduce here.

Philippine Flying Fox Diet

This is a type of fruit bat, which mainly feeds on Ficus species such as figs.The species on which it feeds most often is the Ficus subcordata, and to a lesser extent the Ficus variegata. On the other hand, it also consumes certain types of leaves, which it crushes and swallows. In addition, she also uses certain liquids that she extracts from this part of the plant.

You can read more about bat feeding in this other article.

Conservation status of the Philippine flying fox

The Philippine flying fox bat is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with a declining population trend. The main threats to this species are:

  • Habitat destruction: this bat is a specialist in terms of food habits, so the decrease in vegetation cover directly affects its ability to develop through the loss of food options .The deforestation of forests in the Philippines has been dramatic, as it has taken place over a large part of the territory. What little vegetation cover remains extends uphill, where Philippine flying foxes are unlikely to arrive.
  • Direct hunting of these animals: although the commercialization of the species has decreased, it remains alarming, as it is still consumed as food and also for its supposed medicinal properties. Additionally, indiscriminate hunting has contributed significantly to the population decline.
  • Tourism: it is a species very sensitive to noise and disturbances, so that in certain tourist areas, visitors disturb their tranquility often by shaking the trees or by their noise or even by their moves to scare away bats. This eventually affects the species, especially when there are females with their young.

Considering all these facts, the species is protected in the Philippines and hunting is prohibited, although it has not ceased.However, it has been listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1995.

Philippine Flying Fox Pictures

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