The Lyle’s Flying Fox (Pteropus lylei) is a mammal in the Pteropodidae family of bats. It is categorized as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is also called a Fruit Bat.
The Lyle’s Flying Fox is a medium-sized furry bat with a long snout, large eyes, pointed ears, and a fox-like face. It upper parts are mainly black, with a wide collar of orange fur. It sometimes has a dark-brown or yellowish-brown lower body. Its wings are black or dark-brown. The underparts of its wings are dark-brownish black. It does not have a tail. It has sharp, curved claws on its toes.
Its wingspan is up to 100-150 centimetres (39-60 inches) long. The male is larger than the female. Bats and flying foxes are the only mammal that flies.
It is endemic to Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
It roosts in tropical and sub-tropical forests, mangrove forests, and plantations.
The Lyle’s Flying Fox eats fruit, such as mango and dragonfruit, cashew nuts, flowers, nectar, and pollen. It is frugivorous (fruit-eating). It can fly up to 50 kilometres (30 miles) looking for food at night. Ecologically, it helps forest regeneration, because it spits out fruit seeds, which disperses the fruit plants, especially durian, a tropical fruit.
It is nocturnal, feeding at night and roosting (sleeping and resting) during the day. It has keen eye-sight which enables it to fly at night – it cannot echolocate. It also has a very good sense of smell. The male engages in ‘urine washing’ in which it coats itself in its own urine.
It lives in colonies of about 1,000 individual bats.
The female usually has only one baby per year, after a pregnancy of 140-190 days. The baby is called a pup. Pups are born with a little bit of sparse fur, and are dependent upon their mother for care.
Location of photographs: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM