The New Caledonia Flying Fox (Pteropus vetulus) is a bat, and a mammal, in the Pteropodidae family. Ptero means winged. It is not a fox.
The New Caledonian Flying Fox has long, silky brownish-red fur. It does not have a tail. Its head looks like the head of a small fox. It has long pointed ears, large eyes, and a small grey nose. It has long, black, clawed fingers, and large black wings.
Its wings are flexible and look like a human’s hand, except that the digits (fingers) are longer and bats have a thin membrane of skin, called the patagium, between the fingers. These features enable the bat to move in the air and to change direction quickly.
It grows to about 30 centimetres (12 inches) tall, with a wingspan up to 150 centimetres (59 inches).
The New Caledonian Flying Fox is native to New Caledonia, an island in the Pacific Ocean. It prefers tropical and subtropical areas and fruit forests.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It does not use echolocation to find its prey because it has good eyesight and a good sense of smell. During the day, it sleeps in trees or on high ledges or buildings. It sleeps by hanging upside down.
It is a frugivore, because it mainly eats fruit, such as tamarinds, mangoes, and figs.It squeezes the juice and flesh out of fruit. It also eats plants and insects.
It is a social animal, living in a large colony of thousands of individuals.
The female New Caledonian Flying Fox is pregnant for 140-190 days before giving birth to one young, called a pup. The pup is born altricial, which means that it is almost naked at birth. Only the mother looks after the pup.
It lives, on average, for about 15 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM