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Straw-Colored Fruit Bat

Eidolon helvum

Strawcoloredbat Gallery

About the Straw-Colored Fruit Bat

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Geographic Range:

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Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Pteropodidae
Genus: Eidolon
Species: helvum

Named for its tawny brown color and dietary preferences, the straw-colored fruit bat is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It lives in colonies of 100,000 to 1,000,000, roosting by day in tall trees and sometimes lofts and caves. Though their bodies are small—about 5 to 9 inches long—the straw-colored fruit-bat’s wingspan can reach three feet. The bat’s strong, tapered wings allow it to fly great distances—it has actually been found 125 miles out to sea!

With over 1,200 species, bats make up one fifth of the earth’s mammals. They are also among the most endangered of the world's creatures, primarily due to habitat loss and further threatened by a fungal disease devastating many bat colonies in North America. Often considered a “keystone species,” bats play a critical role in the ecosystem in terms of insect control, plant pollination, seed dissemination and fertilization. Their loss would have serious consequences for the ecosystems to which they belong and health ramifications for humans as well. A single little brown bat, the most common bat species in the U.S., can eat up to thousands of insects in one night, providing protection against mosquito-borne illnesses and potential crop pests.