Creature Feature: Grey-headed Flying Fox

In this week's creature feature, we're introducing you to one of nature's most misunderstood animals—the bat!

Published October 30, 2014

Legend has it (and horror movies attest) that bats are just vampires in disguise, waiting to sink their fangs into the next unsuspecting victim. But the grey-headed flying fox is no bloodsucker. In fact, the only thing you’ll find this bat feasting on is an assortment of fruit, blossoms, nectar and pollen.

Gray-headed flying fox

It’s October, a month dedicated to all things spooky—the cold is creeping in and Halloween is just a day away. And we’ve been celebrating all month long by highlighting some of the weird and wonderful creatures you can find right here at the National Aquarium.

Grey-headed flying foxes are the largest bats found in Australia, their native habitat. These bats are covered in gray fur, have large black wings and a thick collar of orange-brown fur circles their neck!

Unlike many other bat species, flying foxes don’t use echolocation. Instead, they rely on excellent eyesight and a keen sense of smell to track down their next meal. Feeding at night, these fruit bats spend their days roosting in “camps” containing thousands of other bats.

Gray-headed flying fox

Though they may be frequent flyers, the flying fox’s flight path can get a little rocky—at least when it comes to landing. In fact, sometimes they’ll fly until crashing into a tree or other hard surface to stop their momentum.

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